Joe Gibbs – Remembering the Hitmaker
by M. Peggy Quattro
March 17, 2008 – It was Feb. 21, 2008, and I had just arrived in Kingston for the Reggae Academy Awards. Riding in a taxi from the airport, I was surprised, and then stunned, when the driver suddenly muttered aloud, “Joe Gibb’ dead.” “What?,” I said, “for real?” “Yea mon…‘eart attack” he calmly replied. With another 20 minutes before reaching the hotel, I began to think about the man, Joe Gibbs – producer extraordinaire – and about the time I spent working alongside him at his record pressing plant in Opa Locka, Florida.
There is no doubt that Joe Gibbs will be remembered as one of the most preeminent producers in Reggae’s history. A hardcore entrepreneur who became a Reggae giant, Joe Gibbs was seemingly quiet, yet carried a gun, and feared no man…or woman. From the 60s, consistently through the 70s and 80s, Joe Gibbs surrounded himself with such great talents as Errol “Errol T” Thompson, Niney “the Observer” Holness, Bunny “Striker” Lee, and Lee “Scratch” Perry. Errol T and Joe formed a creative bond and were known as “The Mighty Two.” Together they revolutionized Reggae and Dub and packaged it for the world. Joe’s business and production sense, combined with ET’s outrageous engineering skills resulted in ground-breaking recordings.
Joe Gibbs’ name will be forever associated with Dennis “The Boy Wonder” Brown, producing most of the finest Reggae albums Brown ever made; every song a wonder. From D Brown’s early albums that included Words of Wisdom and The Prophet Rides Again, to the 1980 cross-over A&M Records Love Has Found a Way, with the international hit single of the same name, Joe Gibbs and Errol T super-charged the young singer’s career. With songs becoming hits, and records flying out the door, Joe Gibbs and Errol T changed the direction of Reggae music. Continue reading