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Ernest Ranglin Ernest Ranglin

Ernest Ranglin was born June 19, 1932 and grew up in the small town of Robin's Hall in the Parish of Manchester, a rural community In the middle of Jamaica. Music has always claimed a special place In the Island's culture, and Ranglin's destiny was set from an early age when two of his uncles showed him the rudiments of playing the guitar. When they discovered just how good the young boy was, they bought him a ukulele. Ranglin learned how to play by imitating his uncles, but he was soon to be influenced by the recordings of the great American jazz guitarist Charlie Christian. Living in rural Jamaica, however, inhibited the boy's ambitions, which, even at the age of fourteen, were focused on music. He then moved to Kingston - the country's capital - ostensibly to finish his studies at Bodmin College. Very high on Ranglin's agenda was to seriously study the guitar; something not on the school's priorities.

His lessons came from guitar books and late-night sessions watching the Jamaican dance bands of the time: he was particularly influenced by Cecil Houdini, an unrecorded local musician. By the time he was sixteen years old, Ranglin was acknowledged as the rising young talent in the city. In 1948 he joined his first group, the Val Bennett Orchestra, playing in the local hotels. Such was Ranglin's burgeoning reputation that he soon came to the attention of rival dance bands and, by the early-Fifties, he was a member of Jamaica's best-known group, the Eric Deans Orchestra, touring around the Caribbean and as far north as the Bahamas.

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Album Review
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Ernest Ranglin, The Blueprint of Ska Illinois Entertainer, November, 1998 In a lifetime of music creation and innovation, Ernest Ranglin has just now embarked on one of the most mysterious, exciting journeys in his 66 years of life - a journey to the heart of rhythmic communication...

Master Craftsman The Voice, July 27, 1998 Forty years ago the acclaimed jazz guitarist Ernest Ranglin became Island Record's first signing and helped make a mint for its then owner, Chris Blackwell. Now Blackwell is hoping that Ranglin's distinctive...

Ernest Ranglin, Mike Atherton talks to 'the King of the Ska Guitar' Record Collector, December, 1997 He's enjoyed many accolades over the years

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Earth Sound

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'Ska Wey Dat'

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