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Rolling Stones Wingless not the first

Published:Sunday | October 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Justin Hinds - File
Keith Richards

Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer

Keith Richards and Justin Hinds were at vastly different ends of the musical scale when they first met in the early 1970s. Richards was a member of the world's most famous rock group, while Hinds was best known for writing one of the ska era's biggest songs.

They did, however, share an appreciation for roots music in its purest form, and began recording songs which would eventually be released by Richards' Mindless record label.

The first of those songs were compiled for the Wingless Angels album which was released in 1997. The follow-up, Wingless Angels II, has been available digitally since September 23.

In June, Richards, guitarist for the Rolling Stones, spoke about his long friendship with Hinds, leader of the famous Dominoes group, who died from lung cancer in 2005 at age 62.

"He was a diamond. When you hear his voice you just get a nice, warm glow," Richards told the Guardian newspaper.

traditional beats

Though Richards began jamming with Hinds and friends in his hometown of Steer Town, St Ann in 1972, he did not start recording their traditional beats until 1995. Two years later, Wingless Angels was released to critical acclaim.

"It was very organic," Richards said of the impromptu sessions. "Justin would say, 'OK, let's take a beat' and he would start chanting with the drums going."

Jerome Hinds is one of Justin Hinds' children. He played drums on some of the sessions which were recorded mainly at Coyaba studios in Shaw Park, St Ann. He said his father put his all in the sessions, even though in the latter stages of recording in 2004, his health was deteriorating.

"He really put out his best," Jerome Hinds told The Gleaner.

"He wanted it to be something people can remember."

Hinds and the Dominoes cut a memorable song long before he met Richards.

Carry Go Bring Come, produced by Arthur 'Duke' Reid's Treasure Isle label in 1963, was a massive hit not only in Jamaica but throughout Europe.

Hinds maintained a hectic recording schedule for the next 20 years, but would never attain that commercial success again. He remained a solid touring act, especially in Europe and the United States' west coast.

Richards and the Rolling Stones have a long link with Jamaica and Jamaican popular music. They recorded their 1973 album, Goats Head Soup, at Dynamic Sounds in Kingston and later covered singer Eric Donaldson's 1971 Festival Song winner Cherry Oh Baby for their Black and Blue album.

Reggae star, Peter Tosh, was once signed to the group's Rolling Stone Records. He recorded three albums for that label.