Ken Lack

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Ken Lack
Birth name Blondel Keith Calnek
Also known as BJ Kalnek
Born 1934
Died June 6, 2001
Genres Ska, rocksteady, reggae
Occupation(s) Record producer
Years active 1960s
Labels Caltone, JonTom

Ken Lack (born Blondel Keith Calnek, 1934, died June 6, 2001, Miami) was a Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae record producer active in the latter half of the 1960s, who also ran the Caltone and JonTom record labels.[1]


Lack was for a short time the road manager for The Skatalites, working alongside P.J. Patterson, and began releasing records in the mid 1960s including one of the last tunes recorded by the Skatalites, "Outer Space", and others by Ken Boothe, The Clarendonians, The Tartans, The Heptones, The Pioneers, The Slickers, Roy Shirley & Slim well as several instrumental singles featuring bands led by Tommy McCook or Lynn Taitt, and featuring soloists such as Johnny "Dizzy" Moore and Vin Gordon.[2][3] Lack's JonTom record label was named after Johnny Moore and Tommy McCook.[1][4]

Bunny Lee worked for Lack in the early days of Caltone, and Lee's first production, "Listen to The Beat" by Lloyd Jackson and The Groovers was released on Lack's Caltone label in 1967.[2] Max Romeo also got his big break working for Lack as a record plugger, with Lack setting up an audition for Romeo's group The Emotions after overhearing him singing while at work, and going on to release a string of hit singles by the group.[5]

Lack was the first producer to work with some of Jamaica's major stars including Hortense Ellis ("I Shall Sing" and "Brown Girl In The Ring"), The Heptones (releasing their first two singles, "School Girls" and "Gunmen Coming to Town", the latter taking its melody from Rossini's William Tell Overture), and The Uniques with their debut single "The Journey".[2][3]

Lack's career as a producer ended when he emigrated to the United States in the late 1960s.[5]

He died on June 6, 2001 after a long illness related to heart problems.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Williams, Mark (2001) "Obituary of Blondel Keith Calnek"
  2. ^ a b c Larkin, Colin (1998) "The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae", Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9
  3. ^ a b Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) "The Rough Guide to Reggae", Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4
  4. ^ Pete Holdsworth, Article on Caltone's Jamaican 45's 1966-69, published with CD, Pressure Sounds, 2012
  5. ^ a b Thompson, Dave (2002) "Reggae & Caribbean Music", Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6

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