Jacob “Killer” Miller was one of reggae’s greatest performers. His merry, manic brilliance shines through clearly in the crucial 1980 concert doc Heartland Reggae, particularly the performance of “Tired Fe Lick Weed In A Bush” during which he puffs a huge spliff on stage while using his microphone to taunt the cops at the venue before somebody hands him a police cap and he starts chanting “Babylon, Babylon falling down.” Audio After The Jump…
He that keepth his mouth shall stay outta problem. Run that…
(via Mass Appeal)
The roly-poly Rasta singer’s work with Coxsone Dodd and Augustus Pablo led him to Inner Circle, one of Jamaica’s most respected bands. Their first hit together, “Tenement Yard,” was released in 1975, exactly 40 years ago. The group went on to sign with Capitol Records and released two albums internationally before Miller died in a car crash at the age of 27.
As any self-respecting fan of the TV show Cops knows, Inner Circle went on to become the Bad Boys of Reggae, selling millions of records and setting up their own state of the art studio, Circle House, where A-list rap, R&B, pop, and reggae clients lay down hits. Meanwhile, across the street, the Lewis brothers (Ian on bass and Roger on rhythm guitar) continue jamming in their own private studio along with old friends like “Touter” Harvey on keyboards and Lancelot Hall on drums and most recently, Errol “Skatta” Bonnick on vocals—plus, sometimes, the occasional guest vocalist.
It’s been 40 years since the release of Jacob Miller’s first hit with Inner Circle, a song called “Tenement Yard.” The tune describes why life in a communal government housing scheme is not good for Rastas. “Dreadlocks can’t live in a tenement yard,” the young Rasta rebel sang, lamenting all the “watchy watchy” people chatting his business. Four decades later a new Rasta rebel steps up on the said Inner Circle riddim, and delivers his message, with what amounts to a whole new song subtitled “News Carrying Dread.” Not only are the rhythm track and the message of the new tune in tune with the original, a sample of “Jakes” voice also rings throughout.
“Me find Jacob, Red Hills Road,” says Roger Lewis in a recent interview. “All my life I tell you—and I don’t say this becauxse Chronixx is here—I don’t see a youth who touch me like Jacob.” The good vibes are clearly mutual between the veteran band and the young singer. “We always have a great respect for the Inner Circle family, even before we really met up physcially,” says Chronixx. “Is a great thing. Is a very very great thing. To see say them music can still be revamped. Because we are the originators, I and I, from that time till this time.”
Inner Circle’s Roger Lewis Reasons with Chronixx About “Tenement Yard”
Behind the Scenes at the Miami Video Shoot with Inner Circle, Chronixx & Gil Green