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Mutt and Jeff

Page history last edited by Mike Davey 9 years, 1 month ago Saved with comment

 

 

Ken "Mutt" Davy at the

     Control Tower   

 

Kenneth Davy Snr was the sole founder, operator, and selector (“toaster”/”Mike M.C./D.J.) of Mutt & Jeff Sound System.  He named the “set” after the comic strip characters which were featured in the STAR – a local Jamaican evening newspaper – and, Ken being over six feet tall, of course, was Mutt, and his certified electrician buddy Leighton Geoff (Wonards Electric Technician) who was quite a bit shorter was “Jeff”.

 

 

An alumnus of the musically-famed Alpha Boys School (ABS), Mutt had earned a solid reputation as an eloquent debater while in school and so he was “tabbed” as the Master of Ceremonies (“Emcee”) and announcer for the many events (plays, carnivals, musical, athletic and other competitions) conducted by the Nuns who administered the ABS.  At first Mutt merely addressed audiences to these events without any electronic equipment but he soon – around 1956 or so – saved up and purchased (1) a small table-top gray amplifier, (2) two small (12”) speakers, and a microphone.

 

 

Being a logical, forward-thinking “genius”, Mutt quickly added a turntable and started providing background music at these events and then later mainline music at full-fledged “dance parties” organized by the Alpha administrators.  As word spread, his services were also now widely sought for non-Alpha events and dances and so he gradually added/upgraded his equipment.  Soon he had a ‘thunderous”, self-standing amplifier (built by “Jeff””), several additional speakers (including some 18” diameter woofers) and a few steel horns to “bring out the highs”.  The “boxes” housing those speakers were built in the ABS Machine/Woodwork shop adjacent to the ABS printery where Mutt worked fulltime in his “day” job.  Fabricating these boxes was a useful, “real world”, hands-on opportunity/experience for those Alpha boys learning that craft under the watchful eyes of the shop Director and Mutt who could conveniently “walk over” from the ABS printery to assure that all the right “acoustical” angles (as was rudimentarily in vogue during the 50’s) were being properly shaped.  These upgrades quickly catapulted Mutt & Jeff into the upper echelon of top ranking sounds where most connoisseurs of top quality sound systems ranked Mutt & Jeff among a tightly bunched group of about four sets (V-Rocket, Tom the Sebastien etc.) sitting just below the two Jamaican musical giants – Sir Coxsone Downbeat & Duke Reid The Trojan.

 

 

A printer by trade, Ken D. was able to outstrip most of his competition by being able to offer a sort of “turnkey”

type of “entertainment” services whereby he could (1) design and print invitations and placards to advertise each event he was hired for, (2) of course provide expert “clear-as-a-bell” music, selection and “toasting” and (3) provide culinary services (via his darling wife Gloria who was an awesome cook) for the dancehall staple of curry goat, rice and green banana.  Mutt may well have been technologically clairvoyant in regards to “noise” (sound clarity) reduction and whereas he may not have “coined” the term Dolby, he would always (from way back in the 50’s he frequently instructed “Jeff" to constantly tune and re-tune his amplifier) insist on sound of the best quality coming from his “set” to where he advertised his sound as “Mutt & Jeff Clear As A Bell” which was written on all his speakers and printed on all invitations for events where his services were hired.

 

 

Although Mutt generated some decent revenue from his "sound system entertainment" services, he often volunteered to play for free especially at  Xmas events conducted at (1) various Homes for Boys/Girls similar to ABS, (2) a few hospitals, and (3) several "non-profit" institutions.  

 

 

As his (eleven) kids aged and he aspired to devote more time to family, Mutt sold the set in or around 1964 to Sister Mary Ignatius (RIP)a Nun who was his contemporary while a student at ABS and who had risen to be one of the leading administrators at ABS.

 

Comments (1)

StranJah said

at 6:54 pm on Feb 22, 2010

Nice one mate ! =)

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