Monday, June 11, 2007

Alex Durie

One thing for sure is that there is no shortage of unsung heroes and heroines in Jamaica. Alex Durie is one of those Jamaicans yet to show up on the radar screen as it relates to the pioneering of Jamaica's recording industry. And while Ken Khouri is pretty recognized in the recording industry, not much is known of the partnership and supporting role played by Alex Durie.
At 87 years old and fighting a battle against blindness, Alex is far from being a bitter man over his non recognition, and in fact, he wouldn't even be bothered if his worth and contribution in not made known. According to Alex, it was Ken Khouri who came to him with the idea and request for financial backing for the establishment of Record Limited, located then in (1954) at 129 King Street. After obliging Ken Khouri and with equal stake holding, the duo launched into record production with the initial aim of competing with Stanley Motta. In fact, the duo had another associate in Tony Hart, who was operating out of Montego Bay. Hart was just getting ready to launch his recording business with the aim of also competing with Stanly Motta, in the then, very vibrant `Mento/Calypso market. Ken and Alex then bought out Tony Hart's business and went on to establish the very first record manufacturing plant in Jamaica.
While Ken concentrated on making records, Alex operated the famous Times Store at 12 King Street. The store became a major distributor of Mento/ Calypso records in the initial stage and even had its own label, Times Label`. Record Limited was later moved to the Hunts Bay Industrial Park, where it was renamed, Federal Recording Company in 1957.
The Times legacy started in 1897 when Alex's father started the Jamaica Times Newspaper and Times Store. in 1935 while at the mere age of 15, Alex started working in the family business and finally took over full control in 1947 until the business folded in 2003. The store became a household name in Jamaica and was famous for its annual Christmas Float Parade
During the period he made invaluable contribution in the field of commerce, and rose to become the president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce in 1962. He served downtown Kingston to its fullest and with non of his children interested in continuing the business, it folded. Part of the building is currently being rented out as a restaurant. Vintage Boss Productions salutes Alex Durie.
Colby Graham

1 comment:

Neville Brown said...

He gave me my first real job at his printing company, we was a very nice man so was his son Richard