sounds of Jamaica
Burning Spear, live, Paris, 1988
John Holt, singer, songwriter, July 11, 1947-October 19, 2014
Paragons (John Holt, lead vocals), “The Tide Is High” (J. Holt), 1967
sounds of Brazil & Jamaica
Slavish imitation. Contrived reinvention. Tributes usually leave me wondering why they even bothered. Not this.
Gilberto Gil (1942-), Tribute to Bob Marley, live, Brazil (Sao Paulo), 2001
Grace Jones with Sly & Robbie, “My Jamaican Guy”
Live, Jamaica (Kingston), late ’80s
Bunny Rugs (AKA Bunny Clarke, William Clarke), singer
February 6, 1948-February 2, 2014
Live (with Sly & Robbie), “Revolution,” “Love Is Blind,” New York, 2013
Live (with Third World), “Now That We Found Love,” Los Angeles, 2013
Recording (Lee Perry, prod.), “Be Thankful,” 1975
Alton Ellis (1938-2008), “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”
First day of spring—
I keep thinking about
the end of autumn.
—Matsuo Basho (1644-1694, translated from Japanese by Robert Hass)
The Heptones, “Book of Rules”
This bass line I could live in all day.
Live, London (Jazz Cafe), 2009
WKCR Proudly Presents: The Jamaican Independence Festival
Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 28th, 2012, WKCR will broadcast 43 hours of music from Jamaica spanning the development of more than 50 years of recorded music. August 6, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence from Great Britain. The emergence of Jamaica’s modern recording industry began in the late 1950s followed by the emergence of ska in the early 60s. Ska was the first in a continuum of music genres–rock steady, reggae, dub, lover’s rock, and dancehall–that would have global influence in the next 50 years. The WKCR Jamaican Independence Festival will celebrate this musical and cultural legacy through a 43 hour broadcast running until 3 a.m. Monday, July 30th.
The dates of the festival fall between Jamaican Independence Day and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s birthday on July 23rd. Saturday evening, a segment of the festival will focus on Rastafarian music specifically. The Rastafarian movement, which began in Jamaica in the 1930s after Ras Tafari Makonnen’s coronation as Haile Selassie, was a major cultural force in the Jamaican recording industry as many musicians were Rastafarians. The festival will celebrate the Jamaican community, and educate the larger New York audience in preparation for other cultural events the following week. The festival will be segmented to illustrate specific developments in genres, and periods of Jamaican music. Iconic artists whose influence deserves recognition will receive special one-hour profiles, and Sunday evening will feature a live, in-studio performance by the Brooklyn-based Full Watts Band, which specializes in rock steady and early reggae.
Here is a full schedule of the festival:
8-10 Festival Reggae / Independence Songs
12-14 Reggae Got Soul
14-19 Tributes to Deceased Icons: Alton Ellis, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, Bob Marley/Peter Tosh 1 hour each.
19-21 Early Dancehall/Rubadub/Early 80’s Sound
21-23 Guest (stay tuned for details)
23-(1 Sunday) Rastafari
(23 Saturday)-1 Rastafari
1-3 Deejay Style
3-6 Digital Reggae
8-10 Jamaican Gospel
12-14 Rocksteady/Early Reggae
14-20 Tributes to Living Icons: Bunny Wailer, Bob Andy, Ken Booth, Leroy Sibles, John Holt, Jimmy Cliff 1 hour each.
20-22 Full Watts Band Live Set/Interview
22-(1 Monday) Harmony Groups
(22 Sunday)-1 Harmony Groups
1-3 Dub Till Dawn
The Wailers, live, Los Angeles, 1973*
Music comes up more often in my work as a criminal defense lawyer than you might think. Recently I devoted a lot of time to a case involving a Jamaican guy, a sweet-tempered 64-year-old Rasta, who was charged with a federal immigration offense. It helped a lot, early in our relationship, to be able to talk about seeing Bob Marley in the mid-70s at a small Chicago club (Quiet Knight). And when I’d see him at the jail, talking about music (Marley, Sugar Minott, Gregory Isaacs, et al.) gave us a way to leave behind, if only briefly, the concrete walls and the locked doors and the glass window separating us. (At his sentencing hearing earlier this week, the judge, rejecting the prosecutor’s call for a minimum of 70 months’ incarceration, gave him 30 months, meaning, with credit for time served and “good time,” he’ll do less than a year.)
*In 1974, following the departure of Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer (AKA Bunny Livingston), the band became known as Bob Marley and the Wailers.
trying to teach white folks
This Is Ska! (1964)
Real Messages from Heaven
—book title (Books-A-Million, 144 S. Clark St., Chicago)
more favorites from the past year
Dub shows aren’t an everyday thing in Chicago, so last night, despite the weather (rain) and weariness (from traveling to see a client in prison), I ventured out to a club to catch this guy. A show like this isn’t just an aural experience: each beat of the bass vibrates your ribcage.
Mad Professor (AKA Neil Fraser, born 1955, Guyana)
Live, London, 2011Vodpod videos no longer available.
Live remix, Bob Marley and the Wailers, “Lively Up Yourself,” c. 2008Vodpod videos no longer available.
(Originally posted 9/19/11.)
Life thickens as you get older, becoming more layered. The other night, for instance, listening to Mad Professor dub Bob Marley at a club on Chicago’s south side (Reggie’s, State near Cermak), I found it hard not to think of another night over thirty years ago, of another club on the other side of town (Quiet Knight, Belmont near Clark, now gone), of hearing Bob Marley not dubbed but live.
Bob Marley and the Wailers, “Trenchtown Rock”
Live, Chicago (Quiet Knight), 1975
(Originally posted 9/20/11.)