One of the original “fully fledged” 1960s mod ska participants, Arthur Kay, would play on a number of reggae hits for the Trojan label at London’s Chalk Farm Recording Studios, founded by his manager, Vic Keary, and Bluebeat label head, Emil Shallet, in 1968. Chalk Farm would gain renown for being “the only UK studio that could properly replicate the Jamaican ska/rocksteady [and early reggae] sound” — Bob & Marcia’s classic take on “Young, Gifted & Black,” for example, would be laid down there, along with recordings by Junior Byles, Dillinger, Desmond Dekker, The Cimarons, and many others.
Kay would be invited in 1978 to record his song “Ska Wars” to test out Europa Sound’s new recording facilities in Kent. Although virtually ignored by radio and mainstream media, the indie single’s 10,000 pressings would sell out quickly and thus, as Arthur Kay points out on his website, help galvanize a homegrown UK ska scene. Kay would put together a backing band – The Originals – who would bring to life his second single “Play My Record,” a wry though rather pointed comment about “the way radio play-lists were (and still are) rigged by a few wealthy record labels”:
“Play My Record” Arthur Kay & the Originals 1980
45Cat, puzzlingly, identifies the song as the B-side to “Sooty Is a Rudie” – despite the top billing accorded “Play My Record” on the 45’s own picture sleeve.
Arthur Kay & the Originals would issue a compilation – Ska Wars 1979-1999, Featuring Judge Dread – whose reissue, Kay’s website announces, has sold out!
“I Command Thee”: Honorable Mentions
♦ “Don’t Play This Record” Morris Mills 1950
♦ “Please Play Our Song (Mr. Record Man)” The Fontane Sisters 1953
♦ “Mr. D.J. (Please Play a Song for Me)” Somethin’ Smith & the Redheads 1959
♦ “D.J. Play a Sad Song” Jack Campbell 1965
♦ “Play That Lonely Record” Gene Thomas 196?
♦ “Play Me a Happy Song (Mr. D.J.)” Russ Allison 1967
♦ “Mr. D.J. Play Me a Sad Song” Barry Mason 1969
♦ “Play the Saddest Song on the Jukebox” Carmol Taylor 1976
♦ “Won’t Somebody Play My Record” The Egton Runners 1979