R.I.P.

“Nothing Can Harm Me” Remembering Countryman

"Nothing Can Harm Me" Remembering Countryman

A Man Who Represented Rastafari In Real Life

After battling cancer for years, the death of Edwin “Countryman” Lothan hit his friends and fans very hard. Though he passed away September 18th, obituaries are just starting to appear in the international press for this simple Rasta fisherman who appeared in a feature story in Rolling Stone magazine in 1973, a living symbol of Rastafari at a time when few Americans had even heard of reggae music. Nine years later he starred in the film Countryman, produced by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. He lived a simple life according to strict principles of Rastafari. All the obituaries mention these facts, but this is what I remember, the Countryman I knew. Essay After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Sojah “Pon Di Corner” In Memory of Delus

WATCH THIS: Sojah "Pon Di Corner" In Memory of Delus

Delmark Spence Is Gone But Not Forgotten

When people say, as they often do, that music lives on forever, they don’t mean that songs stay the same, like fossils or footprints set in cement. Music literally lives—it’s an organic, ever-changing force that unfolds within its own time and affects each listener a different way. Sometimes a song we’ve heard hundreds of times before will hit us from a whole new angle depending on the time and place and our own meds at the moment. This effect is particularly powerful after an artist passes away. Inevitably his fans will revisit that artist’s catalog, gaining new appreciation for what is often referred to as their “body of work,” a kind of audio autopsy if you will. We’ve seen it this past year with David Bowie and Prince, but the same process takes place for artists who didn’t get quite as much attention as they may have deserved. Consider, for example, “What Tomorrow May Bring” a lesser-known 2012 release by Delus, the dancehall artist born Delmark Spence who tragically and unexpectedly took his own life earlier this month. In light of recent events this severely under-rated song now rings out like an anthem. Delus’s brother—the dancehall star Konshens—recently appeared on the popular Jamaican TV program OnStage to say how much his older brother inspired him. The Spence brothers first entered the music business together as a duo called Sojah (Sons of Jah). Following the worldwide success of their debut release “Pon Di Corner” (on Cashflow Records’  “Guilty Riddim”), Konshens emerged as a major breakout star while Delus continued to do his own thing at his own pace. Still they never stopped repping Sojah, something Garfield Spence must now do on his own. Although Delus is no longer here in physical form, his music lives on forever. Videos After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Prince “Blue Light”

HEAR THIS: Prince "Blue Light"

Yep, Prince Did Reggae Too

A master of diverse musical styles from rock to funk, soul to jazz to dance, rap, and rhythm & blues, Prince’s genius was so profound that his work has left an indelible mark on the next generation of musicians. We’re still getting used to the idea that “The Kid” is dead now, but whether you believe he died of the flu, a drug overdose, or an Illuminati plot, the fact is that his music will live on forever. Our peoples at Caribbean Fever highlighted his little-known foray into reggae music, a musical thing called “Blue Light” off his 1992 Love Symbol album. And you know what? This world-weary tune about making love under an azure glow ain’t bad at all. Shout out to Ultimate Selector for this freshly mastered Youtube stream. Audio After The Jump… Read more »

Special Livication: Dennis Brown “Things In Life”

Special Livication: Dennis Brown "Things In Life"

Big Request To The Late Great Peter Dean Rickards aka Afflicted

And so this surreal year in which we’ve lost so many bright lights ends with the news that Peter Dean Rickards has passed away on New Year’s Eve. He battled cancer quietly, and with the same grim sense of humor that characterized all his work as a writer, film maker, photographer, cultural critic, and provocateur. Vistors to his AfflictedYard website today, who might have been searching for one of his groundbreaking pictorials—maybe something like, say, “Guns Like Dirt” perhaps—were met with the above image, even more shocking than anything else he posted—with the possible exception of those pig-slaughtering photos—and typical in its callous disregard for niceties of polite sentiment. If you couldn’t tell from his nom de guerre, Afflicted liked to keep it raw. I won’t attempt a proper obituary at this time, but I would like to send out this special request (not a dedication cause the man’s work lives) for my respected colleague turned cybercombatant and sworn nemesis. Yes there was a period of about seven years when we could not be in the same room at the same time, but thankfully we buried that particular hatchet long ago. And no matter how vexed I ever was I could not front on the man’s talent. In this post I’m sharing one of the last emails I ever received from Peter Dean. We were supposed to collab on a big project that I hope still happens but who knows?Right now all I can say is walk good bredren. Video After The Jump…. Read more »