It is not an exaggeration to describe George ‘Peckings’ Price as the original and best. Two years before Chris Blackwell started shifting his records over to the UK, Peckings was already on the case. He was the first to bring Jamaican music to the UK, Europe & the US and the course of music was forever changed. Perhaps, like so many of his community, his contribution was overlooked because of the colour of his skin. But just like his ancestors he wasn’t going to let that stop him.
Peckings story started back in yard. Kingston, Jamaica. Inspired to provide for his family he formed a partnership with a friend living a couple of doors down the way - Coxsone Dodd, legendary producer from Studio 1. The two best friends hit up the dance as often as possible and soon realised they could do better themselves and set up their own sound system. Coxsone would travel to the US to collect killer RnB cuts to bust up the rival sounds and Peckings was in charge of bookings and setting up the dances. Members of their sound system included Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Prince Buster and Count Machuki – a lineup matched by no other to this day.
However, Gertrude, the love of Peckings life, decided to head over to the UK and in 1960 he couldn’t help but follow his heart and join her over there too. Making the most of this life change he took with him a suitcase of vinyl armed with cuts from Prince Buster and Coxsone, who had now built his own studio. Gertrude’s best friend was married to Duke Reid and Peckings suitcase also included gems from the Treasure Isle studio.
In a society that resented their presence, Peckings provided the Jamaican ex-pats a taste of home, love and unity through RnB, Ska and Reggae, the soundtrack of their nation. Peckings hooked up original UK soundmen Duke Vin, Count Suckle, Deuniss, Sputnik, Allardyce, Rex Deluxe and Daddy Vego. He would come to supply now legendary soundsystems Coxsone, Jah Shaka, Neville Enchanter, Fatman & Admiral Ken as well as renowned shops and dealers including Hawkeye, Dub Vendor, Daddy Cool, M&D, Pama & Rodigan. From humble beginnings his business nous established a transatlantic supply chain of the pioneering sounds leading to the opening of Peckings Records shop in 1973, cementing his reputation as a role model and inspiration for the black community in Britain.
In light of this success the Peckings household in Shepherds Bush, West London, was bustling with top talent staying over on their travels from Jamaica. The likes of Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Prince Buster and Bunny Lee inspired Peckings sons Chris and Duke as they grew up. In 1994, George sadly passed away but his boys were primed to carry on his great legacy.
While the older Peckings boys, Tony and Trevor, took care of the shop the two younger brothers longed to fulfil their creative urges. Chris Peckings and Dub Duke were born as a production duo and Peckings Records stepped up to the next level. The brothers were encouraged by Coxsone, Bunny Lee and Duke Reid to reinterpret the classic rhythms so that they could carve their own mark in Reggae history.
They made a fantastic start in 2004 with debut LP ‘On Bond Street’ reigniting the career of Bitty McLean and continued with the discovery of Gappy Ranks while also recording with icons such as Tippa Irie, Tarrus Riley, Peter Hunnigale and Macka B. To date the Peckings brothers have released over 90 records, winning respect and acclaim along the way and were awarded both best label and producer at the British Reggae Industry Awards in 2013.
Reggae is full of wonderful and awe-inspiring stories. The evolution of Peckings Records is one of them and there are many more chapters to be written. Forward ever!