Thousands of thanks to 45Cat chatboard contributor, OldOak, who freely offered up this bit of research related to the topic of U.S. Reggae 45s — I have simply added links to YouTube streaming audio and/or filmed performances of the artist and song in action:
“Ska was one of the dance crazes of the summer of 1964, inspiring a fair number of records in the US — all 45 releases below are from ’64:
- Mango Jones Orchestra = “Coffee Street Ska/ Ska La Bomba” (VeeJay 603)
- Dinah Lee = “Do the Blue Beat” (Interphon 7708)
- Ray Rivera = “Do The Blue Beat” (RCA 47-8372)
- The Angels = “Jamaica Joe” (Smash 1915)
- The Rockin’ Rebels = “Bongo Blue Beat” (Stork 3)
- *The Pussycats = “Come On and Ska” (Keetch 6003)
- Claus Ogerman & His Orchestra = “Summer Ska” (RCA 47-8417)
[*Editor’s Note: “Come On and Ska” by The Pussycats was written by “Tommy” Dowd, former Manhattan Project participant who would later become audio engineer extraordinaire for the Atlantic label]
“Here are a few more non-Jamaicans joining in on the very brief ska craze in the US. I add them only because I think we’re getting near to exhausting the ’64 US ska records.
- Toni Fisher = “The Train Of Love/ The Springtime Of Life” (Signet 664)
- Jimmy Griffin = “Try/ You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” (Reprise 0304)
- Cambridge Strings = “Charmaine” (London 9683)
- The Rhythm Kings = “Latin Ska” (Tollie 9014)
- Frederick Fennell and His Symphonic Winds = “76 Trombones Ska” (Mercury)
- Toni Wine = “A Boy Like You/ Funny Little Heart” (Colpix 742)
- Lester Lanin = “West Indies Ska” (Philips 40217)
- Baja Marimba Band = “Baja Ska/ Samba De Orfeu” (Almo 211)
- Jerry Kennedy = “Blue Beat” (Smash 1907)
- Woody Herman Orchestra = “C’mon And Ska” (Philips 40213)
“Apparently, at this time, in addition to Prince Buster and Byron Lee & The Ska Kings, Atlantic signed the Blues Busters (who had already released a single on Capitol in 1962), Stranger and Patsy, The Charmers, and The Maytals. Ahmet Ertegun went to Jamaica and made some recordings, intending to release a dozen or more singles (see Billboard, May 23, 1964). I think they ended up releasing only one album with these artists, “Jamaica Ska” (SD 8098), and three singles, plus a couple by Millie Small. Too bad. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s The Maytals you hear near the end of “Oil In My Lamp” by The Ska Kings.
“As far as US releases of Jamaican artists go, up through 1965 there was only:
- The Blues Busters = “There’s Always Sunshine/ Donna” (New Orleans 727, 1962)
- The Blues Busters = “Tell Me Why/ Behold” (Capitol 4895, also from 1962)
- Millie Small = “My Boy Lollipop/ Sweet William” (Smash 1893, 1964)
- Millie Small = “Sweet William/ What Am I Living For” (Smash 1920, 1964)
- Millie Small = “Don’t You Know/ Tom Hark” (Smash 1946, 1964)
- Millie Small = “I’ve Fallen in Love with a Snowman” (Atlantic 2246, 1964)
- Millie Small = “Bloodshot Eyes/ Tongue Tied” (Atco 6384, 1965)
- Millie Small = “My Street/ Mixed Up, Fickle, Lonely, Self-Centred, Spoiled Kind Of Boy (Brit 7002, 1965)
- Byron Lee/Ska Kings = “Jamaica Ska/ Oil In My Lamp” (Atlantic 2232, 1964)
- Byron Lee/Ska Kings = “Watermelon Man Ska/ Last Night Ska” (Atlantic 2236, 1964)
- Byron Lee = “Jamaica Ska (Bye Bye)/ Jamaica Ska (Sammy Dead) (Capitol, 1964)
- Ezz Reco = “Little Girl/ King Of Kings” (Capitol 5158, 1964)
- Carlos Malcolm = “Royal Ska/ Ska Ramouche” (Amy 907, 1964)
- Prince Buster = “30 Pieces Of Silver/ Everybody Ska” (Amy 906, 1964)
- Prince Buster/Ska Busters = “That Lucky Old Sun/ Don’t Make Me Cry” (Atlantic ’64)
- **Danny Davis & Byron Lee + “Ska Dee Wah/ Night Train from Jamaica” (MGM ’64)
[**Editor’s Note: Guitar army commando, Billy Mure, is the arranger on the last 45 listed, as well as composer of “Ska Dee Wah”]
“It turns out there were more ska records released in the US than I ever suspected. Why then no Maytals or Jimmy Cliff? Monty Morris [of the Ska Kings] got two! I guess the whole thing just didn’t last long enough. It really rode the popularity of only one record, Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop.” The Ska Kings got to #98 in Billboard with “Jamaica Ska,” Millie’s next record didn’t break into the Top 40, and it was over. But it’s amazing how many records were made and released within a few weeks of Millie’s brief success. This also coincided with the top Jamaican artists performing at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Official embassies of dancers were also sent by the Jamaican government to New Jersey and Philadelphia to teach and promote the new dance. Prince Buster tells what this meant for Jamaica in “Everybody Ska” (Amy 906).
“Here are a few from 1967:
- Prince Buster = “Ten Commandments/ Don’t Make Me Cry” (Philips 40427)
- Prince & Princess Buster = “Ten Commandments From Woman To Man/ Ain’t That Saying A Lot” (RCA Victor 47-9114)
- Princess Buster & Her Jamaicans = “Ten Commandments (From Woman To Man)/ Byron Lee and The Dragonaires, “Papa Jack” (King 45-6090)
- The Blues Busters = “How Sweet It Is/ Wings Of A Dove” (United Artists UA 50136)
- The Blues Busters = “I’ve Gotta Get There/ Irreplaceable You” (Capitol 5959)
- Jimmy Cliff = “Give And Take/ Aim And Ambition” (Veep 1265)
Old Oak notes —
“‘Ten Commandments’ was actually a hit, reaching Billboard #81 (Pop), #17 (R&B). RCA and King competed with two versions of the follow-up answer song (same lyrics, different singers), but neither charted. As with all novelty songs, you might enjoy it the first time, but you never want to hear it again.”
(March 3, 2020)
Zero to 180 just discovered a Columbia ska 45 that “bubbled under” Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, peaking at the #134 spot on July 25, 1964 —
“Shrimp Boats (Jamaican Ska)”
Jerry Jackson 
45 picture sleeve
Netherlands – 1964
45 also released in Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Austria
The Ska Is Coming!
May 23, 1964
Traffic between New York and Kingston, Jamaica, has notably increased recently as the Jamaican government has extended several invitations to members of the U.S. music-record business. Purpose is to evaluate the commercial possibilities in the American market for the Ska, or West End (Kingston) blue beat. The results of the trips are beginning to show up in singles releases.
Capitol Records was the first to release an imported single three weeks ago, Byron Lee‘s “Sammy Dead,” and “Say Bye Bye.” This week, three new singles on the new beat were released on Mercury (“Suzie Ska“) and “Day-O” by Jeff Bowen), Atlantic (“That Lucky Old Sun” and “Don’t Make Me Cry” by Prince Buster and the Ska Busters), and MGM (“Fare Thee Well”) and “Mockin’ Bird Hill” by The Five Strangers).
About the new beat (and accompanying dance), Atlantic Records’ president Ahmet Ertegun had some provocative things to say last week. While Atlantic’s first release was an imported master (which is a hit down there now) Ertegun feels that to reach a commercial market here will require a good bit of engineering and recording know-how. The basic elements are a 4/4 shuffle-type rhythm with a strong accent on the off-beat (played by organ, guitar, and as many horns as are available) so that the ear actually only hears the off-beat once the piece gets into motion. The tunes used can be standards, calypsos, or even gospel types, with plenty of emotional leeway.
Ertegun took his chief engineer, Tommy Dowd, with him to Jamaica, where in eight days they recorded over 40 sides by various groups which he has now signed. It is his feeling that the material and professional recording techniques employed give him a pretty good chance for coming up with some hit records. However, he was quick to note that a tune will most probably make it on its own, rather than because it is the Ska.
The blue beat and ska grew up in the West End section of Kingston and, like the Twist, has begun to attract the upper classes in Jamaica, where the dance is now the rage.
Ertegun suspect that, as with the twist, the ska will have a field day in France, and is arranging for release his new singles there simultaneous with US release. He has films of the dance, which he is readying to show to teeners at hops and for television demonstration.
Nobody knows whether the ska can reach ‘fad’ proportions. But nobody is ready to say yet it won’t.
LINK to King Records Goes Ska