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Articles on this Page
- 08/03/14--17:29: _Duane Stephenson Ch...
- 09/07/14--11:23: _Riddim Reviews
- 09/17/14--19:49: _Chronixx "Capture L...
- 10/03/14--22:01: _Red Bull Culture Cl...
- 10/21/14--20:14: _Dub Store Profiled ...
- 11/11/14--22:30: _Full Up of History:...
- 01/14/15--22:08: _Rare Roots & New Ri...
- 02/24/15--21:38: _Yabby You: Propheti...
- 03/19/15--20:55: _5 Essential New Reg...
- 04/17/15--19:24: _Big Sound: From Dub...
- 06/01/15--21:28: _Noisy Goes 2Tone
- 06/03/15--21:40: _Kabaka Pyramid & Ib...
- 06/11/15--21:33: _Portland In Dub: So...
- 08/31/15--11:28: _"Well Done" – Kabak...
- 01/05/16--19:05: _Top Ten Reggae Albu...
- 03/13/16--19:01: _Label Profile: Foun...
- 03/31/16--19:20: _Get Ready to Rockst...
- 05/01/16--19:19: _Ska Supergroup Rele...
- 05/03/16--18:19: _Dennis Brown: The P...
- 05/19/16--18:53: _Bunny Wailer: Still...
- 06/20/16--14:19: _Protoje Goes Royalt...
- 09/23/16--10:54: _Jah9's New Video fo...
- 02/08/17--23:41: _Roots from All Nations
- 09/29/17--21:52: _Chronixx's Tiny Des...
- 10/20/18--16:23: _Mortimer's new vide...
- 08/03/14--17:29: Duane Stephenson Channels Bunny Wailer [Video]
- 09/07/14--11:23: Riddim Reviews
- 09/17/14--19:49: Chronixx "Capture Land" Video
- 10/03/14--22:01: Red Bull Culture Clash SF: Dubs Get Dirty
- 10/21/14--20:14: Dub Store Profiled & New Riddims
- 11/11/14--22:30: Full Up of History: Bunny "Striker" Lee
- 01/14/15--22:08: Rare Roots & New Riddims + Eddie Goes One-Drop
- 02/24/15--21:38: Yabby You: Prophetic & Newly Respected
- 03/19/15--20:55: 5 Essential New Reggae Tracks
- 04/17/15--19:24: Big Sound: From Dublin to Brooklyn to JA
- 06/01/15--21:28: Noisy Goes 2Tone
- 06/03/15--21:40: Kabaka Pyramid & Iba Mahr Tour the US
- 06/11/15--21:33: Portland In Dub: Sound System Seekers
- 08/31/15--11:28: "Well Done" – Kabaka Pyramid's New Video Produced by Jr. Gong
- 01/05/16--19:05: Top Ten Reggae Albums 2015
- 03/13/16--19:01: Label Profile: Foundation Channel
- 03/31/16--19:20: Get Ready to Rocksteady on Record Store Day!
- 05/01/16--19:19: Ska Supergroup Release New Single
- 05/03/16--18:19: Dennis Brown: The Prophet Rides Again On Tribute Album
- Iba Mahr, Jesse Royal, Keznamdi, Chronixx, Exco Levi, Kelissa, Jahmiel, Kabaka Pyramid & Rockaz Elements - I Need Your Love (Rasta Children)
- Bushman - Don't Want To Be No General
- The Green - Promised Land
- Raging Fyah - Milk and Honey
- Christopher Ellis - Created By The Father
- Mutabaruka & Marla Brown - Words of Wisdom
- Chino - Melting Pot
- Yahsha - The Existence Of Jah
- Jamelody- Halfway Up, Halfway Down
- Freddie McGregor - Little Village
- Mykal Rose - Easy Take It Easy
- Jah9 - Bloody City
- Richie Spice - Wolves and Leopards
- Shuga - Black Liberation
- VP Hit Team - To The Foundation
- Romain Virgo - Caress Me
- Marsha Ambrosius - Have You Ever
- No Maddz - Rocking Time
- Maxi Preist - Love Me Always
- Jamelody & Ikaya - Love Has Found Its Way
- Sanchez - Your Love Got A Hold On Me
- Katchafire - If I Had The World
- Etana - Should I
- Jah Cure - Ghetto Girl
- Christopher Martin - Baby Don't Do It
- Gyptian - How Can I
- Ikaya - For You
- Dalton Harris - No More Will I Roam
- Jah Vinci - Money in My Pocket
- VP Hit Team - Silhouette
- 05/19/16--18:53: Bunny Wailer: Still A Blackheart Man - From NPR
- 06/20/16--14:19: Protoje Goes Royalty Free
- 09/23/16--10:54: Jah9's New Video for "Humble Mi"
- 02/08/17--23:41: Roots from All Nations
- 09/29/17--21:52: Chronixx's Tiny Desk Concert Showcase's His Music's Maturity
- 10/20/18--16:23: Mortimer's new video "Careful" via Easy Star
Duane Stephenson previews his new album Dangerously Roots (out Sept 23 on VP Records) with a cover of Bunny Wailer's anthemic number "Cool Runnings."
The song was on Wailer's 1981 album Rock and Groove, and was an important bridge between the Bob Marley-roots era of the '70s into the early dancehall and run-a-dub era of the early '80s.
Stephenson, who has two highly regarded previous albums (From August Town andBlack Gold), does a fantastic job with the tune, and shows his reverence for times "when music was nice," in Jamaica. Watch a video for the track below and look out for his new album.
ForwardEver recently published some new riddim compilation reviews over at United Reggae site.
Jump For Joy riddim review
Maxfield Avenue riddim review
Chronixx's "Capture Land," the latest feature track from his Billboard-topping album Dread & Terrible.
Large Up has a nice review and profile of the video shoot, mentioning that the video was shot by Jerome D of Top Dawg Entertainment, the same director responsible for Kendrick Lamar's "Swimming Pools" video.
Overall, Chronixx's auspicious rise reminds ForwardEver of 80/90s roots singer, Ini Kamoze, who, like Chronixx broke through via his Sly & Robbie-produced mini-album. Kamoze's "World A Music" was later sampled for Damian Marley's smash "Welcome To Jamrock." Chronixx's looks to have the same poise, songcraft and message-driven lyrics as Kamoze at his peak.
|Tormenta stage with emcee, dancers and diss signs|
|Mega Banton (left) and Timex Social Club's Michael Marshall|
|Apollo & Shortkut of Triple Threat|
|Lights and crowds at Red Bull Culture Clash SF|
Check out an excerpt from my article on Tokyo's Dub Store Records below, and read the full piece over at Bandcamp.
Pressure Sounds, England's foremost vintage reggae reissue label, issues their latest collection, Full Up, highlighting the career of the prolific Bunny "Striker" Lee.
These "early reggae productions" harken from a time when Jamaican music was still transitioning from genteel and soulful rocksteady sounds into faster, more insistent uptempo reggae.
The slower "one-drop" reggae beat was still a few years off, but tracks like Stranger Cole's "When I Get My Freedom" convey a roots-era conviction. In contrast, other tracks simply play on the television and movie interests of the day ("Payton Place," Death Rides A Horse.")
The Independent newspaper recently ran an excellent profile of the producer. This excerpt, chock-full of facts, give you a taste:
He created the “flying cymbal”, or “flyers”, the stripped-down crash of a high hat, first played by drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis on Johnny Clarke’s 1974 hit “None Shall Escape the Judgement”. “Flyers”, one of reggae’s most distinctive sounds, was inspired by Lee’s love of fried chicken wings. The famous one-drop snare drum stroke made famous by Bob Marley’s 1979 cry “Feel it in the one drop” was invented much earlier, claims Bunny. It exists on Bunny’s late-Sixties hit for Max Romeo, “People Get Ready”.
And some words from the the Pressure Sounds press release:
Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee ‘Mrs Pottinger used to call me “the ghost that haunts the studio”. Man would say “how come you have so many baby mothers? Where you get the time?” Because I was always in the studio.’
It is July 2006 and I am working on a recording session for Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee for the first time. Bunny has arranged for 5 different singers to come round to my tiny bedroom studio in Dalston to voice some tunes, and as he is running late we have started without him. The first singer up is struggling to nail the tune after five or six takes, when Bunny and his entourage arrive in a flurry of laughter and multiple ringtones. Immediately the level of energy and excitement in the studio is ramped up. Bunny shouts a few words of encouragement and the singer nails his performance in the next take. From then on the session moves quickly, with Striker offering gentle guidance, the occasional suggestion for lyrics, and frequent cries of support: ‘G’wan, you great!’
After 3 hours all the tunes and a version are recorded and mixed, and two weeks later the songs are out in the shops on seven inch vinyl. It has been an archetypal Bunny Lee session, quick and spontaneous, getting the best out of all involved. No one leaves with money in their pockets, but some have been given rhythm tracks for their own productions, and all are walking just a bit taller than when they came in.
Rewinding to February 1968, a slim and dapper young Jamaican touched down for the first time in an icy, snowbound Britain. Bunny Lee had achieved instant success at home with his first releases the year before, but did not have the funds to compete for airtime with the established Jamaican producers. He had now come to London to do business with Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, and immediately saw that the rewards from the English market would be key to his success in Jamaica. By building business relationships abroad, Bunny could gain a competitive edge over his rivals that made up for his lack of finances. And so began an intricate process of international networking that continues to this day.
Errol Dunkley ‘Bunny Lee come from England with that word “reggae”. Him say the record companies in England would like the beat to be a little faster.’
Full Up is available now as a digital or vinyl release.
2015 may see more of the same but perhaps it will be tempered by stronger output from higher profile Jamaican talents. Time will tell. In the meantime, here's a peak at notable new titles coming soon or ready for your listening enjoyment now.
Out now:Dub Syndicate'sHard Food, from the UK/Jamaica outfit founded by On-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood and the tragically murdered Style Scott, former drummer with the Roots Radics band. The album features heavy cameos from Bunny Wailer, U-Roy and Lee Scratch Perry. Reggaeville has a heartfelt review, aptly placing the release into the important context it deserves. For more on Style Scott's legacy, view The Guardian's respectful obit.
Also out now: Marlon AsherIllusions, the latest album from the popular Trinidadian singer, famous for his hit "Ganja Farmer." British lovers rock singer Lady Lex has teamed up with rocksteady-influenced producer Peckings for Is This Love, a genuine set of songs built from original Treasure Isle and other rocksteady riddims. Canada's excellent dub-electronica producer Dubmatix is offering a free download from his latest release Mysterium Dub. And if a quality one-drop riddim juggling is your thing, grab the new Reggae Island Riddim that features Serani, Khago, Bugle, Nature and Dexta Daps among others.
A Bit Too Shy," produced by Winta James & Protoje for In.Digg.Nation Collective/Overstand Entertainment. On a similar tip is Germany's Sara Lugo featuring Protoje on "Really Like You," feel good reggae at it's best. Lugo's Hit Me With Music album is out now.
Phil Watkis has a sincere one-drop track in "Falling For You." His voice recalls smooth '90s/00s romantic crooners like Beres Hammond, LloydBrown, Sanchez or Tony Curtis. For something a little bit rougher, yet still harkening back to classic digital dancehall, Serocee's "Rude Boy Selection" has it all: A Tenor Saw sample, rude low-end bass and gruff, baritone-timbre lyrics.
Northern California's Jah Sun has linked with top-flight Austrian band and production team House of Riddim for New Paradigm. You can hear a killer album preview on Soundcloud. The album features solidly build modern roots reggae and conscious lyrics from this rising young sing-jay.
More established but always innovative, Italian/Jamaican artist Alborosie releases Sound The System Showcase, a dubby discomix rework of his most recent album. The new version features extended mixes and dubs.
Easy Star Records had a lot of big records and success in 2014, releasing new titles from Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and Backbeat Soundsystem. Now the label has signed Brooklyn's New Kingston and will release Kingston City. This brother-led group bring an innovative new school approach to live roots reggae – a little like Morgan Heritage or Steel Pulse but definitely pushing their own aesthetic.
While he had a long and prolific comedy and movie career, Eddie Murphy is evolving into quite a legitimate reggae singer. "Oh Jah Jah" is his best song to date, a slow one-drop roots track that would sound right at home on a Midnite album. The single is out digitally January 27.
Premier UK label Pressure Sounds reissues a heavy album, Consider Yourself, by The Inturns on vinyl and digital formats. This vocal trio, produced by the great Phil Pratt, featured Viceroy's cofounder Wesley Tinglin on lead vocal. His passionate delivery was probably only bested at the time by Dennis Brown.
February 6 marks the celebration of what would have been Bob Marley's 70th birthday. The Marley Estate and Universal Music plan special releases throughout the year, commencing with Bob Marley & The WailersEasy Skanking in Boston '78 (Tuff Gong/Universal), a previously unreleased live set with accompanying Blu-Ray DVD. The show includes classics like "The Heathen" and "War" with the Barrett brothers rhythm section and I-Threes on backing vocals. Classically Wailers, at their prime.
African reggae has a long and fertile history with stars like Alpha Blondy and Lucky Dube garnering global acclaim. To this fold comes Ghana's Selasee Atiase & Fafa Family and their new release Time For Peace. My friend Garrett Baker summed it up nicely like this: "Ghana. A proud kingdom that’s flourished in the decades since independence. It’s the home of highlife, the musical style that spread all across Anglophone West Africa before taking a turn for the global. And highlife, sweetly blended with reggae and soul, is the root of Time for Peace, the new album by Selasee & Fafa Family."
Later in February Bay Area rocksteady soul crooner Rusty Zinn releases The Reggae Soul of Rusty Zinn. Zinn is a talented and experienced live musician and reggae fan to the core. The album should introduce his talents to many new ears.
Turning back the clock to Jamaica's most fertile era of roots reggae, the Yabby You's retrospectiveDread Prophecy is released on Shanachie. For those unfamiliar with Yabby You's legacy, he was a hugely influential singer and producer in the '70s who worked alongside King Tubby and produced great tracks by Big Youth, Trinity and Michael Prophet. Get to know this roots icon!
And speaking of rare roots music, a real gem drops on the 17th with the ultra-rare reissueRed by Bunny Lion (a alias of the DJPuddy Roots of Killamanjaro& King Jammy$ sound systems. Produced by the great Linval Thompson (Johnny Clarke, Rod Taylor, Mystic Eyes) the album charts a crucial moment as roots reggae was transitioning to what would become rub-a-dub style dancehall. Check a preview below.
East London band The Skints mix reggae with other urban styles on their new album for Easy Star produced by Prince Fatty (Hollie Cook, Horseman etc). Infused with a punk and hip-hop attitude but solid reggae chops, the Skints unite myriad British sound system culture elements in a vibrant live presentation. Think The Clash mixed with Dizzy Rascal. Also in March Konshens' brother Delus releases a new album Public Relations.
Coming soon: A reissue of Black Symbol's absolutely killer self-titled Black Symbol on Reggae Archive Records, a division of the ever-active Bristol Archive label. Like fellow Brits Misty In Roots or Jamaica's Twinkle Brothers this band specialized in truly "dread" heavy roots reggae. The singer has just a touch of Burning Spear's inflection, while the band fills in the spaces with superb guitar, organ and percussion-driven reggae. Each track on the album features a dub version.
PS: For more news, check outClash Magazine's latest reggae round-up featuring new releases, videos and Jamaican event reviews.
Yabby You Dread Prophecy review for Pitchfork. A new 3-disc box set is out now on Shanachie Records, the first US label to release Yabby You's music.
The new collection of Yabby You's great work during the 1970s and early 80s in Jamaica will hopefully shed more light on a cornerstone artist who has been vastly under-appreciated.
Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You
Jamaican reggae artist Yabby You’s epic new three-disc box set opens with "Deliver Me From My Enemies", a song where his vocals ache with conviction as he interprets verses from the Book of Psalms. It’s the sound of an artist who had suffered and was suffering still, physically and economically, but not spiritually. This disposition endeared him to his ghetto peers even as he faced rejection from wider society. Though Sly & Robbie, the Clash and the Wailers bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett revered his music, Yabby You remained obscure to most reggae fans.
The searing work on Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You showcases an artist who deserves recognition on par with Bob Marley, Augustus Pablo or Burning Spear and hopefully elevates his legacy from its outsider status. Sadly, during his life, Yabby You (born Vivian Jackson) was doubly shunned: For being a dreadlocked youth who lived among Rastafarians at a time when they were despised by middle class Jamaicans, and also as an ardent Christian who rejected his Rasta brethren’s veneration of Haile Selassie as God.
Jackson’s story is one of a poor and sickly man who recorded with legends like the Skatalites’ Tommy McCook and iconic dub engineer King Tubby. He also produced brilliant music by Big Youth, Wayne Wade and Michael Prophet, all while marginally employed and restricted to crutches from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis.
In a way, Jackson’s physical suffering echoed his music’s serious content. Songs like "Anti-Christ", "Warn the Nation" and "Jah Vengeance" are rife with apocalyptic references from the Book of Revelations and Jamaican proverbs, chastisements and moral teachings. Similarly, his vocal harmony group the Prophets embodied their name. They sermonized against lasciviousness ("Carnal Mind") and warned of the end days ("Babylon a Fall").
Read the rest on Pitchfork.
Ginjah "Africa Calling"Ginjah is probably the best vocalist taking inspiration from (and sounding more than a touch like) the late Garnett Silk. Others, including Singer Jah and I-Wayne, have their own takes and distinctions, but Ginjah embodies Silk's gentle vocal presence and soaring consciousness. Taken from the sunny riddim collection Planet Reggae Rock Vol 1: Holiday Riddim "Africa Calling" features an inspired ode to the Motherland's glories over production that recalls Phillip "Fat Eyes" Burrell or Shane "Juke Boxx" Brown's best riddims. The vibe is joyful, and will definitely have you singing the chorus: "Calling, calling, I can hear Mama Africa calling for me..."
Mel Dubé "Extra Side" (video) This heartfelt lovers rock cut on JohnJohn's remake of the Water Pumping" riddim shows this Canadian singer's sassy R&B-influenced approach. You can hear everything from Mary J Blige to Tessanne Chin in her delivery–its earthy and powerful. And you can't go wrong singing over a classic Channel One-era rhythm; "Water Pumping" was the pinnacle rub-a-dub dancehall reggae, and works its magic again via Dubé's confident track.
Protoje "Answer To Your Name" (Listen) Taken from Protoje's new album Ancient Future, this absolutely brilliant ska number is the versatile neo-roots artist's tribute to the great proto-reggae beat that Jamaica exported around the world. The song, through clever wordplay, describes a relationship set in early-70s Brixton, England, and the Prince Buster sample in the chorus seals the mood perfectly. Watch him perform it live on BBC 1Xtra!
Exco Levi "Country Man" (Watch) This is the title track from Exco's autobiographical new album. It serves a fitting introduction to the tour-de-force music that comes after. This track chronicles the differences between life in rural Jamaica, with abundant fruit trees and clean rivers to wash in, and city life in Kingston with its attendant perils. This album further chronicles Levi's country life via the songs "One Shirt," "One Room Shack" and "Suffering Man." Levi covers the Twinkle Brothers "Since I Throw The Comb Away"–a Rasta anthem long overdue for a tribute. The crisp production from Penthouse Studios' Donovan Germain couldn't be better. But really, Exco shows why he's won three consecutive Canadian Juno awards and quickly becoming roots reggae's most important breakout artist.
Through The Roots "Bear With Me" A hybrid roots reggae and EDM track, San Diego's Through The Roots show why they're one of the West Coast's most promising up and coming bands. The catchy track conveys a hopeful, positive spirit through times of adversity. And, actually, the band experienced just that recently when their tour bus caught fire and burned, destroying much of their music gear, laptops and more. But they are a band with a bright future, and keeping true to the "Cali Roots" vibe the "Bear With me" video (see below) was filmed in Santa Cruz, California, with great shots of the beach and coastline.
Video: Through The Roots "Bear With Me"
Simple: take an Irish production crew, a legendary Brooklyn MC and a Jamaican dancehall veteran and you get the new single from Dublin's Dirty Dubsters crew.
"Big Sound," out now on Irish Moss Records, sees the Fu-Shickens' Chip Fu paired with Shaggy-collaborator Screechy Dan on a EP with remixes from eclectic beat genius DJ Vadim and jungle heavy Marcus Visionary.
The original mix rides a fat 90s-style dancehall hip-hop lick of Studio One's crucial "Far East" riddim; the Vadim mix is a steady bubbling downtempo track and Visionary's mix is punchy, peak-time drum & bass. The whole set is a DJ and dancer's delight–a positive party rocker. Have a listen below, crack a Guinness and say "cheers" to this cool collabo.
Noisy has rolled out their latest historical music documentary: Under The Influence: 2 Tone Ska.
The presentation covers British 2Tone ska music's broad impact on the wider world, from skinheads in China and stadium-bands in Mexico to America's "Thirds Wave" ska bands and today's practitioners. Rancid's Tim Armstrong narrates the proceedings, an apt choice given his front-row seat in 2Tone's evolution as a member of influential Berkeley ska-punk band Operation Ivy.
Punk vet Don Letts, The Beat's Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger and other seminal figures reflect on the music that would bring the races together via 2Tone's emphatic, political upbeat rhythm.
Jamaica's Kabaka Pyramid and Iba Mahr embark on the "Young Lions" tour, taking their conscious revolutionary messages across the US from June 11 to July 13 2015. Backed by Kabaka's band "The Bebble Rockers," each artist heartically represents the roots revival movement with conscious lyrics and crucial music that echoes foundation reggae artists like Burning Spear, Don Carlos or Black Uhuru.
Hear a clip from Kabaka's latest single "Well Done" below, and check Iba's great "Haile" and "Great Is HIM" tracks out now.
|Gulls Rhythm Force|
Kabaka Pyramid for "Well Done," produced by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The tune is on Ghetto Youth International's On The Cornerriddim.
In the song, Kabaka calls out careless, corrupt politicians and leaders who've ruined the world for personal gain.
While the track has a serious message the rhythm track is bubbling and danceable, a potent combination from an artist who is setting a high bar for conscious, thoughtful reggae. Check the video below.
Familiar labels, including VP, Pressure Sounds and Easy Star released some of the year’s best offerings indies like Jah Youth Productions, Nowtime Sound,Hot Milk and others did a fine job at releasing strong titles.
The collection on 17 North Parade Records (VP Record's archive imprint) features tracks by The Gaylads (pictured left) Hopeton Lewis, Errol Dunklrey,The Heptones, The Paragons,The Ethiopians, The Melodians and more.
The music that followed Jamaican's speedy ska craze famously arrived one very hot summer in 1966 when audiences needed a slower-tempo music to groove to. Many point to Hopeton Lewis' "Take It Easy" as the first rocksteady song, but many can stake a claim as developing soul-drenched, American R&B-influenced genre.
The 14-track, seven-disc vinyl package includes postcards, stickers and other memorabilia in addition to the sought-after tracks. The label will also issues a broader 20-song CD collection for International Reggae Day in July. The set includes versions of songs that haven't easily been available on vinyl for years.
The label describes rocksteady as a music style that "used elements of rhythm and blues (R&B), jazz, ska as well as African and Latin American drumming, [and] was a successor of ska and precursor to reggae."
Indeed, rocksteady has had an enduring legacy, spawning new bands like Hepcat, The Aggrolites and others, movies and even club nights such as San Francisco's popular Festival 68.
Rare Breed Recordings.
WSTSO's cover of Derrick Harriott's "Monkey Ska" features Greg Lee and Alex Desert of Hepcat, while their remake of The Wailers' "Love and Affection" features LA revivalists The Expanders.
The full orchestra consists of jazz musicians who currently perform with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Luckman Jazz Orchestra, Bob Mintzer’s Big Band, and The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Freddie McGregor, Maxi Priest, Romain Virgo, Raging Fyah, Jah9, Christopher Ellis, The Green, Katchafire and Jah Cure are just a few of the top flight artists that will put reggae's Crown Prince, Dennis Emmanuel Brown, back in the spotlight.
We Remember Dennis Brown drops June 3 on VP Records and will highlight the Jamaican singer's storied career. Although he he passed away in 1999 (age 42), Brown was a major influence on several generations of artists.
Early in his career he found success covering American R&B hits; his mid-career found him equally successful in roots and especially lovers rock idioms, and toward the end he successfully scored hits in the dancehall arena.
He worked with legendary producers, from Joe Gibbs and Niney The Observer, through GussieClarke and King Jammy. In many ways Brown was second only to Bob Marley in his overall impact on reggae, hence his title as it's Crown Prince.
Through rub-a-dub anthems like "Your Love Got A Hold On Me" (covered by Sanchez), or thoughtful conscious numbers like "Wolves and Leopards" (redone by Richie Spice), you get a sense of the scope of the man's work. It was immense and impactful: He rejected violence with "I Don't Want to Be No General," and created uplifting spiritual anthems ("To The Foundation") that receive heartfelt deejay spins to this day.
Few artists receive the posthumous acclaim that Brown has, and in his case, it's more than worthy and warranted.
Bunny Wailer: Still A Blackheart Man, story on NPR.
Born Neville Livingston, Bunny is the last living original member of the legendary reggae group The Wailers, which he founded along with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley in the early 1960s.
From his signature composition "Rastaman Chant" to other Wailers classics, and a few new songs as well, Bunny Wailer delivered a powerful trip down memory lane that night, and showed that he's still very much in the reggae game. So what made him tour after all these years?
"Well, the time was calling, you know," he says. "It's a long time I haven't been out, and the fans are calling. The promoters are calling. So what do I do?"
That night in New York, he said he was enjoying the tour so far, despite a few hiccups: "I got little flu. You know you come out sometimes and the weather changes, but I'm getting over that."
This was his first U.S. tour in more than 20 years, though he did have to cancel the last few shows due to illness. The tour was billed as a 40th anniversary celebration of Blackheart Man, his first solo album, released just after he and Peter Tosh left the Wailers.
"Well, the blackheart man is something that is related to our culture, custom and practice," he explains. "There was a kind of nickname that was given to the Rastaman: the blackheart man. Parents used to tell us, 'You be careful where you go. Watch out for the blackheart man.' So we grew up with the blackheart man being that kind of a challenge. Where we are concerned, we still maintain the order of the blackheart man."
As a kid, Bunny was clearly unimpressed by warnings to stay away from Rastas.
"I've been a blackheart man since four years of age," he says. "I used to play in the gullies, and one day we were there playing, and we just saw a foot come out of a manhole — just a foot. And every man, every youth, run from the scene. And when he came out, he had a flour bag shirt. ... He looked at me and said, 'So why you don't run?' I said, 'For what?' And I became a Rastaman from that day. From then on until now, my dreadlocks touch the ground when I stand."
Listening back to early Wailers records like Burnin' and Catch a Fire, you can't miss the vocal chemistry these guys had, with Bunny taking the high tenor voice.
"Bob, Peter and myself, we are totally responsible for the Wailers sound, and what the Wailers brought to the world, and left us a legacy," he says. "The thing about the Wailers is that we are always rehearsing. Always! Until we parted."
All these years on, Bunny Wailer has no plans to retire. In 2013, he released an album called Reincarnated Souls with 50 tracks. They were all new songs, full of rebel politics and old-time Rastafarian religion, set to classic ska, rocksteady and reggae beats.
Here the rest on NPR or below via the player.
Protoje continues to push things forward with innovative lyrics and crisp production that draws on both one-drop reggae traditions and everything from contemporary R&B to electronic music. Enjoy this sample-heavy set of free downloads from one of reggae's progressive pioneers.
Roots reggae music continues to thrive and evolve from all different corners of the planet.
From Jamaica, Chronixx (pictured left) embarks on a major tour, supported by his comrades in the reggae revival movement, Jah 9, Jesse Royal, Kelissa, Mr. Williamz and Exco Levi. The Chronology Tour touches down across the entire United States from March through April.
From France comes Conquering Sound (via Irie Ites distribution) latest riddim set -- a tribute to the late Yabby You, and this one does the "Jesus Dread" justice with a stellar troupe of artists and a modern take on the "Deliver Me From My Enemies" track that Yabby originally recorded.
Hear the My Enemies Riddim - Megamix below.
1 - SPECTACULAR – Jah Rise 0.00
2 - LION D – Deh Yah 1.03
3 - DJANTA – Steppin’in 1.50
4 - LMK – Some A Dem 2.46
5 - LUTAN FYAH – Modern Day Traitors 3.36
6 - SIR JEAN – Together We Stronger 4.30
British band Gentleman's Dub Club have a packed touring schedule ahead in 2017 following their breakthrough album The Big Smoke. Now signed to US label Easy Star, GDC will release Dubtopia on April 7. The Leeds band is made up of many well-rounded musicians specializing in every step of the composition process ensuring every detail of the band’s vision is seen through from the rehearsal room down to the mixing board. Gentleman’s Dub Club is a nine-member group including Jonathan Scratchley (vocals), Tommy Evans (drums), Luke Allwood (Keys), Nick Tyson (guitar), Toby Davies (bass, synth), Niall Lavelle (percussion), Matt Roberts (trumpet), Kieren Gallagher (sax), and Harry Devenish (sound). Listen below and grab the free download from SoundCloud.
Jamaica and Slovakia link up via the Jah Ova Evil collective's new track and forthcoming album, "Forever Judah," which features up-and-coming female singjay Hempress Sativa.
Jamaica's Jah Ova Evil was originally the artist name of it's founding member J.O.E a.k.a. Alty George Nunes, and has now evolved into a collective united around strong and committed human values; their conscious music delivers messages of love, equality and solidarity. They aspire to a world where poverty no longer exists and where everyone lives in harmony with their environment.
Jah Ova Evil is comprised of the Nunes family, including twins The Gideon (Aijah Nunes) and Selah (Jahnoi Nunes).
This collective is well known very involved in the cultural life of Kingston and organizes weekly events during which young and old artists gather and share in reggae music collaborations.
Jah Ova Evil collective's music has contributed to the birth of the reggae revival trend as well as the merging with jazz, soul, hip-hop and electronic music.
This album is produced by Batelier Records, a young reggae music label based in Slovakia who were drawn to work with Jah Ova Evil collective because of their common values: "We believe in the potential of these artists who work together in order to influence our world!", "Our main effort is to support artists and producers who are struggling to bring those vibes to the people" said Renaud Devaliere, Founder of Batelier Records.
Watch young roots sensation Chronixx and his band, Zinc Fence Redemption light it up at the offices of National Public Radio with this Tiny Desk Concert -- a live set in the office of NPR Music.
"Spanish Town Rockin'"
Following on successful songs "Warning” (2015), “Ganja Train” (2016) and “This Feeling” (2017), roots reggae vocalist Mortimer is back with his latest track produced by Winta James (producer of Protoje and many successful riddims).
"Careful" is a brooding, dubby track with cautionary lyrics that recall Jamaica's deep roots traditions (Johnny Clarke, Cultural Roots, Viceroys, Wailing Souls etc.). Check the video below and album soon come!