This blog is livicated to Jamaican music, and more specifically music produced during what I call the Golden Age of Reggae, during the 1974-1984 decade, give or take a couple of years. From time to time, I’ll also toss in stuff I’ve been fortunate to produce in Jamaica for the last 2 decades. During that period, Jamaica seems to have been touched by the Most High, who seems like He decided that this small island of 2,5 million would produce supremely awesome musicians, singers, DJs, invent new musical styles and trends that would spread throughout the whole planet Earth. All of that with barely any money, despite opposition from the authorities, etc…
I LOVE Roots Reggae music, I LOVE Dub, I love Rubadub, Rockers, etc… I LOVE the Revolutionaries, the Roots Radics, the Taxi Gang, the Aggrovators, Skin Flesh and Bone, the Upsetters, the Wailers (of course), Crystallites, etc… Gregory, Dennis, Bob, Peter, Bunny, Sugar, Spear, Culture, Gladiators, Yellowman, Shabba Ranks, U Roy, Abyssinians, Third World and hundreds of others: they come from Jamaica, they represent Jamaica. No-one, absolutely nobody from outside Jamaica has come near what these giants have achieved from a musical, cultural and spiritual standpoint.
Reggae made in Jamaica absolutely rules. Sure there are good British, American, African or European artists who play Reggae, but for the record, they are nowhere near what has come out of Jamaica. Just check out the billing on the Reggae festival poster below. Marvel (or drool, or both) at the absolutely stellar list of artists.
So please, don’t bore me with non-Jamaican artists. This blog is not where you’ll hear about them: no, this blog is proudly sectarian, so to speak, and deals with JA-MA-I-CAN artists, producers, my personal pantheon.
Jamaica gave birth to Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Dancehall in less than 30 years.
Skatalites, Soul Vendors, Supersonics, Wailers, Revolutionaries, Agrovators, Sly & Robbie, Roots Radics, Steelie & Clevie… Supreme musicians who produced supreme music for supreme singers and DJ’s,
Alton Ellis, John Holt, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Gladiators, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Culture, Yellowman, U Roy, Big Youth, Shabba Ranks, the list goes on and on and on… Supremely awesome songs, tens of thousands of them. Thousands of lesser knowns, as enjoyable as the big men.
Third World summarized this truly amazing feat achieved by this poor Caribbean island in “Reggae Ambassadors”
So everywhere I jam, it’s the same question
How can a big music come from a little island
When the music play it leave them in a state of shock
The big, big music from the little rock
Jamaica is blessed and has blessed the World with beauty, grace, rhythm, melody and nothing but positive vibes.
There is nothing like being in a recording studio in Kingston and watch giants like Sly and Robbie and their longtime musical compadres create yet another new riddim. They are beautiful people creating beautiful sounds. Song after song, they are unflinching in their commitment to craft beautiful riddims after beautiful riddim after beautiful riddim. Quietly, humbly, nicely, they are the epitome of cool. Their beats are HEAVY! They make millions of humans dance, laugh, smile, hug, kiss, make babies. The World needs many many more of them.
It is a real blessing to have met people like Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott, Bunny Rugs, Joseph Hill before they departed this planet.
It is a pleasure to be able to book a studio in Kingston, gather fantastic “players of instruments” like Sly, Robbie, Dougie, Mao, Lenky, Robbie Lyn, Sticky, Nambo, and watch them create fabulous music.
“That” Reggae music is slowly disappearing, and is being replaced by “ersatz”-Reggae from either Jamaica or Europe, the Americas, and, now, Asia. I don’t really care for this ersatz, however well it sells, however it appeals to kids who could be my children. I am a traditionalist, the only Reggae I really care for was created by Jamaicans in the second half of the 70’s. I love other musics, Shabba, Yellowman, etc… they are great, but I don’t “LOVE” what they do like I LOVE what Familyman was playing, like what Horsemouth Wallace was recording.
Sly & Robbie are the only ones left from that golden age who are still very active nowadays. They can still play music like it was played 30-40 years ago and I am glad they accepted me and record music that TABOU1 puts out for others to enjoy.