The Tennors are still in the game

by Apr 25, 2024News

The Tennors are still in the game

At the time Clive Murphy cut his first record in 1963, Jamaica’s music industry was still in its embryonic stage. The musicians who backed him at producer Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle studio in west Kingston were members of The Skatalites.

Sixty-four years after he recorded ‘Little Girl Over There’, Murphy is still in the game as leader of The Tennors, the harmony trio best known for rock steady classics like ‘Pressure And Slide’ and ‘Ride yu Donkey’.

Early in his career, Murphy rubbed shoulders with artistes who became reggae greats including keyboardist Jackie Mittoo, the genius arranger at Studio One. From June 21-23, he and his colleagues in The Tennors will share the stage with some of the biggest names in contemporary reggae at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in Booneville, California.

Koffee, Busy Signal, Beres Hammond, Steel Pulse, Barrington Levy and Stonebwoy are some of the featured acts on the annual event. According to the South Florida-based Murphy, who is in his late 70s, The Tennors retain a zeal for recording and performing.

“The public, they’re liking what they are seeing or what they hear, so we continue to get bookings. The energy is still going well,” he said.

Lincoln Cousins, a former member of The Clarendonians, and Endel-I, a Bahamian singer who once toured with Inner Circle, complete the current Tennors lineup which performed in Mexico on April 3.

Murphy, who is from St. Mary parish in eastern Jamaica, formed The Tennors during the mid-1960s as a duo with Maurice “Prof” Johnson. He remembers them auditioning a rough version of ‘Pressure And Slide’ for Mittoo while in a taxi.

They became a trio after being joined by Norman Davis (later of The Wailing Souls), who appeared on ‘Pressure And Slide’, their first officially released single. Released by Studio One, it became one of the biggest hits in Jamaica for 1967.

That was followed by ‘Ride yu Donkey’, another big hit, as well as several singles produced by Murphy and others. ‘Another Scorcher’, a song they did with Jackie Bernard of The Kingstonians in 1969, was used for a Heineken television commercial in 2018.

(Photo contributed)

The Tennors – Ride Yuh Donkey

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