REGGAE NEWS - OCTOBER 2007
Heartbeat Records Launches The Heartbeat Reggae Podcast
Posted by October 31 2007 at 18:51
Category : Labels
Heartbeat Records has launched a new web site and podcast called the Heartbeat Reggae Podcast. The web site, HeartbeatReggaePodcast.com, is the official home for the podcast and is the platform on which new episodes are announced. You can listen and download each new program, as well as dig through the archives of past episodes. The Heartbeat Reggae Podcast delivers some of the finest Jamaican music ever recorded, and keeps you updated on Heartbeat's activities. The podcast is hosted by Heartbeat's own Joshua B, who has 10 years of radio experience in Boston, Massachusetts.
We encourage you to subscribe to the podcast so that you can be made aware of each new episode. Subscription options are available through a Subscribe link at the site. Subscription options include a variety of web-based podcatchers, iTunes, and e-mail delivery. We look forward to your comments about each show.
Since our launch in 1981, Heartbeat Records has become a benchmark of quality in reggae, widely respected for releasing the best in Jamaican popular music. Heartbeat's catalog is the nearest to a definitive canon of Jamaican popular music, one that is unmatched in its depth and scope.
source : heartbeatreggae.com
Palm Pictures Acquires Bob Marley Documentary
Posted by October 28 2007 at 20:32
Category : Others
Palm Pictures, the independent film company owned by Chris Blackwell has acquired the rights to the Danny Glover produced, Bob Marley documentary entitled “Africa Unite".
The film captures the inaugural trip of the Marley Clan to Ethiopia, a country that mesmerized the late reggae legend. It contains footage of the 2005 “Africa Unite” concert attended by over 300,000 people from all over the world and features rare footage of live performances by Bob Marley, and his descendants in tribute.
Danny Glover, the films executive producer noted that proceeds from the film receipts will be donated to UNICEF in an effort to provide poor relief to thousands of displaced Africans within Ethiopia, Dafur and the rest of Africa.
“Africa Unite” will feature appearances by Members of the Marley Clan, acclaimed actor and humanitarian Danny Glover and Maryam Selassie the granddaughter of His Imperial Masjesty, King Haile Selassie I .
The Film will hit select theatres this Christmas and the DVD will be released in early 2008.
ReggaeWire News Network
Not at the control: Mikey Dread has brain tumour
Posted by October 28 2007 at 08:56
Category : Artists
Michael 'Mikey Dread' Campbell has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, a release from his Miami-based company Dread At The Controls Inc said, yesterday.
"The bad news is that Mikey Dread has been diagnosed with brain tumour. He is in the care of the best doctors at Duke University in North Carolina and is undergoing chemotherapy."
The release apparently came as a response to numerous queries and speculations concerning the health of the legendary radio jock who was dubbed, "The Dread at the Control Tower". Hence the relase stated, "For months now, many of you have made inquiries about Mikey Dread. Mikey believes that it is important that his fans, friends and supporters know about his current health condition and the treatment he is currently undergoing, and what has happened to him since July, 2007. The good news is that. Mikey's son was born healthy and strong on October 12, 2007."
One of Jamaica's most innovative and original radio personalities, Mikey Dread, last year celebrated two special milestones - his 30th anniversary as "The Dread at the Control" - and his father Simon Campbell's 100th birthday.
Thirty one years ago, Mikey Dread revolutionised night time radio when he redefined what was then known as the graveyard slot (between midnight and 4:30 am) by turning it into a primetime listening slot on the now defunct JBC Radio Station.
After his radio stint, he ventured into recording with one of his earliest hits, Weatherman Skanking in combination with Ray I, for producer Carlton Patterson for whom he also recorded his best known song, Barber Saloon, after which he migrated to England with more popular recordings to come like Love the Dread.
For his 30th anniversary celebration also, Mikey Dread who for sometime now has been touring the world performing at universities and festivals with his own Dread at the Control Band, recorded CD featuring his radio shows back then as well as box set of some of the tunes he has made over the years.
source : jamaicaobserver.com
30-year gospel roots dug up
Posted by October 28 2007 at 08:53
Category : Album Releases
Ernie Smith has sung of sombre Tears on My Pillow and he has sung of the delightful Pitta Patta of raindrops coming down. He has rejoiced that Life is Just For Living and he has taken his stance against the fight for Power and the Glory.
What many may not know, though, is that over 30 years ago he sang an entire album for the Lord . And, soon enough, some of the tracks from the 1975 I'll Sing for Jesus will be re-released, along with some new songs in the same spiritual vein.
"I am working on a gospel project that will include some new songs and some songs I did on an album I'll Sing for Jesus in 1975," Smith told The Sunday Gleaner.
"We are in the studio with Fab Five, doing some of the new songs," he said.
No release date has been set, though, as Smith says "we're just going to take our time and do it".
What has been released, though, is his Jamaican take on Brook Benton's Rainy Night in Georgia, which Ernie Smith has ammended to become Deadly Nights in Kingston. Smith told The Sunday Gleaner that it is a song he performed in its original format for may years and it was a melody he loved.
As for the tale his version tells, of a man at a bus depot waiting to get home, the police leaving and heavy action in the park after that, Smith says it is "purely fiction".
source : jamaica-gleaner.com
Ernie Smith imagines a 'Duppy Gunman'
Posted by October 28 2007 at 08:50
Category : Artists
If ever there was a case of a songwriter starting a song with the opposite of the real life situation which inspired it, it is Ernie Smith and Duppy Gunman.
Written one Saturday night in 1974, recorded the following Monday at Federal Studios, released that same mid-week and soaring to the top of the charts ("in those days everything I did went to number one except Power and The Glory. Michael banned that," Smith told The Sunday Gleaner), Duppy Gunman tells the tale of a romantic liaison that could have been. It opens:
I an I man forward
Pon a different scene
I an I man collie weed
I an I man queen
Everything was irie
Getting in the groove
We jus' a come dung to movement
When someone sey don't move
However, while there was a 'queen', there was no getting down to movements.
"I had just played a gig. In those days I had a friend who used to help me lift the equipment. Coming home from the gig I got a girl to go home with. I dropped him home. Me and the girl going on a liaison. I got the feeling like my friend is sitting there," Smith said.
The friend had been in the back of the VW van he was driving.
"I said 'It feels like Robbie is still sitting there. I said 'It must be a duppy'. Then I thought about the violence and I said 'or a gunman'. I said 'It is a song'," a laughing Ernie Smith told The Sunday Gleaner.
Hence the chorus:
It mus be a duppy or a gunman
I man no fin' out yet
I an I did so frighten
All de daughter name I feget
He may or may not have forgotten the 'daughter's' name by now, but he did forget whatever intentions were at hand before the song came. "I never bothered to go home with the girl. I went to my real home and wrote the song. She was very upset," he said.
There is some similarity to that real life anger in the fictional musical tale, as Smith sings "The nex' day de daughter ask me, what happen to yu las' night, jus' when yu ready fi work de show, yu ketch stage fright".
And one line that was definitely taken from something that really happened was when Smith sings "One ting me know fe certain, spread it round the town, it no mek no no sense yu run before yu foot touch the ground".
"There was a guy who described sitting in his living room and watching a thief in his pear tree. All he said was 'hi sah' and the man started running in mid-air. When the man hit the ground his feet were like a car burning rubber. That is where that line came from," Smith said. He was told that story a couple weeks before the song was written.
Sometimes Smith changes the name of the speedster recorded as the point of reference for fleetness of foot in 1974 ("Quarrie was a bway to I man las' night, him coulden falla me") to Asafa Powell and he says no other outstanding Jamaican sprinters have been used in between. And on occasion he adjusts the chorus and sings "I an I did so frighten all me underwear I feget". "Sometimes I sing it like that if there are not too many children around," he said.
The distinctive trombone featured on Duppy Gunman is the work of Trinidadian Jerome Francique and the Now Generation Band supplied the music.
Smith laughs as he says he hopes non-Jamaicans who jam to the song understand the lyrics and adds that "A lot of non-Jamaicans who are into reggae understand the song".
And a song that was "an instant hit" has been a lasting one as well. "These days when I do that song anywhere I ask the audience to join in and sing the chorus. They know every word," Smith said.
source : jamaica-gleaner.com
Rolling Steady on blue vinyl
Posted by October 26 2007 at 17:28
Category : Album Releases
Good news for all you vinyl fans out there. Motion Records are manufacturing a limited run of their new Skatalites release "Rolling Steady - The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions" on blue vinyl.
It should be ready in a week or two. If this is successful Motion Records will consider a run of King Tubby Meets Jacob Miller on vinyl as well.
Meanwhile all the songs are also available on iTunes (and all the other digital platforms) as downloads.
You can also read the review of this great album in our review section
France is reggae headquarters, says Max Romeo (dancehall not a factor there, adds veteran singer)
Posted by October 26 2007 at 16:40
Category : Artists
Veteran Jamaican singer Max Romeo says the centre of reggae has shifted from Jamaica to France, and has made a distinction between reggae and dancehall which, he says, has no traction among the French.
"Europe is where reggae is happening, roots reggae, my type of music," Romeo told Splash in an interview this week. "France is the headquarters for reggae, real reggae music right now. France controls reggae, not Jamaica; Jamaica controls dancehall, not reggae, and a lot of people don't understand the difference."
When asked what level of prominence dancehall enjoys in France, he flatly replied, "None."
"That type of music don't happen there. I can tell you that," he added. "You'll find sounds play it a little here and there because people that follow reggae music to the ultimate will hear of the dancehall acts, but the pulling power, they don't have in them place."
Romeo in the early 1970s shifted his lyrical focus from sexually suggestive songs like Wet Dream, which was banned in 1968, to more mature Rastafari-influenced themes, such as Let The Power Fall On I, which the People's National Party adopted as their election anthem for the 1972 polls; Macabee Version; Chase The Devil; Three Blind Mice; and No Joshua No.
The 60-year-old, whose real name is Max Smith, was the first Jamaican artiste to introduce Britain to the concept of lewd reggae with Wet Dream which, despite a radio ban, reached number 10 on the UK charts.
His music, however, is not known among the younger generation in Jamaica, and during the interview, he bemoaned the current trend in the local music industry.
"Right now, with the situation in Jamaican music, it seems like the industry has disappeared, so I have to go outta road go look my own. So I basically deal with Europe right now," he told Splash.
"Jamaica is for Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Mavado, Vybz Kartel. These artistes control the Jamaican market. Jamaica is a college. I graduated. I'm in university now, so I'm in the University of Europe and the United States," he said.
"Right now, I'm in the business for 42 years. I have 41 albums. Jamaica only knows two, Let The Power Fall On I and War Inna Babylon. That's the only two albums Jamaica knows. The whole of Europe is my domain. France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain. I'm just back from Greece. I go to Europe about nine, 10 times for the year. In Europe, I headline my shows, I close most of the big festivals, even Montreux Jazz show I close three years ago. I'm very big in Europe. I carry a huge clout in Europe as a Jamaican reggae artiste. That's the way it is."
Romeo also said that he records a new album every year and claimed that sales of War Inna Babylon were still going well. He also said that I Chase The Devil was the most sampled reggae record in the history of reggae music.
"Nobody talks about that," he said. "It was done by Jay-Z on his last album; it's the theme song on the play station Grand Theft Auto, and Prodigy did a version of it."
He also claimed that a group in South Africa and another in Germany did versions of the song, adding, "It's done all over the world, it's the most sampled reggae record, but in Jamaica I don't get any credit for it because Jamaican people don't know. It's only the sound systems who came to me for specials realise the song. Jamaicans below the age of 25 don't know roots music."
However, Romeo, who also gained recognition with the release of Valley Of Jehoshaphat, Jordan River, Pray For Me, and King of Kings (in combination with Dennis Alcapone), believes there is hope for a resurgence of roots music locally.
"Lately, I'm hearing some fine roots music," he said. "Tarrus Riley is a fine young artiste who has come on the scene trying to accentuate some positive music, as well as a few other young artistes who have some nice tunes that will turn things around.
"But they will have to turn it around with some vocals that mean something, instead of bludgeoning the women and elevating violence and things like that. We need to turn it around, and I'm working hard on that. I'm not producing any gun thing. it's basically praising Rastafari and making the masses aware of social ills that are happening around them.
Trying to get the brain in tune to reality, because the bling and fantasy are leading us into the path of death and destruction."
Romeo, who last performed in Jamaica at Rebel Salute three years ago, has just completed building his studio in Palm, Treadways, St Catherine and has, for the past five years, been operating his own record label - Charmmax Records.
One of his first major projects is an album titled The Best Of Max Romeo And Friends on which he is inviting participation from other Jamaican music legends like John Holt, Ken Boothe and Horace Andy.
"The idea is like I would do War Inna Babylon, they and I would sing alternate verses in the song. I am just completing the rhythms and I've gotten commitments from a few artistes, including Eric Donaldson, so France is waiting on it," he quipped.
Romeo also said that on December 1 he'll be mounting a stage show featuring the artistes he is grooming, including a trio called My Kids, comprising his children, as well as acts Round Head, Ghost, Quench Aid and Ruffi-Ann. The show will be held at Satta HQ, the Palm Community Centre in Treadways named for his sound system Satta Vibes.
He is also scheduled to begin a tour of Brazil on November 7.
source : jamaicaobserver.com
Pressure Sounds to release 2 new 45s
Posted by October 26 2007 at 11:57
Category : Single Releases
There will be 2 new 45s on Pressure Sounds on November the 19th details are below.
Catalogue number; PSS018
Release date; 12/11/07
Title; Mother Country & Version
Artist; Little Madness/Native
Label; Pressure Sounds
Taken from the album ‘Life Goes in Circles’ this is a superb vintage roots 45 that was produced by ‘Native’ Wayne Jobson. A super rare 45 when it was first pressed and never been re-pressed since. It was originally pressed on the Arab label and is much sought after. A deep roots tune with a classy dub on the flip side.
Catalogue number; PSS019
Release Date; 12/11/07
Title; Jah Creation
Label; Pressure Sounds
The second in the series of our super 45 releases. Another thumping tune from Channel One studio. A deep deep roots tune and in much demand in that particular market. Jah Shaka has been playing this over the years and it’s built up a strong reputation as a sound tune. This 45 has been requested since we released the Kunta Kinte 45 and is a real peoples choice. A unique Channel One custom sleeve and extra heavy vinyl. A winner!!
New Pressure Sounds website
Posted by October 25 2007 at 20:48
Category : Labels
Pressure Sounds has launched a new website lately with audio samples, new design and lots more. Definitely worth checking it!
Father, son music bound
Posted by October 21 2007 at 21:22
Category : Others
Often, the phrase "you just like yuh father" has a negative connotation. However, in the case of the father- and-son duo of Errol and Shane Brown, the usage would not be one of ridicule but admiration.
Both are avid music practitioners. Errol Brown has a more keen interest in engineering, though he also produces. It is the other way around for Shane, who started out as an engineer but now seems to be paying more attention to producing. Both men have worked with some of the biggest entertainers in Jamaica. The senior Brown has worked with Bob Marley, Marcia Griffiths Ellis, Judy Mowatt, John Holt and a few more. Along with Busy Signal, Shane has engineered and produced for Chuck Fendah, Morgan Heritage, Sizzla, Capleton, Richie Spice, Macka Diamond, Lady Saw and more.
Errol started out engineering around 1964 when his uncle, deceased record producer, Arthur 'Duke' Reid, physically directed him to get into it. He was on a lunch break while attending Kingston Technical High when his uncle came and took him to the studio. Errol worked with Duke's record company, Treasure Isle, before moving on to Tuff Gong.
"He came to the school and said I should be doing this so he dragged me into it. I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I found it interesting," Errol said.
Ever since, he has been involved in the business. That caught his son's interest. After growing up around some of the biggest names in music and seeing his father at work, Shane decided he also wanted to become an engineer. It was not an idea that was readily embraced by his father, Shane recalls. Errol said he did not want to limit his son and a university education would give him more possibilities.
"My father wouldn't let me. He said I should study my education. I thought he would be the first one to say 'come'," Shane said.
He completed his studies at Excelsior Community College and then went on to the University of the West Indies where he began pursuing management studies. His heart was not on a university education though; he wanted to do music. With his unrelenting desire to be like his father, Errol Brown finally decided to take the youngster under his wings.
Today, Shane owns his own production company, Juke Boxx Productions, and has added artiste manager to his job description,he manages Busy Signal.
"I am very proud of him. He is very brilliant. He is really fast. I don't know where gets those ears, but he has sharp ears," Errol said.
Shane also has high praises for man he describes as one who is keeping up with the times.
"He is the humblest human being I have ever met and he is young at heart. He knows how to fit in," Shane said.
With the bond they share and the generation difference, they both learn from each other. Errol, for example, said he is older and is not as familiar with newer technology. His son helps him in this regard. Likewise, Shane has learned almost everything he knows from his father. One thing his father has planted in his head is the technique of recording live drums.
"That's is one of the hardest things in the business. I grew up on live drums and Shane does it well," Errol said.
While others have criticised the digitalisation of music, Errol said it is exactly what was needed.
"It is the best thing that could happen. I am getting the sound I want. Tapes and ProTools are like night and day. Tapes just give you noise and not what you put on it," Errol said.
While Shane learned from his father, working with the big artistes meant touring regularly so, at times, Errol was away for up to six months at a stretch. Errol said he relies heavily on his children's mother to provide support. Shane understood and coped with it. He also said he was never star struck, since he grew up around the stars.
There is something great about Jamaican music which has overwhelmed the son, who is just like his father. Shane summed up the reason for the passion he and his father have for what they do. It is that feeling "when you have a vision of something and see it come to life - dream come true".
source : jamaica-gleaner.com