Ruffy TNT & Early Reggae in Honduras (1969 – 1970)
Ruffy TNT as the man is known is a man that lives and breathes early Reggae from around the world. His band, Mexico’s top early Reggae outfit Jamaica 69, have been releasing music over the last decade are trying to get to the 2012 London International Ska Fest and have given a FREE song download for joining the Reggae 69 Fan Club here.
Earlier this year they released a vinyl 45 on LA’s Steady Beat Recordings covering old 60’s soul tunes in the distinct Jamaica 69 style. Duff Guide reviewed the tunes and had this to say:
…surprisingly raw and tender skinhead reggae love songs. “Nostalgia del ayer” (“Nostalgia for Yesterday”) was originally recorded by The Royalettes in 1965 as “Gonna Take a Miracle” (Ken Boothe also recorded a boss rendition of it) and the Jamaica 69 version is about a friend who became a lover “that showed me love every time you shine.” “Una lagrima por ti” (“A Tear for You”) is a terrific early reggae reading of Brenda Holloway’s 1967 Motown hit single “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” (notably covered by Alton Ellis) with new lyrics about a lost love…
He’s also an author having penned a book on Skinheads and early Reggae called AGGRO: Skins + Reggae = TNT (available in Spanish from Running Riot) and seeks out hidden gems with a Jamaican influence anywhere he can find it.
His blog, delincuenciayunderground.blogspot.com, is a mash up of styles from Punk, Soul, Glam, early Reggae – anything with an edge like a straight razor from south of the border. Well he recently posted a piece on some lost gems in the style of The Upsetters or Hippy Boys from Honduras. It was an interesting read and the tracks sounded amazing but it was in Spanish. I asked him if I could re-post it in English for my readers and he was more than willing. Had a friend translate it. So here it is – hidden nuggets lost to time now found and let loose on the world again. This stuff is tight as anything from the UK. Now where do I find it?
FROM RUFFY TNT, Re-posted with permission:
There is little known about the Honduran music of 60’s and 70’s beyond the Ritmo Punta, the name for the local Surf and Garage groups. What has stayed in the dark has been the Jamaican influences; such as the instrumental Reggae in the style of the Hippy Boys or Upsetters and the Rocksteady (as a sort of homage) – there exists a whole tradition of musical acts, of which little or anything is known outside that country.
I am almost sure, that there must be piles of groups in the style (its proximity with Jamaica is obvious), so I will continue investigating the subject (thanks to my proximity to Central America), so far now I bring you four superb examples. All were recorded in El Salvador since no studios existed in Honduras in those years.
Los Robins “Enterrador”
This is enough to drive you crazy, it is almost beyond belief. After first hearing it I woke in the morning thinking I had just dreamt it, an Honduran group in the style of Ramon and the Crystalites (Yes Derrick Harriottâ€™s Crystalites), the bandâ€™s own “Undertaker” here called “Enterrador”. Can someone explain this to me?
Las Kobdas “Mr. Modesto”
An instrumental by Miguel Valladares, dedicated to a soccer player from the era.At the end of the song you can hear someone say “Dance Rocksteady”
Los Costenos de Honduras “Zoila”
Another instrumental, this one dedicated to a female entrepreneur. This has a heavy Byron Lee influence.
Los Robins “Patricia”
The same guys that cover “Undertaker”, one of my favorites and I wouldn’t be surprised if collectors of Skinhead Reggae now start combing EBay for this. These singles were released in small quantities and sold in tiny Honduran record stores.
If you want to read this article in Spanish then visit this direct link to the original piece.
Check out his site with even more amazing pieces on various styles from around the world at delincuenciayunderground.blogspot.com
EDIT: Forgot to mention a BIG thanks to Nico Lizarraga/a> for the help with the translation!