ARTHUR "DUKE" REID CD (21 July 1915 – 1 January 1975) was a Jamaican record producer , DJ and label owner.
He ran one of the most popular sound systems of the 1950s called DUKE REID\'S THE TROJAN after the British-made trucks used to transport the equipment. In the 1960s, Reid founded record label Treasure Isle, named after his liquor store, that produced ska and rocksteady music. He was still active in the early 1970s, working with toaster U-Roy . He died in early 1975 after having suffered from a severe illness for the last year.
Reid was born in Portland ,
He made his way into the music industry first as a sound system
(outdoor mobile discothèque) owner, promoter and disc jockey in 1953.
He quickly overtook Tom the Great Sebastian and his sound system as
the most popular sound system in Jamaica. Soon he was also sponsor and
presenter of a radio show, Treasure Isle Time. A jazz and blues man at
heart, Reid chose "My Mother's Eyes" by
Tab Smith as his theme tune .
Other favourites of his included
He began producing recordings in the late 1950s. Early Reid productions were recorded in studios owned by others, but when the family business moved from Pink Lane, Kingston to Bond Street, Reid set up his own studio above the store. He became proprietor of a number of labels, chiefly Treasure Isle and Dutchess (his spelling). Much of his income derived from licensing agreements with companies in the UK , some of which set up specialist Duke Reid labels. He was known to carry his pistols and rifle with him in the studio and would sometimes fire them to celebrate a successful audition.
He dominated the Jamaican music scene of the 1960s, specialising in ska and rocksteady , though his love of American jazz , blues and soul was always in evidence. Reid had several things going for him that helped him to rise to prominence. He made a concerted effort to be in the studio as much as possible, something his counterparts did not do. He was known as a perfectionist and had a knack for adding symphonic sounds to his recordings and producing dense arrangements. Furthermore, his records were considerably longer than those being produced by his rivals. His tunes often broke the four-minute barrier, while most ska songs were barely longer than two minutes. The material that Treasure Island issued exemplified the cool and elegant feel of the rocksteady era. In an interview for Kool 97 FM, Jackie Jackson along with Paul Douglas and Radcliffe "Dougie" Bryan were asked about the many recordings they did together as the rhythm section for Treasure Isle Records, and working with Sonia Pottinger and Duke Reid.
Reid initially disliked ska for being too simple and having too much
focus on drums rather than on guitar. However, Reid eventually got
behind ska and produced hits by Justin Hinds & the Dominoes. By the
1970s, Reid's poor health and the trend towards Rastafarian influenced
roots reggae noticeably reduced the number of releases from Treasure
Isle. Reid forbade Rasta lyrics from being recorded in his studio and