With the classic recordings “Baby Why” and “What Kind of World” the legendary Jamaican harmony vocal group The Cables secured their place in music history. It was in 1968 when the group rocketed to stardom when Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd took them into Studio One recording studios. Founded by lead vocalist Keble Drummond, along with harmony singers, Vince Stoddart, tenor, and Elbert “Stewie” Stewart, baritone, the Cables brought with them the lyrics and the upbeat, lilting melody of “Baby Why”. Then it was the musicians Coxsone had gathered in the studio that created what arguable is the first reggae recording. The up tempo, bubbling shuffle beat that an inspired Jackie Mittoo created on keyboards to fit the tune was to become the foundation for the reggae rhythm. The tune was a sensation on the Jamaican sound system circuit before being released on Coxsone’s Studio One label where it soon established itself as the number one hit on all charts for four weeks. Also recorded on the same session was “What Kind of World,” a Vince Stoddart composition. After the dust settled following the success of “Baby Why”, Coxsone released “What Kind of World”, with the rock steady beat popular at the time, and the track held the number two spot on the charts for six weeks.
Coxsone continued as The Cables’ producer, and the result was a long string of consistently strong tracks. The Cables first LP, “What Kind of World”, released in 1970, is a compilation of their Studio One achievements. Since then the album was re-released on Heartbeat Records in 1987 and is now a steady international seller in CD format. “Baby Why” is the first track on Heartbeat’s sought after “Best of Studio One” disk, and “What Kind of World” is featured on Heartbeat’s “Full Up, More Hits From Studio One”. The tunes are entrenched in Jamaican music consciousness as the rhythm tracks have been revitalized by dee jays such as Dennis Alcapone and Prince Jazzbo, as well as other vocal groups and singers, including the Gladiators, The Mighty Diamonds, Freddie MacGregor, Sanchez, Morgan Heritage and Barrington Levy.
The Cables left Coxsone in 1970 to record for notable JA producers J. J. Johnson, Harry J. and Bunny Lee. Competing in the Festival Song Writing Contest, “Feel Alright” placed fourth in 1971 and “Jamaica” placed second in 1977.
Over the years persistent demand for the group has resulted in the Cables reuniting for numerous international festivals. The Cables were a sensation at the 2011 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and have been featured at such international events as Reggae Sunsplash and Heineken Startime. Today the Cables are based in the United States and enjoy full U. S. citizenship and are free to travel. The group is currently in the studio working on their soon to be released, yet untitled CD. Also, “The Cables Collection”, comprising of a wider perspective of their memorable songs, plus additional new recordings, is in the works.
The Cables warm, uplifting vocal stylings stand out among the classic, all-time great Jamaican vocal groups and will live on in the hearts of music lovers forever.