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Junior Dodd makes his move

Published:Sunday | September 25, 2011 | 9:00 AM
... Clement Dodd's son breaks in new artistes

Howard Campbell, Sunday Gleaner Writer

Having a name like Clement Dodd Jr can be a pretty heavy burden, but it's a weight the son of legendary music producer Clement 'Coxson' Dodd has become accustomed to carrying.

The eldest son of the Studio One founder made news last year when Jamaica's Supreme Court ruled in his favour in a knotty court case against his stepmother and sister over his father's estate.

With legal matters out of the way, Junior Dodd (as he is known) says he is trying to establish himself as a producer through his Basement label. At the same time, he hopes to introduce the revered beats of his father's vast catalogue to a new audience.

"Wi really working with young talent at the moment but once things start to level off, more information will come to the surface," Dodd, 53, told The Sunday Gleaner.

A four-song project by deejay X-Caliba is the latest release from Basement which Dodd established in the early 1990s when he started his production career.

Three of its songs (Heed To The Call, Hotter Than July and Young Girl) were originally released more than a decade ago, but have been remixed for a second crack at the market.

While breaking upcoming artistes is priority for Dodd, he says there are plans to finally release albums he produced by roots stalwarts Junior Delgado (who died in 2005), Prince Allah and Cornel Campbell.

"We will be working with some of the established artistes to balance things out. They still have a following out there and we want to capitalise on that market," Dodd said.

Dodd was not prepared to give details of his plans for Studio One.

Revisiting his father's strategy

However, he hinted at revisiting a strategy that worked for his father during the late 1970s and late 1990s.

"It would be great to use some of the old rhythms with the younger artistes out there. It's something I'm looking at," he disclosed.

In the late 1970s, Coxson's powerful rock steady beats of the 1960s were enhanced by keyboardist Pablove Black and bassist Earl 'Bagga' Walker. It made stars out of young singers like Sugar Minott and Freddie McGregor.

A decade ago, many of those beats resuscitated the career of a veteran drummer/singer named Glen Washington.

Clement Dodd Jr was born in west Kingston but spent his early years in Waterhouse. In the mid-1960s, he immigrated with his mother and two sisters to Birmingham, England where he lived for nearly 20 years.

In 1981, he moved to New York City where he helped his father distribute Studio One titles to Jamaica and Europe. Prior to starting his Basement and Coxson Jr labels, he worked as a purchasing agent for established producers like Bunny Lee, helping to get their products to companies in Europe and Japan.

Last August, Supreme Court judge Bertram Morrison ruled for Dodd in a revocation suit against his stepmother Norma and sister Carol.

The ruling gave Dodd a say in the distribution and marketing of the Studio One catalogue. He will also earn royalties from Jamrec, Studio One's publishing company.

Dodd had filed suit in the Supreme Court in 2006, claiming his name was wrongfully removed from his father's will which was made in December 1987.

Dodd Sr died in 2004.

He has little to say about the case, only that it sapped him "mentally and financially". The songs he will produce for Basement are unlikely to make him as famous as his father, but Dodd says if he can get a few hits along the way, he will be satisfied.