Dick Cuthell

Dick Cuthell is a British musician and record producer. He plays flugelhorn, cornet, and trumpet, amongst a range of other brass instruments, including tenor horn and valve trombone. Cuthell is best known for his work with The Specials[1][2] and Rico Rodriguez.[3] He also collaborated with bands such as Madness, Eurythmics,[4] Fun Boy Three,[5] XTC, and The Pogues. In addition to a range of horns, Cuthell also plays bass, keyboards and percussion and is a composer and arranger.

Dick Cuthell
Birth nameRichard Cuthell
GenresSka, pop
Occupation(s)Musician, record producer
InstrumentsFlugelhorn, cornet, trumpet, bass guitar, keyboards, percussion
Years active1960s–present
Associated actsThe Specials
Fun Boy Three
The Pogues


Dick Cuthell was born in Liverpool in 1949.

Island recordsEdit

After playing in several bands including the Washington Soul Band and Trifle in the 1960s, Cuthell worked for Island Records in the 1970s as an engineer and later in-house producer. His work at Island Studios in both Jamaica and London brought him into contact with reggae and ska musicians, and these became a constant theme in the music he played and produced. He acted as assistant engineer on Bob Marley's Exodus album,[6] on which he also played horns,[7] and also met Rico Rodriguez, with whom he would later work in The Specials.[8] He was also one of several engineers that worked on the dub album of Burning Spear's Marcus Garvey album, Garvey's Ghost.[9]

The SpecialsEdit

Cuthell became, along with Rico Rodriguez, the horn section for The Specials, playing cornet on their debut album, and staying with the band into their later incarnation as the Special A.K.A., playing on the hit single "Free Nelson Mandela", and the album In the Studio.[1][10][11][12] He co-wrote two of the band's songs, "Bright Lights" and "Racist Friend", released together as a single in 1983, reaching No. 60 in the UK.[13][14][15]

When the Specials split up, Cuthell went on to record with the spin-off group Fun Boy Three.[16]

Later production and session workEdit

Throughout the 1980s, Cuthell continued both production and session work. He contributed trumpet, flugelhorn and cornet to the Eurythmics' 1983 No. 1 album Touch, and also toured as part of the band.[1][17] He played horns on The Pogues' 1985 album Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.[18]

His productions include the Boothill Foot Tappers 1985 album Ain't That Far from Boothill.[19]

He also recorded with Madness,[20] and Linton Kwesi Johnson.[21]


  1. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Rock Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-312-1, p. 351, 978–9
  2. ^ Dammers, Jerry (1997) "Letter to Billboard magazine", Billboard, 1 November 1997
  3. ^ Dick Cuthell Archived 2 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Roots Archives
  4. ^ Sutherland, Bryony & Ellis, Lucy (2002) Annie Lennox: The Biography, Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-0-7119-9192-7, p. 143
  5. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003) The Rough Guide to Rock, Rough Guides, ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0, p. 401
  6. ^ Goldman, Vivien (2007) "Keep on Moving", New Statesman, 28 May 2007, retrieved 27 January 2010
  7. ^ McCann, Ian & Hawke, Harry (2004) Complete Guide to the Music of Bob Marley, Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-0-7119-9884-1, p. 78
  8. ^ "Rico Rodriguez Biographie[permanent dead link]", Orange Times, retrieved 27 January 2010
  9. ^ "Garvey's Ghost Archived 30 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine", Roots Archives, retrieved 27 January 2010
  10. ^ Walters, Barry (2005) "The Specials The Specials", Rolling Stone, 6 October 2005, retrieved 27 January 2010
  11. ^ "Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra Presents Cosmic Engineering: a tribute to Sun Ra and other musical mavericks Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine", barbican.org.uk, retrieved 27 January 2010
  12. ^ Schurmacher, Thomas (1984) "Record Roundup", Montreal Gazette, 19 July 1984, retrieved 27 January 2010
  13. ^ "Bright Lights", Allmusic, retrieved 27 January 2010
  14. ^ "Racist Friend", Allmusic, retrieved 27 January 2010
  15. ^ Racist Friend/Bright Lights, Official Charts, retrieved 27 January 2010
  16. ^ Green, Jim & Robbins, Ira "Fun Boy Three", Trouser Press, retrieved 27 January 2010
  17. ^ Speelman, Paul (1984) "Guitars – and no pretences", The Age, 2 February 1984, retrieved 27 January 2010
  18. ^ Merrick, Joe (2001) London Irish Punk Life & Music...Shane MacGowan, Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-0-7119-7653-5, p. 70
  19. ^ Robbins, Ira "Boothill Foot-Tappers", Trouser Press, retrieved 27 January 2010
  20. ^ "The Ascent of Madness Archived 9 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine", madness.co.uk
  21. ^ Linton Kwesi Johnson discography Archived 4 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine, LKJ Records