Category Archives: Bands & Groups – All

Choose your favorite Band or Group to learn more about their place in 80s & 90s #ReggaeHistory

Bob Marley Interview – After the Boston Show 1980

By Lee O’Neill    *Updated 2020
V11#3 1993

As Bob Marley and the Wailers took their positions on stage for a 1980 Boston concert [at Hynes Auditorium,] they resembled a tribe of Biblical prophets carrying electric guitars. Red, gold, and green spotlights shined on the different members of the band, from the patriarchal percussionist Seeco Patterson to guitarist Al Anderson dressed in military fatigues.

The leader of the tribe walked to the center microphone in complete darkness and slowly began the song “Natural Mystic.” A spotlight finally landed on Bob Marley, whose long dreadlocks suggested a lion’s mane, and the mood for the show was fixed. Whether they knew it or not and whether they liked it or not, the Boston audience was being drawn into a spiritual experience.

Bob Marley with the Commodores, Madison Square Garden, 1980

I had the opportunity to interview Marley several hours after that September 1980 concert. It was to be one of his last. The Wailers [then] traveled to Providence, Rhode Island, for a show at Brown University and went from there to New York. *Following two extraordinary shows at Madison Square Gardens, where the Wailers finally performed before a predominantly African-American audience while outshining the Commodores, Marley collapsed while jogging in Central Park. The extent of his illness became apparent. The Wailers made their final appearance in Pittsburgh a few days later. Continue reading

Puma Jones on Black Uhuru   V4#5 1986

Puma Jones  “It’s Only the Beginning…” 

Interview & Story M. Peggy Quattro
Puma Jones of Black Uhuru
UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 18: GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL Photo of BLACK UHURU, Puma Jones of Black Uhuru at Glastonbury Festival 18 June 6 1982 (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

Puma Jones is the American-born female vocalist in the 1984 Grammy Award-winning trio Black Uhuru. One of the first women to break into Reggae’s “Big Time,” Puma proudly acknowledges her position as a forerunner in the recent surge of female recording artists filling international charts today.

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, on October 5, 1953, Puma migrated to New York in the ‘60s, where she grew up listening to Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick. Continue reading

Damian Marley & Third World Share Video From Grammy-Nominated Album

By Pat Meschino (Billboard, Dec. 4, 2019)

When asked to recall the first time he heard Third World’s music, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, who has known many of the legendary band’s members since he was a baby, briefly paused before responding. “It’s hard to say the exact moment because I was so young,” Damian said, “but it must have been at Cat’s house (Third World guitarist/cellist/vocalist Stephen “Cat” Coore, the father of Shiah Coore, Damian’s lifelong friend and bassist in his band). I remember Cat would come home from the studio where he was working on an album and play the music, I remember seeing album covers, the plaques the band had received. Really, Third World’s music has had a presence throughout my whole life.”

For several years, Damian had wanted to produce an album for the band with the intent of introducing their music to a younger demographic. However, with their respective hectic schedules, finding a mutually convenient time frame to write and record proved somewhat challenging. But the outstanding result, More Work to Be Done (out on the Marley family’s Ghetto Youths International imprint), was well worth the wait. “Third World had many songs they were working on; because they are top-notch musicians, they were all good songs, but those songs wouldn’t have accomplished my goal of moving them into this new generation of music,” Damian, a four-time Grammy winner, told Billboard on the phone from his Miami studio. “We had discussions about re-approaching some of the songs, even the songwriting, so we almost started the album from scratch halfway through working on it. We had songwriting sessions together, came up with ideas and developed what was most attractive to us. That’s what you are hearing on the album.”

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Third World & Damian Marley New Video for Grammy-nominated Album

INNER CIRCLE GRAMMY NOD V13#2 1995

2019 UPDATE: Congratulations to brothers Ian and Roger Lewis, co-founders of the Grammy-winning band Inner Circle, on receiving Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (the government’s sixth-highest civic honor) at a King’s House ceremony on October 21, 2019, in Kingston. Honored for Inner Circle’s more than 50-year musical contributions, their iconic lead singer Jacob Miller was also recognized and awarded, and his son Taki Miller accepted posthumously on his behalf.

Here is a Reggae Report interview and story by writer and editor Sara Gurgen after catching up with bandleader Roger Lewis following Inner Circle’s 1994 Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album (they won that Grammy in 1993!)

INNER CIRCLE – 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 songs on the album that has been released worldwide and doing very well is “Games People Play.” “It was not really a success in America, but ‘Games People Play’ was literally a hit single everywhere else in the world,” explained Roger. “It was a top 10 song in about 10 countries in Europe. It didn’t really go No. 1 and do what “Sweat” did, but it was top 10 in Holland, in Germany, in Scandinavia, in Brazil; and it was No. 1 in Japan.” Continue reading

Inner Circle – ’94 Grammy Nomination – V13#02 1995

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.”

INNER CIRCLE
INNER CIRCLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SKATALITES’ TOMMY McCOOK V12#09 1994

A Conversation with Original Skatalites’s Tommy McCook

by Lee O’Neill

It would not be an exaggeration to call the Skatalites the first superstars of Jamaican music. Not only the house band for Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One label and Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label (along with dozens of others), they were also Jamaica’s hottest live act at the peak of the Ska era. As individuals, they played on nearly every song of significance in the early ’60s, defined the Ska style, and became the core of the bands that would create Rock Steady. It would be no exaggeration to say that the roots of Reggae begin with the Skatalites.

I was fortunate enough to speak with Tommy McCook, leader and tenor sax player for the Skatalites and founder of Rock Steady’s Supersonics, shortly before the release of the Skatalites newest album, Hi-Bop Ska. The album features Prince Buster and Toots Hibbert on vocals, along with guest artists from the contemporary Jazz world–well-known names like Monty Alexander, Lester Bowie, David Murray and Steve Turre. It brings the music full circle to reconnect the sound of Jazz with the original Ska sound. That should come as no surprise to those familiar with McCook, because, as he told me, “Jazz is my first love.” Continue reading