The Vinyl Word raises a glass to ska trombonist Rico Rodriguez who has died aged 80. Born in Cuba, he grew up in Jamaica where he studied with the great Don Drummond at the Alpha Boys School. Moving to the UK in the early sixties he played on many early ska numbers and recorded a tribute to Don Drummond when he died in 1969 in the form of an LP called Reco in Reggae Land (credited to Reco Rodregrez) for Pama. Rico formed Rico and the Rudies and recorded the Brixton Cat album for Trojan, although this was credited to Brixton record store owner Joe 'Boss' Mansano's All Stars. Incidentally the photo on the cover shows Joe's sister in law standing at the corner of Electric Avenue.
Rico recorded the highly regarded Man From Wareika album in 1977, but he is best known for his work with the Specials. His trombone playing on such hits as A Message To You, Rudy gave the Coventry 2 tone band an air of authenticity and helped them relaunch ska as a musical genre. Later he worked with Jools Holland and also backed many other artists: my photo (above) shows him supporting Laurel Aitken at a gig in north west London in the early 2000s.