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Champion Steelband Arranger Earl Rodney in the Spotlight - Revisited

New York, USA - He is one of the esteemed champion arrangers of the Golden Era of pan. His name, like the other great ones, carries much respect and recognition. And like his fellow famed steelband music panorama arrangers - one name will suffice as an identification marker for life. Earl Rodney will always be known as the champion arranger for and associated with, the great Solo Harmonites Steel Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago in their glory years. The three-time panorama winner sits down with When Steel Talks for an exclusive interview.

Earl Rodney, who is originally from central Point Fortin, Trinidad joined Solo Harmonites in 1967 where he met Harmonites Steel Orchestra co-founder Hue Loy.

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Ialways thought was 4time panorama arranger.anyway he living down by me,big up d great 4 stick players.I am glad to continue d 4 stick harmony playin legacy.long live point players!
Thank you WST for this interview with the legendary Earl Rodney. It is good to see that he is looking great and to know, that he is still quite active in playing great music. This iconic musician still has so much to offer and I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of his soon to be released CD. Thank you Earl Rodney for all the great music you have given us through your works with Solo Harmonites, Sparrow, Stalin and others. You are one awesome dude. I wish you much success with your new CD.
A very refreshing and long overdue interview considering his contribution to pan and the fact that I have not seen this giant of a musician for quite some time now. My dad, Earl's uncle, once told me that they use to call him Bostick and I remember my first and last recording as his guitarist was the very same day my mom died.

He has a wonderful family and I sincerely wish him and his loved ones all that is good. It is my misfortunate that I will not be able to hear him play at our family reunion on 12/27. I wonder if he still has that faithful double second pan that looks authentic and sounds immaculate under the gentle caress of his touch?
Thank you very much for highlighting one of the greatest of steelband arrangers of our era. Earl Rodney changed the flavour of Panorama arrangements, introducing the "Latin" into Harmonites 1968 rendition of Kitchener's Wrecker and won. His creativity continued with Sparow's Bongo, with the African Drumming along with the band, this visionary arranger followed that with winning in 1971 tying with Ray Holman another prestigious arranger. Continuing to set the structure, 1974 Earl Rodney arranged the 10 songs needed for our Album including of Lord Kitchener's Jerico, however the gentleman we called "the priest' came to complete the song, that's when Earl Rodney's influence took Hamonites to the championship, because it was the character in which Earl would emphasize that the new arranger had to adhere, it was those "talented" player that he mentioned that emboied the spirit of Earl Rodney's musical influence and went on to win in 1974.
Earl Rodney was one of the musician I had admired alot. I learn alot playing on one of his 45's, especially his drummer at the time Tobias who taught some skills on a triangle. A friend of the pantuner (pioneer) Allan Gervais that gave me a tenor (Invaders) pan before I leave for Australia. Although I was known as the scractcher man They taught me to play the steeldrums and how to read music. Earl Rodney help me write me first Calypso "Soul Sister" and I would like to hear from him.

Courtney Leiba
Tripoli Scratcherman.
Mr. Earl Rodney is one of our Icons in the steelband world, and has gained a lot of knowledge and experience about our pan music and instrument. I think that the present administration of Pantribago should utilize his kwowledge to help carry our pan to greater hights. Men like Anthony Wiliams- Bertie Marshal -Neville Jules- Ellie Manette Ray Holman and others are capable pioneers that can keep our Pan-rising. We cant wait much longer, these great men are in the twilight of their years and should be used now. They have the experience, they have done it before and can do it again.
Nice of When Steel Talks to give recognition to a somewhat forgotten steelband arranger named Earl Rodney. Members of the band, Solo Harmonites, myself included, used to call him Barney. And, I remember very well how passionate he was about having his music played to perfection, and as crisp as humanly possible. Earl stormed onto the scene with Solo in 1967 doing "Pajama Suit", but, in my humble opinion, it was "The Wrecker" in 1968 that did everybody in. I still remember it to this day and always talk about it. Looking menacing in army greens and with bases painted blue and white to match the Royal Crown Cola logo, Solo mash up the savannah on preliminaries day and had tongues wagging. Bertie Marshall introduced plastic canopies to steel band in 1965 to cover Highlanders pans from the heat of the sun as the band paraded the streets, but it was Solo Harmonites that perfected its use when in 1968, they had green canopies made out of a strong canvas in the hope that the sun would be kept out, the sound would be retained, and which would look very pretty, yet belligerent, and showing that Solo meant business. Canopies so low [no pun intended] that the players could not be seen, all you were hearing was the beautiful, melodious, spine-tingling arrangement of this cool, calm, quiet, unassuming individual. He went on to win, was 3rd in 1969 with another scintillating arrangement of Sparrow's "Bongo", and crowned it all off with successes in 1971 [Play Mas] and 1972 [St. Thomas Girl[], two Kitchener compositions. He started the the 1974 piece"Jericho", but due to a personal issue, brought in Rupert Mark, better known to us as "The Priest" to finish the work. The crowning glory was that Solo Harmonites won the panorama that year, so I would say that he won three and shared in the other victory. I have always admired his calm, collective nature and have always appreciated his contribution to the overhauling of Steelband Panorama in T&T. For, after the licking he inflicted on all challengers in '68, with that large and powerful complement of frontline pans, about 30 tenors, even the then great Guinness Cavaliers had to pay homage and respect to Earl" Barney" Rodney, supreme arranger of Solo Harmonites Steel Orchestra. My heart goes out to you my brother. Indeed, I salute you.
dear ed. i do not remember you, but you described the events pertaining to the canopies acurately. they were designed by (dec. skull) and myself hueloy. solo has re- united, we are playing ,smooth sailing by de fosto, everyone is in high spirits. check out my pg. in fb. (pan jazzkaisoca) you will see recent pic. and vids. also send and tell me who you are in the private message box. take care.
I am also an admirer of Earl Rodney, but I would like to see someone write something about him in a book. There are too many great pioneers who have contributed in a great way to the pan art-form, yet we only hear the half of it...a book will remedy this. I recently watched Mr. Rodney at work in Radoes panyard, arranging Ray's composition of "RocketMan", which incidentally was written in my living room as we watched Usain Bolt destroy the competition and become the fastest man in history. It would be nice if someone at least gathered information on Mr. Rodney so that in the future a book can be written to immortalize him and his work.
Thanks When Steel Talk. Earl ''Bostick''Rodney is one of the best there is and one of the greatest there will ever be. I remember as a boy listening to Tropical Harmony pan side in Point it was sweet music. With so much latin flavour,That is some thing that will stay with me for the rest of my life. We who knew the group of pan men at that time, will also remember his good friend Allan ''Maestro'' Gervais, Better known to his friends in Egypt Village as ''Stro''. When we use to hang on the block while Allan tuning under the mango tree, the best thing that could happen is to see Bostick going to check him, better yet if rain starts to fall. You know the lime done. These two guys will go into the shed, Bostick on Double seconds with four sticks, Stro on the bass with one stick and the rest is history. I could go on and on about a great man a great arranger and a great pannist. I was happy to be at his backyard jam for the 2009 Borough weekend,together with his good friend Jason Baptiste. We must not forget the talent that came out of Poin Fortin. Go ahead and start the book. God bless.
Greetings to you my brother; After so many years I felt really sad hearing your statement with regard to the development
of our national instrument,that other than the tonal quality not much has been done to really develop and market the instrument,sad but true.I have often wonder how is it that all the intellectuals,advisors and administrators of past and present administration never saw the potential of our invention as a big revenue earner nationally and internationally or may be they felt the wrong people would have benefited,I wonder.
With regard to appreciation there are nationals who leave our shores with total neglect and disrespect for our culture until they arrive in what they consider to be their newly found paradise, announce that they are from Trinidad and Tobago and the question is posed,can you play the steel pan or sing a calypso, No.so to avoid this embarrassment there are those who now find it appropriate to learn a song or two before leaving our shores even taking a Tenor Pan with them and should they happen to be around when a band is on tour you can always see them at the front of the crowd most vociferous exclaiming,they are from my country you know.What hypocrisy.It seems as though we always need foreign approval before we can appreciate or value our own thing.


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