Reggae Covers: Granville Williams Orchestra – Old MacDonald (trad.)

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A ripping ska orchestral version of the old traditional nursery rhyme ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm.’ Little is known about the Granville Williams Orchestra via the usual sources, though this nugget in The Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) from August 11, 1964 reveals the source of the masterful horns & guitar making quick work of this familiar melody:

“Once again up pops another new orchestra. The name – Granville Williams and his orchestra. Get a load of this for a bandstand – Sam lsmay, Baba Brooks, Freddie Campbell, Audley Williams and the master of them all, doing the arranging and acting as co-leader: Ernest Ranglin, who also doubles on flute. Better put a little oil in your lamp Byron and Carlos.”

I’m aware Cedric Im Brooks played with the GWO, though the “Baba Brooks” referred to above is not the same person, rather referring to famed ska trumpeter Oswald “Baba” Brooks. Sam Ismay was a well-known journeyman sax player in the early days of ska, appearing with Byron Lee & The Dragonaires among other acts. Audley Williams played with Carlos Malcolm as well. That guitar? None other than the legendary Ernest Ranglin.


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