REGGAE NEWS - NOVEMBER 2009
Max Romeo releases definitive collection
Posted by November 23 2009 at 07:36
Category : Artists
If he could have found people willing to give voice to the lyrics he penned, Max Romeo would have never stood behind a microphone.
"I did not have singing on my mind. I loved poetry. I wanted to be a writer," the man known for saucy songs such as Wet Dream, the wry War Inna Babylon and the joyous Let The Power Fall on I told The Sunday Gleaner.
However, "Nobody would sing my songs. They said they were stupid, so I recorded them myself," beginning with I Will Buy You a Rainbow in 1967.
Forty-two years and 42 albums
later (with a final one in the works at his Charmax Studio in Palm, Treadways, St Catherine), Max Romeo is releasing the bulk of his extensive catalogue
on 10 CDs of 16 songs each. The first five are already out and he is hoping that the next half of the collection will be released before Christmas.
"If you follow my career, I am a person who likes to be original. I have never heard or seen it done before, so I decided to do it," he said.
The collection spans his first recording, Buy You a Rainbow, to 2006's A Little Time For Jah.
He has an eye on his own mortality and has no doubt observed the chaos that has befallen the estates of other singers. "One of the main things is to get the Max Romeo songs in one stable, so in my passing my kids won't have to be all over the place. I am happy to be alive to gather them up for my children," he said.
It helps immensely that Romeo's brother, Lindbergh 'Black Lindy' Lambert, who lives in England, has painstakingly collected the songs from the get-go. "He can find all Max Romeo music," the singer/songwriter said.
The nature of the music business being that a performer will record with multiple producers over the span of his career or even consecutively, almost invariably there are disputes over rights when collections are being put together. Max Romeo has had none and does not anticipate any. "Most of the producers are dead," he said. Further, "I have no contracts with these guys. They never paid me. I am waiting on that (contestations) to happen so I can take them to court."
Each CD in the collection is presented as a chapter, the songs being individual verses. Romeo says "The number one selling book in the history of the world is the Bible. It is written in chapters and verses. I am trying to pull the people who like the Bible." Fittingly, then, the first verse in the first chapter is Maccabee Version.
Banned and Censored
There are some songs that Romeo has deliberately culled from his career-defining collection - the raunchy songs he did before his growth into Rastafari in 1971. Wet Dream, which he says is "semi-rude", makes the cut. The others will be included on another album, Banned and Censored, "for those who like to hear Max Romeo sing about what they are making noise about today". He also plans a live performance CD.
So he has a lifetime of material to choose from at the Charmax showcase, slated for the Palm Community Centre, Palm, Treadways, on Saturday, December 5. Also performing will be his sons, the duo Rominal, Ruffian, Sophia Squire, Jallanzo, Nitro, Singing Cologne, Anjalee, Prince Allah, Dub Tonic Kru, Jimmy Riley, Warrior King, Lutan Fyah and Ras Murdack.
Romeo is satisfied with the response so far to his catalogue collection. "The people are very excited. They can't wait to get it," he said.
By Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
source : jamaica-gleaner.com
1980 reggae movie ‘Rockers’ still has cult following
Posted by November 11 2009 at 15:02
Category : Others
Reggae and a 30-year-old movie about its Jamaican culture has become popular with a new generation.
Inner Circle includes founding members Ian and Roger Lewis, who both appeared in the 1978 film “Rockers.”
“We didn’t know the reggae sounds was so popular there now, but the movie has become like an underground cult movie in Asia,” Ian Lewis told Lake Tahoe Action after arriving in the United States from the Far East last week. “Remember that ‘Rocky Horror (Picture) Show?’ It became like a cult. ‘Rockers’ movie is like that now in Vietnam and Singapore because younger kids, they like that culture.”
The movie, filmed in six weeks in 1977 at the Kingston ghetto Trenchtown and two weeks in Ocho Rios, is an authentic representation of the Jamaican culture during that era because all the characters portrayed themselves. The loosely written and improvised storyline is a reggae version of Robin Hood.
“When we made that movie everybody was laughing because nobody was no actor,” Lewis said. “It offered up our true vibe because everybody was playing ourselves. They wasn’t trying to be no actor. So that’s the best kind of acting, just be yourself.”
Zephyr Cove real-estate agent Richard Bolen was a “post-production producer” for “Rockers.” Bolen negotiated performance rights, located 26 master recordings and raised $350,000 to finish putting the film together. He also made all the domestic and international film and record distribution deals.
“We knew what we had was good,” Bolen said. “We didn’t know we were catching the roots reggae culture at its epitome.”
While there was extreme poverty, it was also seminal period for Jamaica, which influenced cultures throughout the world.
“It was tantamount to the ’60s generation,” Bolen said. “They thought they were changing the world for a better way.”
Just a few years after “Rockers” was filmed some of reggae’s pioneers were gone. Inner Circle’s Jacob Miller was killed in a 1980 car accident, Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981 and Peter Tosh was murdered in 1987.
“Bob Marley was a living god with them,” Bolen said. “He was significant here but so much more palpable in the Caribbean and Africa and Europe. He was a genuine world spokesman of human spirit and hope, and he knew it.”
Marley did not appear in “Rockers,” but his peers did. And while Bolen was in Jamaica dealing with people who claimed to be in the movie and demanded to be paid, Peter Tosh was on tour with the Rolling Stones, often appearing onstage with a “Rockers” T-shirt.
Although Bolen was surrounded by desperate and dirt-poor Kingston residents during a three-year period, he had two guides and never felt he was in danger.
“They were guides to how the ghetto worked,” Bolen said. “They did protect me but it was more of a vibratory thing. The general consensus was we were there doing Jah works.”
Lewis understands why a new generation appreciates “Rockers.”
“They see it’s real,” he said. “It’s natural. Some of the older folks might see the weed smoking and they’re not used to that. But what they see is a real culture, and the kids like that.
“It made me happy to see something that was done 20, 30 years ago has come full circle to fruition, that people appreciate it for what it is.”
source : tahoe.com
Find "Rockers OST" on Roots Archives overhere
Studio One court case a heavy load - Bob Andy
Posted by November 08 2009 at 16:54
Category : Artists
The law suit between singer/songwriter Keith 'Bob Andy' Anderson and the Clement Coxsone Dodd estate continues this month with the singer stating that it is "weighing him down".
The court will determine whether royalties are due from Bob Andy's Songbook, the classic Jamaican album which includes the blockbuster hit, I've Got to go Back Home.
"At issue is the publishing aspect of the songs and the fact that they say they are not obliged to pay me any artiste royalties," Andy told the Sunday Observer in an interview Thursday, just days after his 65th birthday. Andy is one of the rock steady era's most prolific hitmakers.
Both parties are said to be in negotiations but are at odds over the authenticity of a signature bearing Andy's name, apparently relinquishing his publishing rights. However, Andy denies having signed any such document. No one at Studio One was available for comment up to press time. Both parties should meet in the Supreme Court chambers on the November 24, Andy said.
"We are supposed to have a case management to discuss a possible settlement," he explained.
It will be the second Studio One suit heard this month; the other reportedly involves a member of Dodd's family.
Andy confessed: "The case is a very heavy load and if I didn't have the inner strength it would depress me."
Andy had two cases filed against Dodd's estate and second defendant JamRec which involve similar matters.
"It is almost as if the songs that people love so much have become an albatross around my neck. It is as if my life is being controlled from beyond the grave," he reasoned.
Andy had previously stated that he has never received adequate financial compensation for the 1970 album Songbook, which became one of the biggest sellers in the Studio One catalogue. He also penned chart-topping hits for other Studio One artistes including Delroy Wilson, Marcia Griffiths and Ken Boothe. Also, in 2002 Andy praised and criticised the late Dodd at the University of the West Indies lecture in commemoration of Dodd's 50th anniversary in the music business this year. He said the legendary producer kick-started the career of many young artistes, "but he could have done more for them".
Bob Andy was one of the founding members of The Paragons, along with Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett. His bio on Wikipedia notes that his first solo hit record in 1966, I've Got to go Back Home, was followed by Desperate Lover, Feeling Soul, Unchained and Too Experienced, amongst others. He also composed I Don't Want to See You Cry for Ken Boothe, and Feel Like Jumping, Truly and Melody Life for Marcia Griffiths.
His late 1960s hits, including Going Home, Unchained, Feeling Soul, My Time, The Ghetto Stays in the Mind, and Feel the Feeling, and his 1992 hit, Fire Burning, have become reggae standards and have been covered numerous times.
In the early 1970s, he recorded with Marcia Griffiths as Bob and Marcia, under producer Harry J's tutelage. These included the UK hits Young, Gifted and Black and Pied Piper. In 1978, Andy took a five-year-long sabbatical from the music industry to concentrate on his career as an actor. Andy subsequently starred in the films Children of Babylon in 1980 and The Mighty Quinn (1989).
Andy's 1988 album, Freely, recorded in London and Jamaica, was reissued in 1997. The same year, he released an all-new album, Hangin' Tough, produced by Willie Lindo.
Andy undertook his first concert tour of Africa in 2005. He performed at the Bob Marley 60th birthday concert in Addis Ababa to an audience of several hundred thousand, and also sang at the Ethiopian president's palace. During a visit to Shashemane in the weeks following, he gave benefit concerts for the 12 Tribes.
In 2006, he was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander for his contributions to the development of reggae music.
By Steven Jackson
source : jamaicaobserver.com