There aren't too many original Jamaican artists from the golden age of ska and rocksteady still around so it was a treat to see Stranger Cole and Patsy Todd at the 100 Club last night, backed by UK ska band the Paradimes. Beginning in 1962, Stranger recorded dozens of tracks for a variety of producers, including Duke Reid, Coxsone Dodd and Lee 'Scratch' Perry and had records released on many UK labels, including Blue Beat, Island, Black Swan, Doctor Bird, Amalgamated and Unity. Today he's as skinny as a rake and full of life - indeed his constant motto seems to be 'more life'.
Dressed in a shiny grey suit, T shirt from the Skamouth Festival and obligatory hat, his set included a cross section of his ska and rocksteady numbers, including Bangarang, Koo Koo Doo, the excellent Rough And Tough, Uno Dos Tres, When I Get My Freedom, Crying Every Night, finishing with Run Joe. He recalled that he came to the UK in 1970 to settle and had to fill in a form asking his name, address, occupation and sex. He entered six or seven times a week to the last question. Later he moved to Canada where he worked in a factory before opening a record shop and recording several albums for his own label.
Patsy Todd has not performed a great deal in the near 50 years since she gave up the music business and moved to New York, but she was fine on a solo number and on duets with Stranger (Tonight, Give Me The Right and their best known number When I Call Your Name). Patsy's role in ska history goes back to the early sixties too, when she recorded Housewife's Choice with Derrick Morgan.
Overall it was a highly entertaining night and brought back some great memories of the sixties.