Mount Grove is a record label that was born from our passion for "Old School" soulful sounds.
We believe that it's possible to make things differently. We are passionate about the authenticity of music and believe vinyl should be its main support.
Mount Grove Records was born when Teddy Garcia (Granadians, The Delegators) had a dream about travelling to Jamaica to record an album with the Jamaican legends he's been admiring since he was a teenager. As you might know Jamaica is the promised land for Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae. A land where the sea and the sun conspire to help its people live, breath and sweat music.
Teddy became obsessed with his vision and wouldn't let it go, even if it sounded like one of those impossible dreams that only children are allowed to have. Any sensible adult would dismiss the idea due to the practicalities of daily life (work, family, lack of funding...) but not that's not how Teddy works.
His friends Tato and Nestor, being Jamaican enthusiasts since they were teens as well, had no other option but joining Teddy in his crazy vision. One dark Tuesday evening in December 2014 he revealed his dream to them and instead of taking Teddy back to reality, they decided to join him. The three of them had met in London many years ago, and their passion for Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae led them to organise DJ sessions both together and independently, as well as other activities such as drunk-singing to The Paragons in the cold London streets (to the dismay of bystanders) or home sessions watching the movie Rockers over and over again and having a go at Patois with a Spanish accent.
They didn't know how, when, where or who, but they did know Teddy's dream had to become true. Little they knew a number of very talented people will join them to make this dream bigger, but more on this later...
Teddy started to create songs with the help of his musician friends in Washington DC. Some songs were created specifically to fit the tone and style of certain vocalists (e.g. Ken Boothe), while others were a mere exercise of creating soulful Riddims. All of them had one thing in common: they were the embodiment of Teddy's personal experiences (family, musical career, successes and failures...)
While the songs were being created, Teddy started to get in touch with some of the musicians he had in mind. These musicians were surprisingly excited about the idea of working with him. That was the moment when the Mount Grove crew realised the impossible dream might have a chance to become true after all, and Teddy, Tato and Nestor officially became Mount Grove Records.
Without thinking too much about it, three plane tickets were bought to Kingston to flight all the way from Washington, London and Madrid for April 2015. As you can imagine, the three of them had a hard time to function in the months prior to this once-in-a-lifetime adventure trip, as they spent their time daydreaming about their trip to Jamaica.
Once they landed in Jamaica, the Mount Grove crew wanted to empower Jamaicans to express their talent, soul and character through music, allowing them to lead the songs Teddy created where their heart felt it should.
Mount Grove didn't want to be another producer "paying a Jamaican to do a job", or another tourist paying "cash for a service". The goal was not to build a temporary bridge that would be dismantled when they left the island. They wanted to build relationships that transcended material transactions.
They wanted to sleep, eat, walk and record like Jamaicans, building long lasting relationships that went beyond recording an album. It was all about sharing moments, learning from Jamaicans, and building a legacy from the experience.
Alpha Boys School is a non-profit institution that provides Jamaican children in need with food, shelter, medical care and education. Known as the cradle of The Skatalites. Notable alumni from Alpha include Tommy McCook, Lester Sterling, Leroy "horsemouth" Wallace, Yellowman and many others.
Thanks to the leader of Alpha's musical programme Joshua Chamberlain, students were given the opportunity participate in a professional recording session. The goal was for them to benefit from an experience that will help them to develop a career in music and perhaps become recognised musicians one day, as many others did in Alpha.
After practicing in the rooms of the school, which walls transpire musical culture, students headed to the mighty Tuff Gong studios, where they recorded their creations.
You can listen to the results of that work in the B side of our first release Memories from last night by Ken Boothe. By giving students the chance to feature in a record together with a worldwide icon like Ken Boothe, we really hope the exposure to a global audience will help them pave the way to their musical career.
The moments shared with Jamaicans are too many to mention: the nyabinghi session at night in Nine Mile, the recording session with Carl Dawkins and Big youth in Small World studios where comradery created an incredible vibe, Ken Boothe opening the doors of his house, the moment of calm in The Pinnacle, local sound systems everywhere, our driver and friend Rappa, the recording sessions with Ronnie Davies in the Jungle around Savanna-la-Mar, ... we won't bore you with the details, we only hope that the music we created for you conveys the passion and dedication of Jamaican people.
Jamaicans were incredibly welcoming and it's only thanks to them that our little crazy idea could grow into something bigger. From the owner of our little home in Kingston, Peter, to the sound engineer in Negril that left his house at 11 at night to record a song with us and two local singers, all of them left a mark in the work we now present to you.
We hope you enjoy it as much as Mount Grove did when creating it.