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Sonny Roberts

 
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Charlie Chalk
Golden Festival


Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 8427
Location: Oxford

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:58 pm    Post subject: Sonny Roberts Reply with quote

Perhaps a very undervalued man who was an early pioneer in UK recorded Jamaican music. Allegedly, Sonny's Planetone Records was the first black owned record label (and record shop) in the UK.

https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Sonny%20Roberts

Sonny Roberts (born c.1932), often known as Sonny Orbitone, is a Jamaican record producer who had success within the British reggae market in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s with his Planetone and Orbitone record labels.

Born c.1932 in Spice Grove, Manchester Parish, Roberts, who was originally a carpenter, emigrated to London in 1958. In 1961 he set up a recording studio in the basement of 108 Cambridge Road (a property owned by future Trojan Records founder Lee Gopthal), the first in Britain owned by a Jamaican. He started the Planetone label the following year (and later the Sway label), sharing premises with Island Records which provided distribution for the label, releasing ska records by artists such as Rico Rodriguez and also Gospel records. The studio and record label operated until the late 1960s. He also cut acetates, which he supplied to local sound systems.

In the mid-1970s he opened a record shop in Harlesden and started the Orbitone label, which was one of the key lovers rock labels, with releases by artists such as Tim Chandell, Judy Boucher, and Joyce Bond, as well as releasing Nigerian music.

Roberts also ran the Love Vendor sound system.

In 1987, his production of Judy Boucher's "Can't Be With You Tonight" reached number two in the UK Singles Chart.

He returned to Jamaica in 1997, living in Saint Andrew Parish, where he runs a company producing natural colouring and seasoning products.
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Zapatoo_the_Tiger
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Andy...

it was "in here" where Orbitone Records was mentioned/discussed a little while back, wasn't it?
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Bosssounds
Golden Festival


Joined: 14 May 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it was "in here" where Orbitone Records was mentioned/discussed a little while back, wasn't it?


I think I posted up a link to Sonny's website, which had some nice pics of the Orbitone shop.

I don't doubt the claim about his label being the first black owned but not sure about the shop, which according to his website opened in 1970. I think Desmond's Hip City predated it by a few years (hence the 'Blue Beat Centre' sign outside).
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Zapatoo_the_Tiger
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and George Price was selling Studio One and maybe Treasure Isle stuff from the mid-60s (although maybe not from a shop).
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