Charles “Organaire” Cameron
Before moving to Chicago in 1976, Charles Cameron was an important part of the ska and reggae scenes thriving in Jamaica: as Charley Organaire, he played harmonica in the studio for the likes of Jimmy Cliff, Toots & the Maytals, and Bob Marley. After he moved to Chicago, he formed a new band and took a different stage name, gigging as the Charles Cameron & Sunshine Festival. A few years ago, illustrator and Reader contributor Chema Skandal connected the dots between Cameron’s past and present and decided he wanted to help the harmonica player build on his musical legacy. Late in 2014 Cameron, 73, dropped a few seven-inches with help from Skandal and Jump Up Records, all of them cut with Minneapolis group the Prizefighters. They’re Cameron’s first vinyl releases in decades, though a few of the songs are new versions of popular sides from his Jamaican heyday; the lighthearted update of his up-tempo 60s ska number “Sweet Jamaica” sounds like it popped out of a time capsule.