There are not that many genres of music where you can precisely identify the inventors – and indeed the exact origins of ska have been contested by some – but few would disagree that the Skatalites were the ska pioneers. That means Lloyd can rightly be said to have invented ska bass.
He rejoined the Skatalites when the got together again in 1983 to play Jamaica’s Reggae Sunsplash, and stayed with them until 2005.
There’s a great interview with him on the Reggae-Vibes site here.
While ska has come on a long journey since its invention in Jamaica in 1964, but it should never be forgotten that the early ska musicians were all jazzers. Here is Lloyd – who always played an upright bass – speaking in that interview:
“Well in those days I listen to the great Leroy ‘Slam’ Stewart and all those type a bass player. Very good. I listened to jazz, and jazz I used to play. All the jazz band dem in Jamaica. From that I start work at the hotel dem every night. All type a music.”
That’s why the Skamonics are clear that we take our inspiration from ska’s earliest days. One of our best moments at a gig was when a Jamaican of mature years told us that he had not heard ska played like that since his youth.
Because Lloyd played with the reformed Skatalites there are many great records to complement the original 60s recordings. But while there is no known film of the original Skatalites, we do have video of Lloyd playing in the more recent line up. Here’s a 73 minute concert recording in which introduces all the songs.