29 April 2011

Your Papers, Please...

"Hey, Mr. Cop... ain't got no birth certificate on me"_ Bob Marley, "Rebel Music"

Donald Trump ain't no cop.
A clown, perhaps.

Clowns don't need to see no birth certificates.

- Trinity - Shanty Town Determination [Blood and Fire]
"Rebel Music (Three O'Clock Road Block)" - Bob Marley & the Wailers - Natty Dread [Island]
"Iron Sharpen Iron" - Culture - Harder Than The Rest [Shanachie]
"White Collar Criminal" - Anthony B - Rasta Love [VP]
"Love Not Money" - Solo Banton - MP3
"Retribution" - Etana - Free Expressions [VP]
"Higher the Monkey Climbs" - Justin Hinds - Skatalites And Friends: Hog Inna Cocoa [Orange Street]
"Smart Countryman" - Prince Buster - Sings His Hit Song Ten Commandments...
"Deliverance Must Come" - Prince Buster - Prince Buster 45 [Reel Music]
"Storm" - Gregory Isaacs - Mr. Isaacs [Blood and Fire]
"Conquering Lion" - Yabby You - One Love One Heart [Shanachie]
"Lightning Flash Weak Heart Drop" - Big Youth - Beyond The Front Line [Caroline]
"Play with Fire" - Gov't Mule - Mighty High [ATO]
"Sheep & Goat" - Jackie Brown - Very Best Of Jackie Brown [JBM]
"Terminator Dub" - Dubmatix - MP3
"Reggae Pension" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]
"Connection" - Cas Haley - Connection [Easy Star]
"Reggae Fever" - Steel Pulse - Reggae Fever [Mango]
"Dos Lenos" - los Toyes - Viva La Rasta [Aztlan]
"Piste" - Israel Foundation Band - MP3
"Marilou Reggae Dub" - Serge Gainsbourg - Aux Armes Et Cetera [Mercury]
"Just Me" - Carlton & the Shoes - Love Me Forever [Studio One]
"Joy In The Morning" - Gaylads - Hold Me Tight [Trojan]
"Happy Land" - Carlton & the Shoes - Studio One 45
"Time Has Come" - Sim Smith - This Is Reggae Music [Trojan]

22 April 2011

At The Feast

"S-90 Skank" - Big Youth - Tougher Than Tough: The Story of Jamaican Music [Mango]
"Easy Now Star" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]
"Rat Race" - Bob Marley & the Wailers - Rastaman Vibration [Island]
"Retribution" - Etana - Free Expressions [VP]
"Signs of the Times" - Oliver Smith - Work Sound 'Ave Power [Heartbeat]
"You Can't Blame The Youth" - Peter Tosh - Honorary Citizen [Columbia]
"White Collar Criminal" - Anthony B - Rasta Love [VP]
"Destiny" - Dub Is A Weapon - Vaporized [Harmonized]
"Can't Buy Love" - Johnny Osbourne - Truths And Rights [Studio One]
"We've Got Love" - Freddie McGregor - Zion Chant [Heartbeat]
"You Never Know" - Corey Harris - Zion Crossroads
"Painkiller" - I-chelle and the Circle of Light - Oasis World Radio Sampler X [Oasis]
"Your House" - Steel Pulse - True Democracy [Rhino]
"Love Along With Jah" - Johnny Clarke - Clocktower 45
"Right Track" - Phyllis Dillon & Hopeton Lewis - Duke Reid's Treasure Chest [Heartbeat]
"Sock It To Me" - Roland Alphonso - Pyramid 45
"At The Feast" - The Congos - Heart Of The Congos [Blood and Fire]
"To Toil" - Kiddus I - Oasis World Radio Sampler X [Oasis]
"100 Weight Of Collie Weed" - Carlton Livingston - Greensleeves 45
"I & I Survive" - Bad Brains - 12" 45 [Bad Brains]
"Natty Dread Kung Fu" - Dub Funk Association - Roots Of Dub Funk [Tanty]
"East Of Bacchus Marsh" - The Technician - Roots Of Dub Funk [Tanty]
"Better Tomorrow" - Richie Spice - Book Of Job [VP]
"Buddy Bye" - Johnny Osbourne - Dancehall 101 Vol 3 [VP]
"Don't Stop The Music" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]
"Shu Be Dup" - Twinkle Brothers - Free Africa [Caroline]
"It Will Be Alright" - the Ethiopians - Owner Fe De Yard [Heartbeat]
"Ramble Dub" - Blue Riddim Band - Tribute [Rougher Records]
"Little Nut Tree" - Melodians - Rivers Of Babylon [Trojan]
"Moodorama" - Roland Alphonso - Solid Gold From The Vaults-Vol 3 [Trojan]

15 April 2011

Give To Caesar What Is Caesar's

"Sounds And Pressure" - Prince Buster - Prince Buster 45
"Don't Stop The Music" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]
"Money Worries" - the Maytones - Rockers [Mango]
"Poor Man's Prayer" - Mighty Diamonds - The Roots Is There [Shanachie]
"Johnny Dollar" - the Rolands - Crucial Reggae Driven By Sly & Robbie [Mango]
"Better Tomorrow" - Richie Spice - Book Of Job [VP]
"Be Thankful" - Bunny Clarke - Shocks Of Mighty [ATTACK!]
"Dubbin' In The Backseat" - Bunny Clarke - Shocks Of Mighty [ATTACK!]
"Life In Living Colors" - Prince Buster - Prince Buster 45
"Come To Me" - The Black Seeds - Solid Ground [Easy Star]
"Money Maker" - Blue Riddim Band - Tribute [Rougher Records]
"Keep It Up" - John Holt - Typhoon 45
"Keep On Moving" - Bob Marley & the Wailers - Soul Revolution Vol 1 & 2 [Trojan]
"Keep On Moving Version" - Bob Marley & the Wailers - Soul Revolution Vol 1 & 2 [Trojan]
"To Toil" - Kiddus I - Oasis Radio Sampler #1 [Oasis]
"Don't Try To Rob I" - Lynval Thompson - Ride On Dreadlocks [Blood and Fire]
"Fire Fe The Vatican" - Max Romeo - Open The Iron Gate [Blood and Fire]
"Half Idiot" - Marcia Griffiths/Cutty Ranks - Watch How You Flex! [Shanachie]
"Reggae Pension" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]
"Sock It To Me" - Roland Alphonso - Pyramid 45
"Japan Special" - Lloyd Brevett - African Roots [MOON Ska]
"Space Light" - Lloyd Brevett - African Roots [MOON Ska]
"Too Experienced" - Eddie Lovett - Trojan Originals [Trojan]
"Too Experienced" - Barrington Levy - Love The Life You Live [VP]
"Passion Love" - Melodians - Ba Ba Boom [Trojan]
"Girl You Rough" - the Overtakers - Explosive Rock Steady [Heartbaet]
"Don't You Know" - the Pioneers - Amalgamated 45
"Rude Boy Rock" - Lionrock - CD single [Deconstruction]
"Connection" - Cas Haley - Connection [Easy Star]

08 April 2011


So... the US GOP thinks that shutting down the government is a funny idea. It'll please their "base".
Well, folks... it's not about the budget. It's about moral totalitarianism... and letting multinational corporations off the hook, paying their share. If you've got a Congressman... tell them what YOU think. They might even pay attention... if they want to stay there.
If anybody's paying attention, that is.

"Sounds And Pressure"
- Prince Buster - Prince Buster 45
"Watch the Hypocrites" - Twinkle Brothers - Free Africa [Caroline]
"Hypocrite" - Bunny Wailer - Bunny Wailer Sings The Wailers [Mango]
"Mad Mad" - Alton Ellis - When Rhythm Was King [Heartbeat]
"Cold Concrete" - Mighty Diamonds - Live And Learn Smashing All Stars [Live & Learn]
"The Village" - Gregory Isaacs - Reggae Legends III [ROHIT]
"We Shall Overcome" - Prince Buster - FAB 45
"Inna Eden Dub" - Dubmatix - MP3
"To Toil" - Kiddus I - Oasis World Sampler Vol 1 [Oasis]
"Chant A Psalm" - Steel Pulse - True Democracy [Rhino]
"Step It On The Rastaman Scene" - Easy Star All Stars - Dubber Side Of The Moon [Easy Star]
w/Ranking Joe
"Easy Now Star" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]
"Connection" - Cas Haley - Connection [Easy Star]
"Trod The Hard Road" - The Green - The Green [SHD]
"100 Weight Of Collie Weed" - Carlton Livingston - Greensleeves 45
"100 LB. Weight" - 10 Foot Ganja Plant - Midnight Landing [ROIR]
"Your Love" - Peter Austin - Caltone 45
"Licking Stick" - Desmond Dekker - Beverly's 45
"Fu Manchu" - Desmond Dekker - Beverly's 45
"The Chase" - Yvonne Harrison - Caltone 45
"What Kind Of World" - Barrington Levy - 12" Jah Guidance
"Timothy" - Roland Alphonso - Respect to Studio One [Heartbeat]
"Once Upon A Time" - Jacob Miller - Top Ranking 45
"Love & Unity" - Ken Boothe - Beverly's 45
"Unite" - Ras Digby - Soul Beat 45
"The Toughest" - Vietnam All Stars - RIO 45
"Don't Stop The Music" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]

02 April 2011

Easy Star All Stars/The Green/Cas Haley at the Jefferson... review

It's been over ten years since Easy Star Volume One found its way into the studios of Charlottesville, Virginia's WTJU... thanks to the improbable migration of Lem Oppenheimer, one of the founding fathers of the New York-based label. It's also pretty safe to say that central Virginia is not the first place people think of when authentic roots reggae comes up in conversation... or becomes a town to host the infancy of yet another world tour extravaganza.
But, we sure got lucky, that way.

In the late 90s "roots" reggae was in something of a forgotten treasure: even then, so many of its defining performers had passed on too soon, and the fiscally-conservative and digital-driven Dancehall had pushed it into the shadows. Benzes, Bimmers and the Butterfly were a lot easier to "sell" than music that can make you "think while your feet just go" (to pervert a lyric by the once-popular Tom Tom Club, the Talking Heads spin-off that actually gave some recognition to the music).

Easy Star Records bucked that trend: In their back-to-basics approach, their first stroke of genius was building a bona fide "studio band" in the time-honored tradition of Jamaican music since the 1960s... and the examples set by Motown and Stax Records. Real instruments, real innovators, and roots realities... that was the stamp of approval, and what set them apart from the beginning. That first CD, mentioned above... fronted by Jamaican stars and talented newcomers, instantly raised the bar for reggae performers and studios, and signaled a return to what defines the music's greatness...

...and, it all came home to central Virginia, last night.

There are tour companions, and there are perfect bills. This current entourage is certainly the latter. All three of the acts featured in this newest set of troubadours have nailed down their performances early in the game, and, whether consciously created or not, reflect the world. Everybody, from everywhere. It's a mirror. It's an illustration of how reggae is inclusive, and speaks beyond its beginnings to a global feeling.

The opener, Cas Haley, won't ever be mistaken for Jamaican. He reminds me of people I know and see, everyday. And luckily, for me (one who rarely, if ever, watches commercial-infested, network television), his talents are brand new... and prodigious... and an excellent way to begin an evening.
Alone but for a syncopated and percussive acoustic guitar, his astonishing delivery and power ignited the enthusiasm of the ever-growing crowd with cut from his newest, Connection. A solo revelation... that is, until he was joined by the second act, Hawaii's The Green.

(I can't escape from injecting politics when it comes to reggae: it's the backbone of the music. If there are any doubts about how such an exotic location can spawn the genuine Word, Sound and Power and the feeling of the Wailers and Burning Spear (to name but a few), I can name a few books to correct that illusion: To Steal A Kingdom by Michael Dougherty, and, more recently, Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. Hawaii was not willingly made fiftieth State, to put it mildly.)

It may have escaped notice by many, but Hawaii has a rich, recent tradition in reggae music.
The Hawaiian Style Band (which included traditional Slack Key's First Family, the Pahinuis) and it's most notable alumnus, the late, great Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, set the tone... and, his adaptation of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" jumped from what some would consider a novelty into a worldwide smash. The aforementioned Pahinui Brothers. Sean Na'auao. THC. Robi Khakalau. Those were my first revelations... and that's just scratching the surface.
Tight, sweet harmony. Seamless, chest-thudding, crucial bass-and-drum interplay. Skank, scratch and soul of guitars and keys. Roots reggae and dancehall. Strong, all-original selections, without the need of an obligatory Bob Marley cover. That's what this newest generation has to offer. They're tireless... and a tough act for the headliners to follow.

That is, unless you're the Easy Star All Stars.

Having evolved from a crack studio outfit into amazing tour veterans, they've long since crossed over from "college" radio playlists into bigger radio venues. Tackling masterpieces by musical icons like Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and, incredibly, the Beatles seemed audacious, at first. This is music woven into our DNA.
But, they pulled it off: while staying true to the originals, re-routing the rhythms into a one-drop reggae beat wouldn't have been convincing without mastery in the traditional bass-drums-guitars-keyboards unit... and the genius of filling in what could have been "gaps" with swing and punctuation by one of the best two-piece brass sections out there.
It might be a stretch to call them a "super group"... but, with their pedigrees, not by much.

And, that's why people filled the beautiful, restored movie palace that is the Jefferson Theater.

But, we got more.

Yet to be released (unit April 5th), their newest project, First Light, is built of completely original music... and it was well worth the wait. Lucky enough to have a listen prior to release (and the opportunity to present it on "Reggae Vibrations, earlier that day), it's phenomenal from start-to-finish. But, I had first-impression favorites. Interwoven with the show's crowd-pleasers, there they were: the title track, "Don't Stop The Music", and particularly "Reggae Pension"... lifted up with a massive bassline, reminiscent of Beres Hammond's first solo gem, "Groovy Little Thing".

Oh, yes it was.

Whether by design or providence, the Easy Star crew has assembled a line-up that must be experienced. It's a testament to the singers and players that the live performance took their studio work to a whole new level, which is saying something. That's as it should be.

If they appear anywhere near where you are--Go. Find out for yourself.
The Heartbeat of Reggae Thrives.


If the Easy Star All Stars and revue come to your town... you'll be kicking yourself, forever, if you miss it. Check the podcast (or the WTJU Tape Vault link) for a personally satisfying show.

"Sounds And Pressure"
- Prince Buster [Prince Buster 45]
"One Likkle Draw" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]
"Stoned Out Of My Mind" - Mighty Diamonds - Channel One: Hitbound, The Revolutionary Sound [Heartbeat]
"Better Tomorrow" - Richie Spice - Better Tomorrow [VP]
"People Talk" - Etana - Free Expressions [VP]
"Blackman Redemption" - Meditations - Ghetto Knowledge [Easy Star]
"Forwarding Home" - Dub Is A Weapon - Vaporized [Harmonized]
"Persitence" - Dub Is A Weapon - Vaporized [Harmonized]
"Easy Now Star" - Meditations - First Light [Easy Star]
"Alive" - Trumystic - Dub Power [TMG]
"Never Gonna Give Jah Up" - Sugar Minott - Ghetto-ology [Easy Star]
"79 Rock" - Revolutionaries - Babylon Central [ESL]
"Wake Up" - The Green - The Green [SHD]
"Cookie Jar" - Iration - No Time For Rest [Fresh Grounds]
"Hi Town Ting" - THC - Jah Music [THC]
"I've Got The Handle" - Jacob Miller - Jacob Miller Meets The Fatman Riddim Section [EKO]
"Wariera Hill Rock" - Jacob Miller - Jacob Miller Meets The Fatman Riddim Section [EKO]
"Reggae Pension" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]
"Groovy Little Thing" - Beres Hammond - Beres Hammond [WKS]
"Don't You Know" - John Holt - Justice 45
"How Long Do I Have To Wait For You" - Sharon Jones - Ticklah remix [Daptone]
"Skafinger" - the Toasters - Enemy Of The System [Asian Man]
"Life In Living Colors" - Prince Buster - Prince Buster 45
"Tonight" - Keith & Tex - Stop The Train [Studio One]
"Dancing Shoes" - Bunny Wailer - Bunny Wailer Sings The Wailers [Mango]
"Don't Stop The Music" - Easy Star All Stars - First Light [Easy Star]