Foundation

Beres Hammond’s Mission: “To Shed Some Happiness In Some Dark Corners Of Your Mind”

Beres Hammond's Mission: "To Shed Some Happiness In Some Dark Corners Of Your Mind"

Jamaica’s Number One Soul Man Speaks On His New Album Never Ending

There’s an old saying that “Music alone shall live.” With that in mind, the title of Beres Hammond’s latest album rings true, even if the man who makes these amazing songs—as he has done for decades on top of decades—is in fact a mere mortal. The release of a new Beres Hammond album is always cause for celebration, which explains our joyous mood today. One of the greatest singers and songwriters ever to emerge from Jamaica, Mr. Hammond has kept us waiting for six years since his last studio album, One Life, One Love, The wait will be over at midnight tonight with the release of Never Ending, a remarkable 14-track set that ranks with the finest work, from sweet lovers’ rock (“Hold You Till It Hurts”) to truths and rights (“Cry Freedom”) to the delightful jazz-tinged vibes of the title track. The musicianship is first-rate as usual—the finest players of instruments always come together when a true legend is in session—and with Bulby York on the mix how can you lose? During an exclusive interview with the Reggae Girl About Town, Beres spoke about all the singles released so far, including the rousing “Land of Sunshine” and “My Kinda Girl.” For anyone who’s ever wondered exactly what Beres’ type of girl is, Reshma B got the answer in this wide-ranging heart-to-heart conversation. Beres and RGAT also spoke about the song “I’m Alive,” which prompted some interested reflections on the artist’s legacy. “That’s what I think I’m sent here for,” Beres revealed. “To shed some happiness in some dark corners of your mind.” And then, as he often does, Beres shifted from reflective to jovial. “One time somebody asked me, what you want to be remembered as Beres?” He recounted his reply with perfect comic timing. “Mi say, ‘Remembered as? I want you remember me now!'” After a big laugh, Beres added. “If you should ever think of Beres, let’s say Beres not around. Just remember one ball of happiness and joy. A bundle of joy, of course through the music.” Never Ending drops tomorrow. While you wait, check this very special reasoning. “We nah talk no foolishness!” Video After The Jump… Read more »

Tetrack: Never Too Late to Get Started

Tetrack: Never Too Late to Get Started

Classic reggae album sees reissue, featuring early work of Carlton Hines

Forty years have provided more than enough perspective to confirm the name Augustus Pablo as a standard bearer in the world of dub reggae. With a catalog of over 40 albums and 200 singles, Pablo rates among the great artist-producers (musicians who ran their own recording sessions versus being strictly financiers or executives). Despite his stature, Pablo was not a prolific producer of full-length vocal LPs, so his handful of efforts in that format are significant. His Hugh Mundell album Africa Must Be Free By 1983 has rightly achieved iconic status among reggae LPs. Tetrack’s lesser-known Let’s Get Started, recorded at the same time with many of the same musicians, matches Africa Must Be Free By 1983 artistically and arguably surpasses Mundell’s album in terms of the songwriting. This is due largely to the contributions of Carlton Hines, whose later writing credits would include Gregory Isaacs’ “Rumours.” Story Continues After The Jump…
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HEAR THIS: Dennis Brown Special DJ Center Earthstrong Mix

HEAR THIS: Dennis Brown Special DJ Center Earthstrong Mix

Tunes, versions and dubs from the Crown Prince

In honor of what would have been Dennis Emmanuel Brown’s 60th birthday this past Wednesday, February 1st, the homie DJ Center put together a crucial megamix that goes heavy on classic rub-a-dub era. We’re pleased to share it with you to provide some heartical vibes for your weekend and beyond. Here I Come again! Audio After The Jump…
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HEAR THIS: Willi Williams ft. U-Roy “Miss Cutie Cutie”

HEAR THIS: Willi Williams ft. U-Roy "Miss Cutie Cutie"

Foundation Artists In Action

Singer-songwriter Willi Williams’ 1979 hit “Armagideon Time” is forever enshrined in the reggae canon. Perhaps the most famous song on Studio One’s immortal Real Rock rhythm, Williams’ original was covered by seminal UK punk band The Clash that same year. Now the foundation singer has teamed up with the godfather of Jamaican deejays, U-Roy, and the Studio One house band the Soul Vendors for a new single “Ms. Cutie Cutie,” released through Williams’ own Drum Street label. This contemporary lovers rock track is a combination version of Williams’ “Natural Beauty,” both of which are available from all major digital distribution services and will be included on a full length release later this year, all backed by the Vendors. “My first recording was ‘Calling’ at Studio One in the late 1960s, and the Soul Vendors were Mr. Dodd’s house band at the time, working with every major act and helping create the Jamaican song book,” Williams explained. “The Vendors played on tracks from my Studio One album Armagideon Time, but this was the first time since then that we got in the studio and really worked together. I’ve been friends with U-Roy since the early 70s but we’ve never recorded together.” Audio After The Jump… Read more »

Reasoning with Jack Scorpio: “Good Music Come In Like The Bible”

Reasoning with Jack Scorpio: "Good Music Come In Like The Bible"

Heartical Words of Wisdom From the Founder of Black Scorpio Sound System And Record Label

Among the many icons, legends and superstars we were able to link up at Irie Jam’s recent 23 anniversary celebration concert was elder statesman Jack Scorpio of Black Scorpio sound. A giant in the industry and among men, this powerful pioneer has had his hands on the careers of a cornucopia of crème de la crème cultural current creators from Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs to Garnet Silk and Luciano to Beenie Man, Buju and Mega Banton to Capleton, Bounty Killer, Barrington Levy and Shabba Ranks of Jamaica’s Order of Distinction.  As a man who has launched legacies and banged out hits with the best of the best, Jack Scorpio knows a thing or two about the rules of engagement in the love and war of Dancehall and Roots and Culture Reggae. “My history too long fi talk,” said the tall man dressed in full white—but with a bit of perseverance, we convinced him to give it a try, and he took the time to share his insights with the BOOMSHOTS TV cameras.

Jack Scorpio doesn’t come out to events often, but he was pleased that he attended Irie Jam’s 23rd anniversary and had positive vibes to share, especially of rising sun, Jahmiel, who he wants to work with, and the things Jahmiel had to share in terms of critiques of the current Dancehall culture. Scorpio likened today’s Dancehall to destructive drug dealing and called for balance. “Good music come like the bible,” he says, and it’s time for artists, and the selectors who play the chunes, to take it to the next level and make immortal music. Turn on and tune in as Jack Scorpio reasons on Dancehall dimensions, trends on the changing winds, and why hit songs with stamina and staying power solidify like Holy Scripture. Videos After The Jump… Read more »

Clive Hunt Pays Tribute to Bobby Ellis

Clive Hunt Pays Tribute to Bobby Ellis

Legendary Producer Remembers Jamaica’s Late Great Hornsman

One of Jamaica’s most accomplished musicians, trumpet master Bobby Ellis, died on Tuesday at the University Hospital of the West Indies. The Jamaica Observer reports that he was admitted in late September suffering from pneumonia. During his 84 years on earth, Bobby Ellis and his trusty horn made a mighty legacy. A graduate of the famed Alpha Boys School, he often played alongside fellow alumni Tommy McCook, “Deadly” Headley Bennett, and the immortal tromphonist Don Drummond, and was awarded the Order of Distinction in 2014 for his outstanding contributions to Jamaican culture. His session works are too numerous to mention, from Boby Andy’s “I’ve Got To Go Back Home”  to Burning Spear’s classic Marcus Garvey album. Mr. Ellis arranged the horns for Jack Ruby’s stellar Black Disciples band and toured extensively with Spear over the years. He also collaborated with the noted jazz artist Herbie Mann. As news of Ellis’s passing has spread, numerous tributes have appeared on social media, but few more moving than that of legendary producer Clive “Uglyman” Hunt. Story Continues After The Jump… Read more »

Reasoning With The Ranks:
“Every day, another star is born from the ghetto. A star isn’t born from the hills and society either. It’s from the ghetts that the youth dem ah push up.”

Reasoning With The Ranks: “Every day, another star is born from the ghetto. A star isn’t born from the hills and society either. It's from the ghetts that the youth dem ah push up.”

In Honor of Shabba’s Order of Distinction, We Present An In-Depth Interview with the Dancehall Emperor

“Triumphant,” said Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, better known to music lovers as Shabba Ranks. “Dat a my feeling right now because, as my mother used to tell me from I was little, hard work does pay off.” The dancehall emperor, who now resides in the United States, returned to Kingston, Jamaica this week to receive one of his homeland’s highest honors, the Order of Distinction. According to the Jamaica Observer, the crowd cheered wildly as the impeccably attired Ranks appeared on the great lawn at King’s House, the opulent residence of the island’s Governor General. Sir Patrick Allen personally bestowed the honor on this ghetto youth who took dancehall music around the world, earning the genre’s first gold record and two consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album. “So we can see dat de validation for hard work is jus’ greatness — good really begets good,” said Shabba. “For my island to look at me as one of those proteges and bestow the Order of Distinction pon me, when I first hear, it’s just delight, joy. It cause me to think about how, for so many years, me a work with the strength of my forefathers who did their work and still could not achieve dis in their lifetime… So mi jus’ proud.” The 50-year-old artist joins a distinguished group of  Jamaicans in the fields of music, art, sports, politics, medicine, and journalism. Fellow honorees include Usain Bolt, Sir Coxsone Dodd, and Lee “Scratch” Perry.  Interview After The Jump… Read more »

Ten Classic Rita Marley Tunes You Need To Stop Sleeping On

Ten Classic Rita Marley Tunes You Need To Stop Sleeping On

Half The Story Has Never Been Told

The whole world knows the Bob Marley legend, but how many overstand the fact that his wife Rita is an accomplished singer in her own right? Alpharita Constantia “Rita” Anderson was born 70 years ago in Santiago, Cuba and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She first met Robert Nesta Marley in the mid 1960s, when both were teenage recording artists at Sir Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio One, the “Motown Records” of Jamaica. Rita was lead vocalist for The Soulettes while Bob’s group was called The Wailing Wailers. The two would eventually get married and later tour the world, with Rita backing Bob as a member of his harmony section the I Three. Earlier this week Rita Marley was hospitalized after reportedly suffering a stroke. Our prayers go out to her family and fans around the world. In the meantime, let the music play. Audio After The Jump…
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HEAR THIS: Busy Signal “Colder”

HEAR THIS: Busy Signal "Colder"

The Turf Prez Touches Up A Classic King Jammy’s Riddim

Some things just can’t be improved upon, but that doesn’t mean they should be left alone. King Jammy’s 1987 “Score” Riddim is a perfect example, a track that defines digital lovers rock. There was something about Steely’s warm and easy computer bassline and those crstyal-clear twinkling high notes combined with Clevie’s tastefully understated drum programming. The riddim became an instant classic when it first appeared on Frankie Paul’s “I Know The Score” from FP’s crucial Original Sara album, with additional  versions by Sanchez and Thriller U available on 12-inch discomix. A quarter century later Busy Signal has brought the riddim forward with a brand new song entitled “Colder.” Utilizing Edi Fitzroy’s distinctive stammer-phrase on the hook, the Turf Prez sings for the girls,  evokes bygone dancehall days, and pays homage to the elders who paved the way. The only thing worth changing is the title, cause this tune is definitely #Hotted. “Fe real, fe real, fe real pull up that one from top.” Audio After The Jump… Read more »

Super Cat Confirmed for Reggae Sumfest 2016

Super Cat Confirmed for Reggae Sumfest 2016

The Don Dada Will Headline Reggae Night

Super Cat will make his Reggae Sumfest debut on July 23, 2016, headlining the festival’s Reggae Night in Montego Bay, Jamaica. “Our headline act on Saturday night—which is Reggae Night—will be none other than the Don Dada himself,” said Josef Bogdanovich, CEO of Downsound Records, which took over the well-known annual festival this year. “We just signed him today. I have a feeling this show is going to be really magical” Cat’s live performances have been few and far between, going back to Sting 2013, last year’s Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, and earlier this month in New York at Irie Jam’s Oracabesssa Festival. A living legend of reggae music and dancehall culture whose career built bridges into the international music industry, Cat has collaborated with artists like Heavy D, Puff Daddy, Biggie Smalls, Kriss Kross, Sugar Ray and Pharrell, to name a few, but he has remained a cornerstone of reggae music. It seems like poetic justice for Cat to make Sumfest debut on the festival’s first Reggae Night in recent memory. “Don’t let them trick the youth and keep talking about dancehall—that is a miseducation we have to straighten out that,” said Cat during an exclusive Boomshots interview in 2013. “Only thing we were playing in dancehall was reggae music. What dancehall is are venues.” Video After The Jump… Read more »

Reasoning with Sly Dunbar: “I’ve Seen All The Changes”

Reasoning with Sly Dunbar: "I've Seen All The Changes"

The Master Drummer Turns 64 Today

Perhaps the most celebrated drum and bass duo in history—regardless of genre—Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare were both accomplished studio musicians before they met in the mid 1970s. “You know that record that goes ‘I am the magnificent!’?” says Dunbar, speaking of Dave & Ansel Collins’ 1971 smash “Double Barrel,” the second Jamaican single ever to top the UK pop charts. “I played drums on that when I was 15 years old.”  Robbie, meanwhile, was rocking with the Aggrovators, producer Bunny Lee’s ace session band.  But once the “Rhythm Twins” linked up at Channel One studio on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston, Jamaican music would never sound the same again. Interview After The Jump… Read more »

SPECIAL REQUEST: Willi Williams “Armagideon Time”

SPECIAL REQUEST: Willi Williams "Armagideon Time"

Don’t Mix Up The Studio One Star With The First Black LAPD Chief, Who Passed Away Today

What’s in a name? Willie L. Williams became Los Angeles’ first African American police chief in the aftermath of the 1992 riots,  died today of pancreatic cancer at the age of 72, reports the L.A. Times. Williams stepped into the top job at the LAPD at a sensitive time, as the department reeled from criticism over its handling of the riots and Los Angeles struggled to mend racial divides. He replaced Daryl Gates, who had long been criticized for running a department that mistreated minority groups, particularly blacks, in Los Angeles. Williams helped usher in a series of reforms in the wake of the Rodney J. King beating. Under him, the department grew by 2,000 officers and the LAPD adopted more “community policing” strategies that were designed to be less confrontational than Gates’ methods. He won credit for restoring confidence to the department. “I was the guinea pig” he once told a Times reporter. Audio After The Jump… Read more »