Nothing too pithy this week, just a little advertisement I found while looking through the Daily Gleaner archives. This little gem is from January 23, 1967 edition and is a paid advertisement from Federal Records. It is intriguing on many levels, and I guess it leaves me asking more questions than finding answers.
First, I know that Prince Buster and Ken Khouri had a good relationship. “Prince Buster was always with me in the ska years,” Khouri told David Katz in 2004. And he told Gleaner reporter Balford Henry in 2003, “I liked him [Prince Buster]. He was a Federal man. Nobody could say anything bad about him to me.”
Graeme Goodall, engineer extraordinaire once told me that even though Prince Buster may have had a few idiosyncrasies that may have been common to producers in those days, he was a favorite around Federal. “One of the interesting things was there was a guy, Cecil Campbell (laughs) and he kept on coming into Federal and he and Ken Khouri had this fantastic antagonism (laughs). Prince Buster of course, and he was always owing Ken Khouri money. He’d get soft wax and then he would go see Ken to pay the money. He used to ride on the back of Monty Morris’s Quigley motorcycle. It was a moped. And Monty Morris used to carry Buster around. Buster would go out, sell these records and come back and then he’d want to pay Ken Khouri and he’d want more soft wax and it got to the point where Ken Khouri said, ‘I don’t want him in my place anymore, he’s a samfie man, a con man, I don’t want him near the place.’ But there’s just something about Prince Buster that appealed to me. And I went up to Ken and I said to Ken, ‘He’s alright, he’ll be okay,’ and he said, ‘Samfie man. I don’t want him near the place.’ I said, ‘Ken, please, he’s alright. He’s different, but he’s okay,’ and he said, ‘Alright Goody, I’ll tell you what. He’s yours. He’s yours. If I lose any money I’ll take it out of your pay.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll take care of him.’ And Prince Buster has never forgotten that. I was the one who stood up for him because I could see something in there,” says Goodall.
The next bit of intrigue for me is that this seems like a lotta lotta records sold in the U.S. Now I’m no collector, I’m the first to admit, but I just find it stunning that 90,000 copies were sold in three days, but that likely includes all markets–JA, UK, and US, although the US is implied. The claim that he captured the United States Record Market is, well, delightful! And that he put Jamaica back on the international record scene! I just chuckle when I read about Prince Buster. I can’t help it. He is such a character! So there is a healthy dose of self-promotion and bravado and boasting going on here for sure, but then there is also, I think, a little stroking and patting on the back from Federal, who no doubt wants his continued business. It is just an interesting piece, don’t you think? What are your thoughts? Please share–I love the dialogue!