Ernest Ranglin  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Ernest Ranglin (born June 19, 1932 in Manchester, Jamaica) is a guitarist whose session work at Studio One helped give birth to the ska genre in the late 1950s.

Ranglin played on many classic Jamaican recordings, and he performed with artists such as Jimmy Cliff, Monty Alexander, Prince Buster, The Skatalites and Eric Dean's Orchestra. Some credit Ranglin with the invention of the core style of guitar play (sometimes known as scratching) found in nearly all ska music. He is one of the few musicians to blend jazz and reggae successfully.

As child, Ranglin played ukulele, and in his teen years he started playing guitar. While still in his teens, he began performing live, locally and in the Bahamas, often with the young Monty Alexander. Charlie Christian was an early influence. In 1958, Chris Blackwell recorded a Ranglin single, which was the first Island Records release. In 1964, Ranglin, with Chris Blackwell and singer Millie Small recorded "My Boy Lollipop", the first Jamaican song to achieve international success.

He began attracting international notice in 1964 when he traveled to London, England to perform at Ronnie Scott's jazz nightclub. He became the venue's resident guitarist for nine months, backing numerous guest artists and appearing in a recording of a Sonny Stitt/Dick Morrissey jam session in 1966. He made several solo records for Island Records, as well as collaborating with Prince Buster. He returned to session work, arranging songs such as the Melodians' "Rivers of Babylon" and playing guitar leads in the Wailers' "It Hurts to Be Alone." He also laid the foundation for the rise of the rockers reggae style.

In the 1970s, Ranglin toured with Jimmy Cliff, and in 1973 he was awarded the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican Government for his contributions to music. He continued touring and recording regularly throughout the following decades. He signed to Chris Blackwell's newly-formed Palm Pictures label to issue 1998's In Search of the Lost Riddim. The albums E.B. @ Noon and Modern Answers to Old Problems followed two years later. Grooving was released in early 2001.

Partial discography

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