Here on my Reggae Blog I want to introduce you to my favorite artists and albums, write about recent concerts and hopefully will be inspired to discover new music through your comments and in turn inspire you to check out some of the most amazing tunes ever to be recorded.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

So I just came back from the Ziggy Marley Show. Do I have to say it was awesome? I thought not. His little brother Julian was opening for him and he was great also. Julian will also be performing at the Summerjam this year, so better watch out Germany! It will be a blast…

But let’s start from the beginning: a couple of friends stopped by my place at about 7 and we hung out for a while getting ready for the show. On the short drive to the Barrymore Theatre we were listening to a band called the Sidesteppers, very interesting music. As soon as I get a copy of the album I will have to write a little review. Well, getting there was easy, getting parking not quite so easy. Nevertheless, we made it inside just in time before Julian took the stage. The place was packed! I had been at the venue a couple of times before but I have never seen it this full. And that on a Wednesday night. There was nowhere to go on the first floor so we headed up to the balcony. I usually don’t like sitting that far from the stage but the sound was great up there and we could see really well.

I have to say, I really liked Julian a lot. The band sounded really tight, especially the drummer. And he has all the moves of his dad and sounds a lot like him as well. I guess all of his recording sons do, but seeing him from up there… a very good imitation to say the least. I tried to remember the songs they played, but as I was reasonably sedated there was no way I could keep up with that. He did start of with Running Away, followed by a couple of his own songs that I liked a lot. Then he got rid of his guitar for two songs, and the niiveau of the music dropped considerably. The same proved to be true later on with Ziggy as well. However, soon enough his guitar was back in business and the music got a little funkier again. Very nice version of Stir it up in the middle of the set. Unfortunately after just under an hour of music and a great version of Exodus, Julian left the stage and we were facing a little break. This had the positive side effect that the crowd moved out into the lobby, so we could proceed to snatch away some nice seats just behind the soundboard. I still find it weird to have old cinemas or theatres as venues with the seating still in place. I have never seen something like this in Europe but over here it’s very common, at least in Madison and Chicago.

After maybe 20 minutes, Ziggy took the stage. People were happy, I was happy. Ziggy has a great stage presence, very charismatic. A lot like his dad, at least from what I can tell from the videos I have seen (Why was I born so late???) The only other time I saw Ziggy Marley was at the Summerjam a couple of summers ago. I love it when he sings Bob’s songs, but most of his own stuff I can not really get into. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice music, but it just does not blow me away. There was one song that was really good though, I was trying to remember what it was called, but… Anyways it was the song were Ziggy introduced the band, maybe somebody knows the name of the song? His band featured a Japanese guitar player that was KICK ASS! He played some awesome solos. Other highlights of his set, again from my Bob bias, were War / No more trouble, Concrete Jungle and as a final encore together with Julian a nice and long version of Jamming. This band was also really rocking and there were a lot of instances were they were just jamming away for a little while.

For more information on the Marley kids check out the Melodymakers website. I will post this review there as well. I was going to try and get a set-list and or recording of the show for the webmaster of said site, who I talked to in the Summerjam Forum, but I failed. Sorry Julian!


Monday, March 08, 2004

Other good news from arround the world: Horace Andy is coming to the Summerjam!!!!!!

As with so many reggae artists, Studio One helped Horace Andy to make himself a name as a singer with several singles and records he cut for Studio One producer Clement Dodd (who also gave him his stage name), notably such songs as "Skylarking"(which is listed on position 15 in a chart compiled from the weekly JBC charts of 1972), "See A Man's Face" and "Every Tongue Shall Tell". Another Studio One classic is "Mr.Bassie", his respect to bassist and member of The Heptones, Leroy Sibbles.
Very soon many of the leading producers wanted to make records with Sleepy, as Horace Andy is also known. He then recorded - among others - for Phil Pratt again ("Money is the Root of all Evil", "Tag Along" and "Let The Teardrops Fall"), for Derrick Harriot ("Lonely Woman") and extensively for Bunny Lee ("You are my Angel").
In 1977 Horace Andy teamed up with New York based producer Everton DaSilva and from this collaboration comes the outstanding set "In the Light", which was produced together by Andy and DaSilva. Tragically this partnership, which also gave birth to a bunch of singles and 12", came to a sudden end when Everton DaSilva was murdered in 1979.
During the Eighties Horace Andy continued releasing music on a regular basis both in Jamaica(among others for Jammy, Sly & Robbie and Bobby Digital) and in the USA on his own Rhythm imprint and for 'indie'-label Rough Trade. A highlight of this period is the album "Dance Hall Style", one of two records Horace did with producer Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes.
In 1990 he was approached by Bristol-based hitmakers Massive Attack to join them for recordings. Since then he contributed vocals to all of Massive Attack's records and they even reworked some of his earlier tunes. Other work of the 90s are two sets produced by Mad Professor and various singles with drum & bass partnership Mafia & Fluxy in Kingston, JAM.

Here is some information for a couple of the albums I own:

Skylarking(1972, Studio One)
1.Where Do The Children Play 2.Just Say Who 3.Love Of A Woman 4.Skylarking 5.Mammie Blue 6.Please Don't Go 7.Every Tongue Shall Tell 8.Something's On My Mind 9.See A Man's Face 10.Don't Cry 11.I'll Be Gone 12.Got To Be Sure
This review on the album is taken from the book The Rough Guide To Reggae, which is written by Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton:
The best of Horace Andy's material at Brentford Road is collected here. He has recorded several of the songs more than once - including "Every Tongue Shall Tell", "Just Say Who", "See A Man's Face", "Something's On My Mind" and "I'll Be Gone" - and it is a tribute to his interpretative powers that in most cases all the versions are essential. Few Jamaican singers have possessed such an original style, or been as influential, and though he might have matched the music here with later recordings, he never superseded its heartfelt qualities.

In the Light(1977, Hungry Town, reissue 1995, Blood & Fire)
1.Do You Love My Music 2.Hey There Woman 3.Government Land 4.Leave Rasta 5.Fever 6.In The Light 7.Problems 8.If I 9.Collie Herb 10.Rome
The album received an "Essential"-rating in the Rough Guide To Reggae. This review on the album is taken from the book The Rough Guide To Reggae, which is written by Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton:
Complementary vocal and dub sets originally released on Everton DaSilva's Hungry town label, and much-sought-after by collectors before being brought together for this handy double LP/single CD. Even a recut of "Fever" stands comparison with the original, while the title track, "Problems"(not the lyrics he recorded for Santic) and "Government Land" are simply awesome. Prince Jammy's deconstruction of the vocal set confirms the heavyweight nature of the original rhythm tracks, as well as bringing out some even 'dreader' textures.

In the Light Dub(1995, Blood & Fire)
1.Music Dub 2.Dub There 3.Government Dub 4.Rasta Dub 5.Fever Dub 6.Dub The Light 7.Problems Dub 8.I & I 9.Collie Dub 10.Dub Down Rome
This is the companion dub set to the above record, mixed by Prince Jammy.

Dance Hall Style(1982, Wackie's)
1.Money Money 2.Cuss Cuss 3.Eating Mess 4.Stop The Fuss 5.Spying Glass 6.Lets Live In Love
The album received an "Essential"-rating in the Rough Guide. This review on the album is taken from the book The Rough Guide To Reggae, which is written by Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton:
The Wackie's approach proved particularly suited to Horace Andy's individual vocal style. Given that he played a major role in the building of the rhythms - playing bass, and both rhythm and lead guitar - it is perhaps not too surprising that his fragile but moving voice has few better contexts in which to express itself. Even the re-recordings of old favourites - his own "Money money" and "Lonely Woman", as well as Lloyd Robinson's "Cuss Cuss" - manage to sound inspired, and the fresh material is their equal.

Life is for Living(1995, Ariwa) - his first collaboration with Mad Professor
1.Life Is For Living 2.What A Day 3.Must Be Jah 4.Nah Dis You 5.Never Deceive You 6.Rebel 7.Do Your Work 8.Armageddon 9.Zion I 10.Dem A Fraud 11.Dub Is Bad

Mr.Bassie(1998, Heartbeat)
1.Fever 2.Mr.Bassie 3.Mother And Child Reunion 4.Conscious Dreadlocks 5.Oh Lord, Why Lord 6.Child Of The Ghetto 7.Ain't No Sunshine 8.New Broom 9.Come Into My Life 10.I May Never See My Baby 11.See A Man's Face 12.Slack Tidy 13.Just Don't Want To Be Lonely 14.Funny Man
This set is another collection of Studio One material. It brings together some of the obvious classic hits like "Fever ", "Mr. Bassie " and "New Broom ", two previously unreleased tracks( " Funny Man ", "Come Into My Life ") and the rare "Slack Tidy " on the classic "Throw Me Corn "- rhythm.

Skylarking(1997, Melankolik/Caroline)
1.Spying Glass 2.Natty Dread A Weh She Want 3.Rock To Sleep 4.One Love(w/ Massive Attack) 5.Don't Let Problems Get You Down 6.Fever 7.Children Of Israel 8.Money Money 9.Girl I Love You 10.Elementary 11.Every Tongue Shall Tell 12.Skylarking 13.Do You Love My Music 14.Spying Glass (w/ Massive Attack)

Living In The Flood(1999, Melankolic/Virgin)
1.After All 2.Smiling Face 3.Juggling 4.My Lord 5.Seven Seals 6.Johnny Too Bad 7.Doldrums 8.Right Time 9.True Love 10.Living In The Flood 11.Girl Of My Dreams 12.Some People 13.Don't Blame The Children

Feel Good All Over: Anthology 1970-1976 (2002, Trojan)
1. I May Never See My Baby (Anymore) 2. I Feel Good All Over 3. Lonely Woman 4. Thank You Lord 5. You Are My Angel 6. Gonna Keep on Trying (Until I Win Your Love) 7. Ain't No Sunshine 8. Can I Change My Mind
9. Don't Break Your Promise 10. Dream Lover 11. John Saw Them Coming 12. Riding for a Fall 13. Rain from the Skies 14. Where Did Love Go (Illiteracy) 15. (Woman) Don't Try to Use Me 16. Tag Along 17. Let the Teardrops Fall 18. Today Youth (AKA Youth of Today) 19. Love Ja Ja Children 20. Don't Think About Me
21.Satan Side (AKA Peter & Judas) 22. God Is Displeased 23. I Don't Want to Be Outside 24. Get Wise
25. Zion Gate 26. Letter to Mummy and Daddy 27. Better Collie 28. Better Collie Version 29. No Man Is an Island 30. (We Got To) Forward Home 31. Nice and Easy 32. Nice and Easy Dub 33. Serious Thing 34. Something on My Mind 35. Just Say Who (AKA Who Baby) 36. Sky Larking 37. Man to Man 38. Love of a Woman 39. Bless You 40. Money, Money (AKA the Root of All Evil) 41. My Guiding Star 42. True Love Shines Bright 43. Materialist 44. Poor Man Style 45. Psalm 68 46. Dub 68

I will write some personal reviews some other time.
Wow, I have not written anything for quite some time, not at all this month of March. Last week I was very busy and then I spend the weekend in Chicago visiting some old friends. And I did not come home empty handed either, I borrowed my friends DVD player for a while. This means that I can finally watch all the nice movies I got lately.

Tonight is movie night and I will share some thoughts about them with you. The movies are The Unlimited Destruction, a documentary about Lee Perry; and Countryman, a sort of Jamaican action movie from 1982 with the ultimate Rasta Voodoo Rambo in it. Sounds implausible? Well you’re right, but this comparison still makes some sense as you will see should you ever watch the movie…

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – The Unlimited Destruction

The Unlimited Destruction is a relatively recent (1990) documentary about Lee Perry. Unfortunately there are no subtitles, or I am just too stupid to find them. As you might imagine Perry is not easy to understand in an interview. He’s a very fun man, though. Whenever you can’t quite understand what he is saying it is still a lot of fun to see him talk.

The live notes (only slightly edited and heavily spell checked…)
It shows Perry at his home in Zurich, Switzerland. I can only imagine seeing him walking around downtown! Planting ganja plants in his garden! That’s why he chose Switzerland, I guess. If you have ever seen a picture of the inside of the Black Ark studio, be assured his taste of decoration has not changed in the last 20 years. Man, he does not like talking about Bob and the Wailers. People must annoy him with those sorts of questions a lot. He keeps drinking Champagne throughout the interview. His girlfriend is drinking it with ice-cubes.
Well, now I am seeing him walking around downtown Switzerland and people seem to be more curious about the camera than Scratch. No, just kidding. I definitely like the music those guys choose, I think there is a tack overview on the disc. Gotta check it out at the end of the movie.
Trippy, Scratch builds himself some new costumes outdoors and rambles about the moon while rolling another spliff. I am not Jamaican, I am African. I am an African Shaman. I have invisible wings here. (lifts arms). Then, a little later, he just freestyles for a minute. That man can chat!
He has mirrors everywhere, especially in his garden and on his body. He really likes the mirrors, and he likes to play with them.
On the car ride to the embassy he makes fun of ‘Nothing compares’ by Shinhead O’Conner. It’s not a good song; he has every right to do so. Why do they go to the embassy? Do I find out? No.
Then the movie is already over, just under 48 minutes over all. The video is a very low key, amateurish quality recording. Nevertheless, it’s worth seeing for the true Perry fan.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the interviews:
I take over NY City, I take over the Statue of Liberty. With my fucking bullshit (turns and shows his ass).
I take over Germany, I take over the airline. I take over Lufthansa… with Ganja,
(Why do you like children so much?) Cause I am from the children’s world. And I am defending the children’s world.
Sex is Dub.
Music can do anything, there is nothing music can’t do. – Lee Perry

“As a producer, there is none in the world…
If you put him against producers like Quincy Jones and those guys he make them look like rubbish.
I have nough respect for Quincy Jones […] but it’s no comparison, cause Mr. Perry he can produce a very good Soul record, and he produce the best in Reggae. I don’t think Quincy Jones can produce a good Reggae record.” - Dr. Alimantado

The track list is just exactly that, a track list. No songs to listen to or additional information. The tracks correspond to the Lost Treasures of the Ark Box. A good collection but I don’t have it here so I will have to postpone writing about it.


I am too lazy to summarize the plot myself, but here is the plot outline from palmpictures:
Co-written and directed by Dickie Jobson, Countryman was the highest-grossing Jamaican film ever when it was released in 1982. Countryman is the story of a fisherman, whose solitary existence is shattered when an airplane crashes into a nearby swamp. By rescuing two young Americans from the wreckage, the fisherman, Countryman, becomes an unwitting player in a political plot devised by the power-hungry Colonel Sinclair. The couple and Countryman, branded by Sinclair as enemy agents, are forced to flee into the Jamaican wilderness. The peaceful Rastafarian hero shows the Americans his knowledge of the land and sea.

I also found this comment on the net:
If you're into Rastafarianism, Reggae (5-star soundtrack, Bob Marley, etc.), and/or seek to explore the cultural dichotomy of rural Jamaican life juxtaposed against the oppression of the city and the government, 'Countryman' is a buzz. In vague brief, it's the story of two American plane crash victims who are rescued and then further aided by a rasta fisherman while they are being hunted by desparate Jamaican authorities for bogus political reasons. There is a mystical element that will bring you great satisfaction if you tend to favor underdogs in struggles against repression and brutality. For those who have had the experience of the ‘spleef’, be prepared to smile and nod knowingly during the "dinner" scene.

In the end, Countrymen is just a cheesy 80s ‘action’ movie, but it has a Jamaican flair to it that makes it very refreshing and great to watch. It can not impress with extravagant special effects but it uses the means it has very effectively, especially considering none of them are actors. A scene where a rather old man in a prison cell says “But I don’t think they beat me any more. Them finished with me now. (What did you tell them?) Nothing Jah, for I know not of that man, and they have seen the light of that truth” can be just as effective as a rough action scene.

There is also a making off on the DVD which is really interesting. Interviews with the director, the ‘actors’ as well as Chris Blackwell, who picked the soundtrack. Except for Hiram Keller, who plays the guy crashing the plane and causing all the trouble everybody is either an amateur actor, or like the majority of characters, has never acted before or since. For those interested here is some information on Hirams career. Nothing too exciting i guess.

Also in case you are curious about the track list of the soundtrack:

1. Natural Mystic - Bob Marley
2. Rastaman Chant - Bob Marley
3. Theme from Countryman - Wally Badarou
4. Rat Race - Bob Marley
5. Jah Live - Bob Marley
6. Ramble - Rico
7. Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock) - Bob Marley
8. Sound System - Steel Pulse
9. Mosman Skank - Aswad
10. Small Axe - Bob Marley
11. Sitting and Watching - Dennis Brown
12. Bam Bam
13. Ooh! Aah! - Fabulous 5
14. Wisdom - Jah Lion
15. Carry Us Beyond
16. Dreadlocks in Moonlight - Lee "Scratch" Perry
17. Time Will Tell - Bob Marley
18. Theme from Countryman - Rebop Kwaku Baah
19. Pass It On - Bob Marley
20. Guidance - Wally Badarou
21. Obeah Man Dub - Wally Badarou
22. Theme from Countryman - Wally Badarou

That's it for movies.

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