Miami’s “Bad Boys” Nominated for ’94 Grammy
by Sara Gurgen
They won the Grammy for best 1993 Reggae album, and now Inner Circle–Miami’s world famous, hard-working “Bad Boys” of Reggae–have been nominated for the 1994 Grammy with their latest Big Beat/Atlantic release, Reggae Dancer.
“It’s doing excellent, man, everywhere in the world; and when I mean excellent, I mean excellent,” said band leader and rhythm guitarist, Roger Lewis, in a recent Miami interview during a brief respite from Inner Circle’s hectic touring schedule. “It is one of the biggest selling foreign albums in Japan. Over 300,000 albums [have sold] in Japan [as of Dec. 21]. Hundreds of thousands in Mexico. In Brazil, in Europe–very well. In America, it’s not doing too bad. I think we made it up to about 200,000 copies.”
One of the most satisfying cuts on Canadian DJ Snow’s new release, Murder Love, is a tale of his love affair with Reggae music called “Dream.” Here Snow reminisces about his days in Toronto’s Allenbury housing project, where he first became acquainted with Reggae through the friendships formed with the many Jamaicans who had moved into his area: Listen Shabba Ranks playing faintly from the speaker/I would eat mi curry chicken, that’s my favorite supper/If you think mi joke or lie, gwaan ask me mother/I would living on the island sweet, sweet Jamaica/Fish with Coco Tea down in the river/Hanging at the ghetto with me boy they call Ninja/No, but it’s only a dream.Continue reading →
Pato Banton and I are sitting atop the roof of the club where he is scheduled to perform in a few hours. Rather than conduct our interview in a stuffy tour bus or shout over the sound check taking place below, he obliges as I lead him through a cluttered storage room and up a make-shift ladder better suited for an acrobat than one of the most recognized names in Reggae. Below us, the seven members of his band, The Reggae Revolution, are tuning up and, one by one, joining in on a smoldering Dub of “Satta Amassagana.” We are watching a beautiful, and especially long, Santa Barbara sunset as the moon climbs high over the Pacific Ocean a few blocks away. He is nearing the end of an extensive three-month tour and looks forward to spending some time at home with his wife and two children, who are back in England. A few weeks away from his 33rd birthday, he seems as energetic and upful as ever.
Energetic and upful seem to define Pato Banton. He is like a constant whirlwind of touring and recording. As we sat down to talk, he is finishing up yet another North America tour, promoting a greatest hits package called Collections for long-time label, I.R.S. Records, and anticipating the worldwide release of the video for the album’s first song, “Baby Come Back” (a duet with bredren Robin and Ali Campbell of UB40).
A Conversation with his Mother… Cedella Marley Booker
Bob Marley: The Legend Lives On
By M. Peggy Quattro
(RR Publisher MPQ shares her 1st interview with Ms. B at her home in 1984) (A link to a portion of the interview audio is below!)
Walking around the grounds surrounding the great house in southwest Miami, you sense the peace and comfort Bob found there. MOTHER B, looking radiant and youthful following a loss of 60 odd pounds, cheerfully discusses her own interesting part in this lingering legend.
“In this great future, you can’t forget your past … so dry your tears I say…” (No Woman No Cry)
I listen attentively as MOTHER B proudly points to her growing garden explaining what is there… “there’s calaloo and sugar cane, a yam hill and pumpkin patch.” As she speaks you detect the knowledge, wisdom and love this woman has for the growing of food. And so it should be . . . as the daughter of a well-respected and gentle farmer, Mrs. B grew to learn and love planting and farming. Born and raised in St. Ann’s, a rural [Jamaican] parish, a youthful Cedella worked hard with her brothers and sisters in the field high up in the village of Rhoden Hall (Nine Mile). This is where BOB was born February 6, 1945, and it was at some point a few years later the two of them packed off for a new life “to town” (Kingston). Continue reading →
May 11, 1981 was another beautiful Miami Monday morning. The excitement and anxiousness of starting a new job made for some tense nerves, not uncommon with the unknown. I drove to the Datran Center in South Dade to begin my new chapter as Don Taylor’s Assistant Manager. I arrived shortly before my 10 a.m. start time. Don Taylor Artist Management (D.T.A.M.) managed Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Gregory Isaacs, and this was all a bit much for me to believe. I knew of and loved all three singers since my days living in Nürnberg, Germany in the 1970s; sadlyI also knew these were the final days for Bob Marley on this earthly plane. Tense nerves, indeed.
My initial meeting was with Betsy Berg, the young lady I would be replacing. I passed the first round of interviews with her and she highly recommended me to Don Taylor. That week leading up to my first day had me meeting a few times with Taylor, always on the phone. “Why do you want this job?” was the first question. “Because I love Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff… I love the message, the music, the call for the underdog to “get up, stand up.” S eriously. It was the truth. It worked.
From his fancy hotel room in LA, the street-smart Taylor, a self-made millionaire who grew up in a waterfront East Kingston ghetto, played hardball over salary negotiations with Quattro, the little Italian from Steel Town Ohio. Following a moment of me saying, “Ahhh…no thanks,” we finally (thankfully!) came to an agreement. He filled me in on Bob Marley’s current condition and let me know Jimmy Cliff was flying in that week. He mentioned returning to Miami the next morning and asked that I come in for a meeting. Continue reading →
by Karie Russell
Dancehall fans, here he is, the original Mr. “Gangalee” himself– Mr. “I wanna be free from all chains and all bangles and rope/Free from all bars and all borders and dope/Free to praise the Lord because mi naw praise the Pope/So mind how yuh a wash yuh face wid Babylon soap/I was born to be free ’cause mi a ole gangalee/Gangalee and who have eyes they will see” (taken from the hit song “Gangalee.”)
He’s also known as DJ Louie Culture, as that is the name he entered the music business with, but ever since he scored with his big hit, Dancehall fans, home and abroad, have branded him “Mr. Gangalee.” He’s very proud to wear this title, not only because he made it popular, but more so, because his belief in the concept of the word “gangalee” has been his main driving force to success.
Now, before driving you all nuts, here’s the history of the word and the man called Gangalee. Follow mi! “Gangalee” is an old Jamaican rural term for an unruly, uncontrollable, bad person. As old people would say, “A soon cool yuh ’cause yuh a gwan like yuh a gangalee.” Continue reading →
There are many unique things about the Reggae industry. One is the unusual monikers some artistes go by. For example, the list of artistes who make up Reggae’s “musical tool box.” There is Screwdriver, Pinchers (Jamaican slang for a bird-beak pliers,) and Pliers. And, of course, no tool box would be complete without a spanner (wrench)–as in singer Spanner Banner.
Now, apart from being both linked with this tool box scenario, Spanner Banner and Pliers are otherwise connected on two counts. They are brothers and they are both signed to the same recording company, Island Jamaica.
Pliers’ career is already somewhat successfully cemented as he is part of the “wicked” hit duo, Chaka Demus & Pliers, who has had such hit songs as “Murder She Wrote” and “Tease Me,” which went gold, selling some 400,000 copies.
Spanner Banner (born Feb. 6, 1959, in Rock Hall, St. Andrew, and christened Joseph Bonner), on the other hand, has not been as successful as his brother; but he has, and is having, his fair share of success as a singer and songwriter. Continue reading →