REGGAE NEWS - DECEMBER 2007
The Boys of Birmingham - Steel Pulse motors on in the face of reggae adversity
Posted by December 27 2007 at 12:19
Category : Artists
It's easy to assume that reggae music is a product of Jamaica alone. The island has produced all of the genre's biggest names for the past 40 years, and it's still ground zero when it comes to discovering what's hot. Reggae music was undoubtedly born in Jamaica, but if you branch out across the Atlantic, you'll see that for a considerable amount of time during the late '70s and '80s, England was an underappreciated mecca for reggae music as well.
Bands from Brixton, Birmingham, and London put their own spin on reggae and kept the culture moving forward all the way until dancehall surfaced in the late '90s. But before that, a hard-driving subgenre emerged; acts like Aswad, Black Roots, Apache Indian, and UB40 charted internationally and were able to steer reggae culture in a different direction.
Although most of those bands have come and gone, one group out of Birmingham is still around and making roots music for anyone who still wants to listen. The name Steel Pulse doesn't often invoke the same rebellious thump that it used to, but the band is still touring, still making new music, and band members still consider themselves relics from a time when roots music was king. Steel Pulse was once a household name within reggae music, and it's cranked out a bunch of hits over the years. Tracks like "Handsworth Revolution," "Sound System," and "Babylon Makes the Rules" were some of the toughest and, unfortunately, most slept-on tracks in reggae. Though sometimes overlooked, songs like those helped take the band beyond the confines of England and into the greater reggae world as we know it.
But when you talk with the band's affable longtime frontman, David Hinds, he suggests that Steel Pulse was one of the most misunderstood bands of its era as well. Blacks didn't always get it, Jamaicans on the island were quick to ignore it, and, when the group started in 1975, it had to align itself with an unlikely group of musicians just to get started.
"When we first started out, we jumped on the punk-rock band circuit because most blacks didn't understand us," Hinds says during a recent phone interview. "At the time, punk rockers were accepting anything that the system wasn't accepting. Since reggae wasn't accepted, they'd let us open up for other bands and build an alliance."
It probably sounds like a strange union, but counterculture Brits with Mohawks and Rastafarians had more in common than many would at first assume. Both were revered as outlaws, and without trying to be stylish, both punks and Yardies (British slang for Jamaicans) had their hairstyles and dress codes, making for an interesting mixture in the middle of a dance floor. In the band's early days, newspapers routinely called Steel Pulse "Jah Punk" because of its popularity with the Sex Pistol-loving punk rockers of the day. That doesn't mean the two worlds always got along.
"There were issues with racism," Hinds says. "The spitting and throwing beer mugs at us all happened... no doubt about it, but once they got the message that we weren't about that, the audiences adjusted."
Many of the band's early songs do have a punk edge to them, like "Ku Klux Klan," a song that called out hate groups like the KKK in America but those in England as well. In fact, in their early days, they were known just as much for their wild hairstyles as their controversial lyrics. The band members all had huge, aerodynamic dreadlocks that seemed to defy gravity, and when they got on stage, they shouted lyrics that could have given the queen a heart attack.
Over the years, Hinds has always been quick to pen songs about racism and oppression, the dominant issues in his working-class Jamaican immigrant neighborhood. Whereas Jamaican reggae bands on the island were all writing songs praising Jah, Steel Pulse didn't spend a lot of time praising anything, instead singing lyrics that addressed societal ills.
"I think it's because we come from an urban society," Hinds says. "We made the issue stick. It's different, because Jamaicans don't always talk about racism. It's more classism there... more poverty and suffering and not paying the rent. But we're from England. And it's about racism and chattel slavery and the oppression we've been dealing with for 400 years."
The band's heyday has past, Hinds concedes, but he doesn't think there's any lack of moxie on the band's part that would explain its decline in popularity. Rather, he points the finger at dancehall, the subgenre that made roots-rock reggae seem less interesting.
"A lot of people didn't give us a chance after dancehall came out," Hinds says matter-of-factly. "I'd say that dancehall killed all our popularity, but that's been true of a lot of reggae bands that are conscious and spiritual and political."
When Steel Pulse tours nowadays, it tries to keep the rocker vibe alive, but it also mixes in new songs. It's hard to say how much longer the band will be around, though. After 32 years, it's proven all it can, and Hinds is bold enough to give the group five years tops before calling it quits.
"We don't want guys walking around the stage with walking sticks," he says laughing. "Rock groups can get away with that, but we don't want to be on the oldies night."
In England, hip-hop and garage have become the popular forms of music, and Hinds doesn't think the band has much vitality left in its own country.
"People aren't listening to reggae that much in England," he says. "It's all garage music. Dizzee Rascal and whatnot. I understand things change, and to be honest, I'm happy to see any black act making a dent in this music industry, because it was hell for us. Twenty-five or 30 years ago, it was rough."
source : browardpalmbeach.com
Two decades later, The Wailing Souls reunite
Posted by December 25 2007 at 23:50
Category : Artists
As the year draws to a close, 2007 will be remembered as the year of reunification for two of reggae's most enduring groups, The Congos and the Wailing Souls, which takes the spotlight this week.
Like The Congos, The Wailing Souls had been separated for more than two decades, and celebrated their reunification with a rave performance at the famous Hollywood Bowl in California on August 12, followed by a memorable appearance at The Club Revolution in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the following week.
The original members, Winston 'Pipe' Matthew (lead vocalist), Lloyd 'Bread' McDonald, and Rudolph 'Garth' Dennis, along with Devon 'Ziggy Soul' Beckford (who had a previous stint with the group), also made a special visit to the Inner Circle's Circle House Studio, to record the single for an upcoming Shanachie Records' reggae tribute CD by the British-based reggae/pop group the Police, themselves recently reunited.
The Wailing Souls continued their reunion celebration at the annual Monterey Bay Reggae Festival for which they were headliners on what was in a way a kind of dress rehearsal ahead of an extensive tour of North America and Europe before the release of their new album.
"It's a lasting reunion, once we get back together all that happened before is behind us," affirmed Bread who along with two other founding members were still in high school in the late 1960s when they formed the Renegades, which later evolved into the Wailing Souls. The group recorded its first song Gold Digger around 1971 for producer Lloyd Matador. That song was actually banned.
Bread described the reunited Wailing Souls as "The Channel One line-up basically, with myself, Buddy, Garth, Pipe. Right now we have three of the four (original members) because Buddy didn't make it, so Devon Beckford who sang with us from 1985 to 1989 is with us. We have Ziggy, who was a member after Garth left the group; he joined in 1985 and we worked together until 1989 when Pipe and I migrated to America."
He explained how at one stage the group was called Pipe and the Pipers, as there was a level of confusion between The Wailing Souls and The Wailin' Wailers. It was Bob Marley, whose Tuff Gong label they were recording for at the time, who suggested the name change.
"But people kept asking for The Wailing Souls, so we eventually went back to the original name. In terms of the way forward, we just did this big show at the Hollywood Bowl, The Reunion Kick Off, along with Sly and Robbie and the Burning Spear. There is a tribute album being made by Shanachie Records to the Police (out of England) and a lot of different artistes are on it.
Ourselves, Gregory, Horace Andy, Inner Circle, Toots, among some other people. As I'm speaking to you, we're recording our song - One World - originally done by the Police."
The group, now based in Los Angeles, has recorded music of lasting quality such as Things And Time, Firehouse Rock, Shark Attack, Back Biter, Bredda Gravalicious before its soulful wailing was put on pause 23 years ago.
In the early 1980s, the quartet worked with a number of prominent producers, including the Riddim Twins Sly and Robbie, for whose Taxi label they recorded Old Broom; on the late Henry 'Junjo' Lawes' Volcano label they recorded Firehouse Rock, and in 1988-89 they put out an album for Lloyd 'King Jammys' James called Stormy Weather.
It was around this time the group was reduced to two members, Pipe and Bread, with the return of Garth Dennis to Black Uhuru. In the 90s, Pipe and Bread recorded two Grammy-nominated albums. The Wailing Souls has earned three Grammy Nominations over the years, All Over the World in 1991, Psychedelic Souls in 1998, and Equality in 2001.
The Wailing Souls, who also did a cover of John Holt's Tide Is High, has been part of many movie soundtrack appearances such as Disney's Cool Runnings and have performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC and Late Late Night with Craig Kilbourn on CBS.
source : jamaicaobserver.com
A 'Black well' of J'can music - Island Outpost boss looks back at early years
Posted by December 09 2007 at 14:42
Category : Others
Reggae's emergence on the world stage came from his blueprint and nothing can erase the fact that the first three pop/rhythm and blues records produced in Jamaica were born in his camp.
In fact, it would be impossible to pay Island Outpost's Chris Blackwell royalties for helping to establish the global appeal that complements reggae's name.
Since his hands turned the music into gold, freedom fighters in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), South Africa and Namibia have adopted the lyrics as a means of empowerment, yet Blackwell, a multimillionaire who has touched the lives of so many, is still as humble as the days he scouted talents at what he terms "music shows".
Reminiscing on those days, Blackwell told The Sunday Gleaner that then the artistes with noticeable potential were promoted by a frustrated singer named Horace Forbes.
"There was a singer on one of the shows one evening who sang like Brook Benton. His name was Wilfred Edwards. I decided I definitely wanted to record him if he wrote his own songs," Blackwell said.
The rest is history
Around the same time, Blackwell had made his production debut with Laurel Aitken, whose double-sided single Boogie in My Bones/ Little Sheila went to number one on the charts.
"My second record was by Owen Gray, Please Let Me Go, and that went to number two in the charts," Blackwell said.
Of course success was in his veins, equipping him with the ammunition to produce song number three by Wilfred Edwards, tagged Your Eyes Are Dreaming, which also went to the top of the charts.
The year was 1960
Chris Blackwell's career has been defined by a unique ability to discover exceptional talent and market it to the world. His philosophy, from discovering a new Island Outpost property to the signing of a new hit music act or film project, has never wavered.
It is a philosophy which made Island Records the leading independent music label on the world stage and kept it there for 40 years.
Today, he still believes the early artistes were his only influence on Jamaican music, as he acknowledges the contribution of legends such as Sir Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, King Edwards, Prince Buster and Leslie Kong, who started recording local artistes, while the music took off both here and in England.
His contribution, he said, was "in 1962 I went to England and started Island Records. I mainly released the records made by the above-named sound system guys, other than Prince Buster. I then promoted these records in England personally, taking them around to all the stores that catered to the Jamaican population there. I also got key shops in the centre of London to carry the music and it started to catch with the English kids".
The golden age
He feels that Jamaican music has progressed since the beginning, but in his opinion it will be hard to recreate the magic of the golden age of Jamaican tunes, which he names as 1962 and 1982.
During that era, Blackwell's commitment, dedication and unique style of doing business gave recognition to the music, which has since become a worldwide anthem.
He has no regrets and would not do it differently if he had to do it over again.
To date his biggest achievement as a producer was to help to plot a course for the King of Reggae, Robert Nesta Marley to be able to reach a mass audience.
It is no surprise that his mantra is to aim to do things well.
His reward has been spine-tingling, as he made history years ago when he became the only non-musician to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Outside of music, Blackwell says he is most keen now on promoting 'Residential Tourism' in Jamaica, encouraging visitors to put down roots in this incredible country.
With the structural shift in the industry towards residential resort development, Island Outpost is uniquely positioned to create exclusive international communities at its spectacular locations, with a focus on health and fitness underpinned by cutting edge technology and comprehensive management/rental programme.
The roll-out of this new stage of the Island Outpost evolution is at Goldeneye, the birthplace of the James Bond character in Ian Fleming's novels and the heartbeat of jetset Jamaica, with the development of villas, cottages, suites and a saltwater spa set on a private island around a lagoon, scheduled for screening in winter '007, of course.
Born in England, Chris Blackwell spent his early childhood days at Terra Nova in St. Andrew which was his family home and on a plantation in St. Mary where they farmed banana and coconuts.
And for those who may think of him as an outsider who has exploited the music, this is his response.
"I don't think I am an outsider in Jamaica more than I am anywhere else. I have always felt at home in Jamaica and with Jamaican people as I grew up here from I was six months old," Blackwell said.
"As for exploiting Jamaican music! Yes, I think I have done my best to do so. As you can see from above, I was around from the beginning of ska and produced or represented a great deal of the recordings made in the early '60s. Exploitation is only negative if the business relationship is unfair at the time. I don't believe that to be the case in my dealings with the artistes or producers with whom I worked."
The maestro paid tribute to Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert, who he said is really the artiste that gave rocksteady its name, and Jimmy Cliff who he said was hugely important in establishing the music internationally.
source : jamaica-gleaner.com
Music the 'bass' of reggae families
Posted by December 09 2007 at 14:37
Category : Artists
'A wise son maketh a glad father' holds true in the world of music, where hit-making children of reggae stars are stepping into the limelight, often to the pleasure of their musical families.
Musical families are nothing new to the Jamaican music scene, what with legacies like the Brownes, the Marleys and the Morgans (Morgan Heritage), and the tradition carries on with father and son duos Jimmy and Tarrus Riley, as well as Pinchers and Junior Pinchers. Queen Ifrica and Derrick Morgan are a daughter and father combination, and there is Freddie McGregor and his three children, Shema, Chino and Stephen McGregor.
Talent in the veins
Talent runs rapid in the veins of these musicians and performers, who have passed on their legacies to the next generation as their children strive to create their own path.
Having grown up around music for years, these children were quick to develop a love for the whole process of creating a beat, producing a song and releasing it to the world. But while this gives the child the tools to experiment with, it is often up to them to make their own waves. For the McGregors, growing up with their own studio was an advantage in inspiring their love.
For reggae singer Tarrus Riley, coming from a musical background was never a guarantee of becoming a singer. It was an inborn love, as well as encouragement from his mother, that pushed him through to the top. Queen Ifrica, who did not grow up with her father Derrick Morgan, cites her love for music as simply natural, passed down in her blood.
Also passed down from father to son/daughter is a wealth of experience, as well as a natural hype. According to Ifrica, she has inherited a fiery passion, talent and experience from her father, which she describes as a plus.
"People love him so much. I've never seen him lose interest in music. He's always going to shows," she said.
Having a famous father has both positives and negatives. On the negative side, having a parent in the business creates high expectations, and there are those who believe the child has a natural advantage since their parent has made it.
Tarrus Riley comments that "A lot of people feel you get an easy treatment. Yes, it's good in familiarity and people will want to see what you have to offer, but it's up to you to make your product better."
When that product is good, however, it can often spark a renewed interest in the career of the parent. According to a story published in The Gleaner entitled 'Son's success boosts Jimmy Riley', singer Jimmy Riley claims that the popularity of his son Tarrus has renewed interest in his career.
"Every time dem sey Tarrus dem sey is Jimmy Riley son an that helps to draw mi back out, because Tarrus is the man of the moment and so when people hear that he is my son they play my music to reintroduce themselves with me and my music. Is a blessing, man," Jimmy Riley said then.
He added: "I feel very good, because if you are a dentist and your son comes to be very good or better, it's a joy. It's like it's an inborn thing. I never in my wildest dream anticipated this. He (Tarruswas all over with me in studios and in that environment, so it became a natural step for him."
Proud of daughter
While interest in Ifrica has not boosted the career of Derrick Morgan, who continues to perform all across the world, Morgan is always proud of his daughter's accomplishments.
He said "Anywhere I go I'm so happy yo hear about her. I'm feeling so good. Morgan Heritage has been doing well and now I have one of my kids come out and have my name ringing same way. Any time I hear 'bout her I have to give her a call and tell her to keep it up."
While the Marleys have not had the live and direct influence of their father, a number of them continue to praise his name and pursue entertainment as their careers. Carrying on the torch, the Marley children are hosts to many Marley concerts for their father, chairpersons of Ghetto Youth International and multiple Grammy award winners.
Producer turned solo artiste Stephen Marley has seen the fruit of being in a musical family, having been involved in the business for 28 years, from a child until adulthood. He once told The Gleaner, "I don't want to be just another artiste. I want to make a statement, and to continue this legacy, this musical legacy, wid my family. Just like my brothers ... I aspire to be a reckoning force. When yuh hear my name yuh know quality comes with dat: good music, good message, good vibe."
A legacy can be a heavy weight to carry, yet many children of entertainers who grew up in and around a studio are making their parents happy that they bear their names.
source : jamaica-gleaner.com
Ranking Toyan invites Ja to 'Spar Wid Me'
Posted by December 09 2007 at 14:33
Category : Artists
When Rankin Toyan issued the invitation to "spar wid me mek me show yu Barry G" in the lyrics he first delivered live on Volcano sound system and recorded soon after he was, among other things, waxing warm to a woman.
And it seemed that the opportunity to see Barrington 'Barry G' Gordon in the flesh was the chance for matters of another kind of flesh, as Toyan predicted "ship ova de ocean an' boat ova de sea, one day gal yu haffi bubble wid me".
In those early 1980s days of two radio stations, RJR and JBC, seeing Barry G was not a small matter. He was after all, the top jock on radio. He was so dominant in his afternoon slot, Gordon told The Sunday Gleaner, that "at the time RJR was the number one station and JBC was number two. But when I went on in the afternoon JBC was number one".
He also held another distinction. Gordon said, "At the time I was the only radio disc jock who worked in radio and also had a disco. Those times it was Barry G, the guy on the radio, clashing with the guys on the sound. Admittedly, they were ahead of me, because they had a lot of specials and I was playing what was on the radio."
But before a song even made it to the stage of being cut as a special for a particular sound system, it went through the informal audition process of being performed live. "The response to the music was a guide to what should be recorded," Barry G said.
So when Spar Wid Me was first done live by Ranking Toyan, Barry G was a guest on Henry 'Junjo' Lawes' Volcano sound system. "Toyan was paying tribute to me. He was meeting this guy who he heard on the radio," Gordon said.
Those broadcast roots showed in the lyrics, as Toyan deejayed "come dung me selector nice up radio station, day nah light till a morning".
Those were the days when sound system owners were almost automatically record producers, the systems carrying a crew of live deejays. So it was with Lawes and Volcano, King Jammys and Black Scorpio, among others.
And when Lawes cut Spar Wid Me, he told Gordon the reason for the recording. Barry G said Lawes told him, "Bway Barry G, yu no know whey yu a do fi de music. We love you."
"He did not know the commercial value (of Spar Wid Me), He did it out of respect," Gordon said.
That respect came in large part from the sound system/radio connection, as "artistes were impressing me in live performance. Such performances would encourage me to go back on the radio and talk about them. People got curious and the producer would push it".
So when Spar Wid Me was recorded it was handed over to Gordon as a special for him. It was not, as it turned out, the only copy. Not by thousands. "I thought the record was going to be given to me as a special, not knowing that Sonic Sounds latched on to the vibes and the record was going out in the thousands," Gordon said.
"When Toyan made it, I got it on dub plate. They produced it on 45 without me knowing. I had it playing on Wha Dat, but it was cut and released commercially," Gordon said.
"In three weeks that song was number one."
While Barry G cannot remember the place where he first heard Ranking Toyan do Spar Wid Me, the memory of hearing another sound system play the song is very clear. "They played it in Skateland, Half-Way Tree," he said, chuckling as remembered that in those days it was a two-way road. It was a Gemini vs. Wha Dat session and "Gemini drew it before me".
Welton Irie was the selector and "they knew it was a must play for me. They drew it first and teased me".
Over two decades after Spar Wid Me was released, Barry G is the only one of the three major persons involved in doing the record who is still alive. Both Ranking Toyan and Henry 'Junjo' Lawes were murdered, the former in 1991 and the latter in June 1999.
"Toyan, it was controversial. We could not get much information. The two deaths jerked me. There was Toyan, under controversial circumstances, and Junjo was killed in London. It really moved me," Barry G said.
So now, whenever Spar Wid Me is played, as it was by Killamanjaro at 'Booyaka!', held at Mas Camp, New Kingston, on Saturday, December 1, a tribute session which Barry G co-hosted, there are mixed feelings. It is a special tribute originally done on special, but which was released commercially and went to the top of the charts, but at the same time, Gordon said, "Every time the song is played I have to remember the two deaths."
And while many people have the record, only one man has that special first special cut.
"I have the original copy. I can't lose that," Barry G said.
source : jamaica-gleaner.com
The Congos rise again - Veteran roots reggae crooners land commercial deal with Heineken Int'l
Posted by December 09 2007 at 14:29
Category : Artists
Veteran reggae trio, the Congos, have landed a major commercial deal with Heineken International, a year after they ended a separation of more than 20 years.
A division of the world- renowned Heineken Beer, Red Brick Road in Germany, has chosen the Congos' song, Children Crying, for a commercial in its promotional campaign.
Writing about the Congos in the Who's Who of Reggae, Colin Larkin made the following observation: "The group's story is one typical of reggae; they had talent galore, but the business dealings were less than satisfactory."
Be that as it may, today, the Congos are on the rise again, manifesting one of their finest recordings, entitled At The Feast.
"What happening now, it was written," Watty Burnett, a member of the group, told the Sunday Observer.
"My response to what's happening is that it is great because everybody thought that we were going down and out, and I can tell you something, Congos is one of the biggest groups in Europe," added Burnett.
"The group was apart for almost 25 years... but here comes Heineken in Germany, and what they did is use one of our songs, Children Crying, from the Heart of the Congos album. The contract lasts for a year, and if everything progresses smoothly, it will be renewed for another year," explained Burnett.
Asked the value of the contract, Burnett said: "I don't want to disclose the amount of money we're making from this deal, but it's a very good deal."
Perhaps the most lucrative deal for the Congos came in the wake of some stirring performances by the group on two extended tours of Europe and Asia last year, promoted by Mediacom France, and including a memorable stop-over on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
This was their very first tour since the group broke up in 1981, a few short years after the release of the Lee 'Scratch' Perry-produced album Heart of the Congos. The single Children Crying was first released by Arista Records in 1977, then re-released in 1995 by Blood and Fire Records.
"The Heineken deal is going to do a lot because the Congos is on the move," said Roy Johnson, aka Ashanti Roy, another member of the group. "We're about to go on another tour anytime now. In the pipeline also, we're going to do a DVD movie called Row Fisherman Row, and re-release the Heart of the Congos."
The Congos, comprising Roy 'Congo Ashanti Roy' Johnson, Cedric Myton and Burnett, for a brief period in the 1970s recorded some of the most alluring and exciting roots reggae music of their time. The album Heart of the Congos, with other classics like Row Fisherman Row, Congo-A-Bongo, At The Feast and Nicodemus, became the best-selling album for Blood and Fire Records in the United Kingdom, despite not benefitting from a promotional tour.
Having celebrated their reunification with a good account of themselves at last year's Rebel Salute, the Congos then consolidated their return to the music scene, and signing the Heineken deal, together with the release of their album, Swinging Bridge, have virtually now bridged the gap of what went missing when the group separated.
Their latest album, Footprints, with singles such as Farmer's Daughter, the intriguing Healing In The Dancehall and the title track itself, highlights the extent to which the group is on a roll in this its second coming.
With an additional member, Kenroy Ffyffe (father of ace female deejay Lady G), and formerly of the Eternals, the Congos are preparing to hit the road in early 2008 to Africa and Europe.
source : jamaicaobserver.com
Grammy Nominations Announced
Posted by December 08 2007 at 14:10
Category : Others
The Burning Spear, Stephen Marley, Sly and Robbie, Lee "Scratch" Perry as well as Toots & The Maytals have all been nominated in the category of Best Reggae Album.
(Vocal or Instrumental) for the 50th Annual GRAMMY® Awards. On Dec 6 the announcement was made by The Recording Academy® at a press conference held in Hollywood.
Scheduled for Sunday February 10, 2008, the awards will be staged at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"The Burning Spear Experience" is the album given the nod for reggae icon Burning Spear who joins a roster of mainly prodigious veteran musicians nominated in the reggae category this year. Stephen Marley's "Mind Control" comes in; embodying the award's overall diverse program since the dynamic producer/musician is the most youthful on the '08 reggae nominees list.
"Anniversary" from Sly and Robbie, "Light Your Light" from Toots & The Maytals and Lee "Scratch" Perry's "The End Of An American Dream" complete the legendary showing of nominees up for the Reggae GRAMMY®
This golden year for the award ceremony, is said to be most reflective of diversity in music, with The Album Of The Year category alone representing country, hip-hop, jazz, pop and rock genres.
While the Caribbean's beloved Rihanna received four nominations along with Akon, Dierks Bentley, Chris Daughtry, Feist, Tim McGraw, John Newton, Ne-Yo and Bruce Springsteen, hers was just half the amount of top nominee, Kanye West.
Topping the nominations with eight, Kanye West was followed by Amy Winehouse - up for six awards and The Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and T-Pain who all garnered five each.
For Best Traditional World Music Album, nominees include, The Soweto Gospel Choir, Rahim Al Haj with Souhal Kasper and Various Artists on an album titled, "Singing For Life: Songs Of Hope, Healing, And HIV/AIDS In Uganda."
Barack Obama's "The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream" and Maya Angelo's, "Celebrations," join Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Alan Alda in the Spoken Word category.
"This year's nominations truly reflect a diverse and talented community of artists and creators who represent some of the most exceptional music of the year," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "The GRAMMY Awards process once again has yielded a comprehensive group of excellent nominees and coupled with the fact that it's our milestone 50th year, this year's telecast promises music fans a spectacular show filled with stellar performances and unique 'GRAMMY Moments' for which Music's Biggest Night™ has come to be renowned."
source : yardflex.com
Alton Ellis in hospital
Posted by December 08 2007 at 14:06
Category : Artists
Living reggae music legend and pioneer in the development of ska and rock steady beats, Alton Ellis has been admitted to hospital in London, England and is extremely ill at this time.
Alton Ellis, the older brother for "Jamaica's first lady of song," the late Hortense Ellis, was inducted into the International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA) Hall of Fame in 2006. It was his 50th year in the field of popular entertainment.
source : yardflex.com
Reggae star Taylor dies at 50
Posted by December 03 2007 at 20:48
Category : Artists
Tyrone Taylor, the reggae singer whose 1983 song Cottage in Negril is considered a classic, died on Saturday.
Norman 'Bull Puss' Bryan, a close friend of Taylor's, said Taylor died from prostate cancer in Kingston.
The St. Elizabeth-born Taylor, who was 50 years old, had fallen on hard times. He suffered two strokes in recent years and spoke openly of a substance abuse problem that derailed a promising career.
Taylor's recording career began during the 1970s when he recorded several songs for top-flight producers like Winston 'Niney' Holness. But it was not until the early 1980s that he hit paydirt with Cottage in Negril.
The song, driven by Taylor's soulful delivery and an infectious saxophone solo, was a homage to the West End resort town which became a hang-out for American hippies and college students in the 1970s.
Cottage in Negril became his signature song, popping up on reggae compilations from European record companies. It made Taylor a minor star on that continent.
Taylor would record other popular songs, such as a cover of American soul singer Bobby Blue Bland's Members Only and 1994's Rainy Sunset, but he never recaptured the success of Cottage in Negril which was recently covered by singer Duane Stephenson.
Taylor made several futile attempts at a comeback, including an appearance at Rebel Salute in his home parish.
source : jamaica-gleaner.com
Also check this Roots Archives thread
Pat Kelly asks Why Why Why
Posted by December 02 2007 at 10:54
Category : Artists
If there is one artiste in Jamaica who should welcome the new collection rights company JAMMS (Jamaica Music Society), it should be pioneer rocksteady crooner Pat Kelly.
Ironically, the veteran of 40 years, Pat Kelly, told Yesterday's Notes a week before the launch of JAMMS (formed to defend the rights of artistes), that when he started in 1967, he got no money for the songs he recorded. In fact, this stalwart vocalist said he only got £16 (which would be equivelent to $2,336 in today's currency) for one of his biggest hits, aptly titled You Don't Care For Me At All.
"No money wasn't making those days," Pat Kelly said, "and money wasn't the key thing. It sounds funny to say that now, but money wasn't the issue. We didn't know anything about money in those days, we only wanted to get the song on the radio, girls to hear it, that sort of thing."
The singer, whose real name is Horatious Kelly, chuckled as he further explained; "Because money wasn't making, when I did You Don't Care For Me At All with Duke Reid, I only make £16 for that record, and this was one of my biggest hits."
With no bitterness at all in his voice (no wonder it has enchanted so many), Pat Kelly obviously, is at a place where he can reflect amusingly. He continued to make light of that experience, chuckled again and rethorically asked: "What did we know about contracts? I just went into it happy-go-lucky, and nobody shows us the ropes."
Putting all of that behind him, the cousin of singer Robert Ffrench, apart from returning to the studio, is also coming out with a book on his life experience as a musician entitled No Further Fears, as well as possibly an album of the same name.
"I'm working an on album due to come out in Jamaica around January/February, we're going to do a launch on December 15, in the states side. We've not yet decided on what we're going to call it, we've about three titles - Why Why Why could be one of them, No Further Fears, that is based on a book I'm trying to write for over 12 years on the life of a musician or entertainer in Jamaica.
I would like to call the album the same thing, but I'm not sure as yet," revealed Pat Kelly who replaced the late Keith 'Slim' Smith as lead vocalist of the Techniques, and who, along with Alton Ellis, the Paragons and the Melodians, spearheaded the legendary record producer Duke Reid's campaign to dominate Jamaican music.
Pat Kelly's epochal productions with his distinctive smooth vocals soaring over the impeccable harmonies of Winston Riley and Bruce Ruffin, the ace trio, easily maintained the flow the Techniques had when Slim Smith was lead singer.
Recalling his musical journey, which first took him to producer Bunny "Striker" Lee, Pat Kelly recounted: "When I went to Striker Lee, I also met with Slim Smith, Lloyd Chammers and Stranger Cole.
My first song was Daddy's Home ( originally done by Johnny Shephard, of 'Shep and the Limelights'). And then I came up with an original song, I'm In The Mood For Love which has been covered by a lot of local artistes. And in recent times, like two years ago, Heavy Dee and the Boyz, did a version. Later that same year we had a collaboration with Palmer's Record from London and I came up with How Long, Try To Remember, and If It Don't Work Out."
Not one to beat around the bush, Pat Kelly's forthrightness came out once more when he admitted: "We did well, (the above mentioned songs) took me to England in 1969, the first time I left Jamaica. How Long, was a hit on the charts. It was my signature at that time. I came up with several other hits like Talk About Love (with Phil Pratt), You Don't Care For Me at All my first song with the Techniques for Duke Reid, after I left Bunny Lee."
Many people are not aware of this, but Pat Kelly also participated in the Festival Song Contest back in the day when the creme de la creme of Jamaican music were involved. "We did Festival Time (Run Come Celebrate) which I wrote myself and we came third in the festival competition," he recalled.
After some sixteen solo albums beginning with Pat Kelly Sings for Palmer's Records in England, to his latest album, the self produced One Man Stands, he told Yesterday's Notes that his most successful commercial solo albums (which he got paid for ) are How Long, Talk About Love and You Don't Care.
"Why I'm talking to you now, Mr Tyrone Smith, who has a lot of artistes signed to his Smith Mansion Family label, having heard my voice for decades, decided to meet me in person. And when I finally met him, he told me that he likes my voice from a long time and is interested in doing some work with me. I really appreciated it, and so I'm into a new era again."
Again another irony pops up.
One of the projects, Pat Kelly is now working with his new-found producer on, the remake of his song How Long, may very well turn out to be an intervention by fate.
"Currently I have How Long, working on new vibes, new beats. It's between the rocksteady beat and the dancehall thing that they have now. And also the single Why Why Why, which was written by me and is distributed by Tuff Gong" Pat Kelly said.
source : jamaicaobserver.com