Jama Rico

b. ca. late 1940/early 1950s (?), lives in London (?)

Looking at Rico Rodriguez' music during his important period from the 1970s to early 1980s on person is always nearby: Dick Cuthell, a gifted horn player and sound engineer.

He remained in the background but he must have had an extraordinary importance on the musical development of that time.

Dick Cuthell was a perfect partner for Rico as he knew to play in the same mood, soft and intense. He added to his reggae productions a wider Caribbean or even African flavour and with this experience influenced the musical direction of the Specials and Jerry Dammers with whom the worked for many years.

His discography is long and interesting.

In the English Wikipedia an article was created in 2006 with mayor additions in March 2007 by his brother John Cuthell. There we read:

"Dick Cuthell was part of the second wave of bands that developed in Liverpool, following the success of the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and other bands referred to as 'Mersey beat'. This second wave looked to the United States and jazz and soul artists for their influences. The band with which Cuthell reached a national audience was the Washington Soul Band. …
The Washington Soul Band changed its name to Selofane when it became based in London, and its repertoire became more pop-oriented [in the early 1970s? Jamarico]. During the next few years Dick Cuthell was a member of a number of bands, including Rich, Grimes and Babylon and Trifle. …"

I the mid 1970s Dick Cuthell worked mainly for Island Records as a sound engineer and recorded the growing number of reggae stars, a.o. Bob Marley's and Lee Perry's session which resulted in "Punky Reggae Party" and "Keep On Moving". 1976 was the year Rico Rodriguez and Dick Cuthell met each other while Rico was recording his song "Africa" that later appeared on Rico's Man From Wareika album. He went with Rico to Jamaica and tells writer Richard Williams his experience:

"It was really strange up at the Centre [of Count Ossie in Wareika Hills]", said Dick. "I didn't feel as if I was on earth at all, and it wasn't because I was high on smoking or anything, it was - I don't know - all the drums going and all the percussion. Rico was just blowing, and he said to me 'blow!', so I got my horn, I was all breathless from running with it 'cause it's so hot there, and I wasn't used to not having any structure to play with, you just hav the drums with you, and Rico was just blowing and blowing and blowing and I found myself trying to find the bass to hold me down or a guitar to give me a chord to change key or something. But it wasn't that at all - it was just the drums, and as Rico says, it's a matter of breathing and you can play exactly what you want, and it sounds great. We just ran the cassettes that I had with me and blew all night. ... [And we wish to hear someday something from these tapes!] ..."
Dick talked about how he became involved.
"I was out there six weeks, but I was only meant to be there for three, while we did the album [for Rico]. Chris [Blackwell] said to stay out there and finish what we had to do, which was recording Ossie, so we were literally recording him a few days before he was killed. If I hadn't seen Chris in the car park in Kingston I would have been back up in the Hills and gone the next day."
He didn't know how involved he would become before he went to Jamaica.
"I had recorded a lot of Reggae down at Hammersmith, and guys would come down and say 'We want a Roots sound', etc.., and I'd think well what you talking about - here we are with a brand new studio with the technology you need and it's all clean up the sound and make it beautiful ... did some demos, three tunes just to see what they thought. We were using various people, Eddie Thornton, Byron on drums, Philipp Chen on bass, Bunny McKenzie, Tony Washington, Ferdinand Dixon, Ijahman doing some vocals. It took a long time for Chris to hear them - we did them in April. ..."
( Melody Maker, 2.4.1977)

Later in the 1970s Dick Cuthell played in Rico's tourband to promote Man From Wareika. When The Specials looked for Rico the pair joined the band as associate members. Cuthell remained close to Jerry Dammers' projects when Rico left the UK to live in Jamaica and Annie Whitehead took over his place. He's had a decisive influence on records like "Racist Friend", "Free nelson Mandela", on the "Starvation" single that featured his composition "Haunted" and on the collaboration of Jerry Dammers with Robert Wyatt on "Wind Of Change". He played with Eurythmics, with whom he toured on their "Only Fools and Horses" tour in 1983, the same year he played life with Madness. Shortly later Dick dissapeared from the music scene as did Rico before him. A decade later Jerry Dammers and Dick Cuthell joined once again for a 12" on the Mo Wax label, "Mysteriuous Ways". But that was a solitary activity. Asked about the whereabouts of Dick it was Rico who told in 1995 to a journalist that this wonderful horn player has retreated from the business and now works as a taxi driver in London. The Wikipedia entry lists the following credits:

"As musician for:
"Agnes Bernelle, Amazulu, Aswad, Black Roots, Blancmange, Burning Spear, Buster Bloodvessel, Carol Grimes, Cedric Myton and the Congoes, Chaz Jankel, Chris Spedding, Chris Wood, Count Ozzie & The Mystical Revelation Of Jah Rastafari, Dean Garcia, DefDFires, Delroy Washington, Desi's Allstars, Eddie Quansah, Elvis Costello, Faithless, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Fun Boy Three, Hugh Masekela, Jade Warrior, Jimmy Haynes, Joan Armatrading, John Martyn, Julian Cope, Kirsty McColl, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Level 42, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Madness, Michael Smith, Nasty Pop, Orange Juice, Phil Collins, Reebop Kwaku Bah, Remi Kabaka, Rich, Grimes & Babylon, Rico Rodriguez, Sandy Denny, Selector, Selofane, Shane McGowan, Sir Coxone, Sly & Robbie, Startled Insects, Steel Pulse, Steve Winwood, Terrorvision, The Blockheads, The Boothill FootTappers, The Deltones, The Eurythmics, The Gibson Brothers, The Happy End, The Heptones, The Members, The Pogues, The Popes, The Potato Five, The Red Crayola, The Sessionmen, The Special AKA, The Specials, The Wailers, The Washington Soul Band, Toots & The Maytals, Tribesman, Trifle, Vic Goddard, Visionistics, Wailing Souls, White Door, XTC.
As engineer for:
Amazulu, Annette Peacock, Aswad, Bad Company, Black Roots, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Brian Eno, Brian Ferry, Burning Spear, Charlie Dore, Chris Rea, Chris Wood, Count Ozzie & The Mystical Revelation Of Jah Rastafari, Del Shannon, Delroy Washington, Donnie Elbert, Eddie Quansah, Fairport, Free, George Faith, Georgie Fame, Herbie Flowers, I Jah Man, Jade Warrior, Jess Roden, Jim Capaldi, Jimmy Cliff, John Martyn, Lee Perry, Millie, Nasty Pop, Pete Wingfield, Peter Skellern, Phil Collins, Reebop Kwaku Bah, Remi Kabaka, Rico Rodriguez, Robert Palmer, Roxy Music, S.A.H.B., Sandy Denny, Sir Coxone, Sly & Robbie, Speedy Keen, Sparks, Steve Winwood, The Boothill FootTappers, The Deltones, The Happy End, The Heptones, The Members, The Potato Five, The Special AKA, The Tearjerkers, The Wailers, Toots & The Maytals, Traffic, Ultravox, Visionistics and Wailing Souls.
He also engineered and produced Third World.
His relationship with some bands was longer lasting. He played, engineered and produced tracks for Amazulu, China Street, Rico Rodriguez, The Boothill FootTappers, The Deltones, The Happy End, The Members, The Potato Five, The Special AKA, Visionistics. One iconic track by Special AKA was "Racist Friend", which Dick Cuthell co-wrote and on which he played bass and piano, in addition to the usual range of horns. Cuthell also worked with Harry J and Jack Ruby.

[[Category:Dick used to play in the brass section of Selofane with my father , the washington sould band to start and re - named Selofane , they had an appearance on top of the pops and 1967 was the main year they played Liverpool althouth they also toured London playing in a club called the Bag O'Nails.]]