Category Archives: Legends & Singers – All

The pioneers & icons of the early days of Reggae!

Garnet Silk – An Interview at his Kingston Home 1994 

This interview was held on January 13, 1994, at Garnet’s Kingston home. The visit was as warm and memorable as the 27-year-old singer himself. Tragically, by year’s end, Garnet perished in a fire alongside his mother at his childhood home. I cherish my time spent with this humble, delightful, kind human being who possessed childlike joy and a smile that touched everyone he met. Rest in power, dear soul…your music, message and memory live on.   ~M. Peggy Quattro

Garnet Silk – A Son of Ethiopia

By M. Peggy Quattro      V12#2 1994
Words in double brackets [[ ]] signify updated 2020 material ~MPQ

Garnet Silk at Home, Kingston 1994The highly anticipated return of Garnet Silk to the performing stage was purposefully planned to coincide with the birthday celebration of his good friend, DJ Tony Rebel. On January 15, 1994, Rebel Salute was staged in the cool and lovely city of Mandeville, situated in their home parish of Manchester, Jamaica.

In July 1993, following his doctor’s orders, the popular singer/songwriter took a needed hiatus from his rigorous performing and recording schedule. The reason given: exhaustion. [more later in this interview]

The Early Days

Garnet Silk exploded on the Jamaican music scene in 1991 and soon became the most in-demand performer on the island. A steady stream of shows and performances, tours and recordings throughout ‘92 and most of ‘93 took its toll on the performer. To begin the new year, and a new era in his dazzling career, Garnet Silk appears rested and ready to resume his appointed rule as musical message giver.

Garnet Silk
Garnet with photo of HIM Haile Selassie, his inspiration for life

Every song released by Silk in the last two years has attracted rave reviews and considerable airplay in Jamaica and abroad. His unique vocal styling and charismatic presentations have him marked by music industry personnel and fans alike as the “next Bob Marley.”

At Garnet’s Kingston Home

I recently had the pleasure of visiting and interviewing the serious yet mild-mannered Silk during rehearsals and preparation for his triumphant comeback performance at Rebel Salute. This interview is part of the comeback. Continue reading

Toots & the Maytals Awarded Reggae Grammy Posthumously

THE TOUGHEST

By Kevin Jackson, Jamaica Observer

Second Grammy win for Toots and The MaytalBy Kevin Jackson, Jamaica ObsERVER

Toots RIP by Lee Abel

March 15, 2021 – Singer Leba Hibbert is overjoyed that Got to Be Tough, the last studio album released by Toots and The Maytals, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album yesterday.

The event was held virtually at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The band’s leader was her father, Toots Hibbert, who died last September due to complications from COVID-19.

“This is so bittersweet. He died and didn’t get to accept the award himself. However, we are celebrating his win and we are grateful,” Hibbert, who also provided back-up duties for her father, told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the announcement

“This signifies more recognition to my father’s work and more fans. This is a great record and the songs speak about the times that we are living in. I’d say his win is historical,” she added.

Another of Hibbert’s children, gospel singer Jenieve Bailey, was elated.

“This is great news. Dad has worked very hard. It took him 10 years, as he wanted his fans to really have a great experience through this album and we, the family members, are elated that his hard work paid off. We’re happy,” said Bailey.

Guitarist Jackie Jackson, an original member of The Maytals band, was equally happy.

“This is a great honour for a legend and so very well-deserved. He gave us a lifetime of hits beginning in the ska era and throughout the generations. My only regret is that he’s not here to share it with us one more time,” he said.

TOOTS HISTORY

Toots and The Maytals won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2005 for True Love. Their previous nominations were Toots in Memphis (1989), An Hour Live (1991), Ska Father (1999), Light Your Light (2008), and Reggae Got Soul: Unplugged on Strawberry Hill (2013).

Got to Be Tough was released on August 28, 2020. It was the seventh nomination for Toots and sixth overall nomination for The Maytals.

The other nominees in this year’s Best Reggae Album category were Higher Place by Skip Marley, Maxi Priest’s It All Comes Back to Love, Buju Banton’s Upside Down 2020, and One World by The Wailers.

The Trojan Jamaica/BMG set is the veteran act’s first release in more than a decade. It peaked at number nine on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart and has to date sold more than 5,186 copies in the United States. It also spent multiple weeks at number one on the sales-driven US Current Reggae Albums Chart.

In other Grammy news, John Legend won Best R&B Album for Bigger Love. It features the collaboration Don’t Walk Away with Koffee.

Download the special Toots & Ron Woods issue here.

Bob Marley: Feb. 6 Survival 76 Celebrations

Bob Marley’s Earthday Celebrations Set for Feb. 6, 2021

Bob Marley 76 Earthday logo

There are several birthday celebrations leading up to Marley’s 76th Birthday on February 6, including a global virtual birthday celebration hosted by Cedella MarleySongs of Freedom: The Island Years and a Bob Marley Tribute Livestream

In lieu of the live annual birthday celebration that usually occurs at the Bob Marley Museum every year, Cedella Marley will be hosting a global virtual event for Bob Marley’s 76th birthday on February 6.  Inspired by Bob Marley’s most militant album, Cedella, the Marley family, friends, and fans worldwide will celebrate Bob Marley’s 76th Earthstrong under the theme, SURVIVAL.

The virtual celebration will mimic the usual festivities beginning at 7 am ET, including messages from the family, a Miami Performance Mash-up featuring the Marley brothers and third-generation

Bob Marley
Bob Marley – mid’70s

Marleys, Survival Cypher performance featuring Skip MarleyJo Mersa, Tifa, Kabaka Pyramid, Agent Sasco, and Tanya StephensMore Family Time with Ziggy Marley, Memorial Tributes for Toots Hibbert and Betty Wright.

Also,  performances from Papa Michigan, Richie SpiceBeenie Man, and more, plus “In the Marley Kitchen” featuring Chefs Brian Lumley and Kush McDonald, story reading, yoga, a children’s sing-a-long and much more.  The virtual celebration will also feature video tribute messages from family, friends, fellow musicians, and artists from around the world.

To watch Marley’s 76th Birthday SURVIVAL festivities on Bob Marley’s official YouTube channel, and for more upcoming content celebrating Bob’s legacy & contributions to the world, click HERE.

The Murder of Reggae Legend Peter Tosh 1987 History

THE TRAGIC DEMISE OF “MYSTIC MAN” PETER TOSH –  V5#5 1987

By M. Peggy Quattro

The mystery surrounding the violent death of Reggae Superstar PETER TOSH is as complex and mysterious as the man himself.  The many reports, stories, assumptions, and speculations leave a shroud of doubt and suspicion in staggering proportions.

What a dark day for Reggae and a sad and shameful day for mankind.

What is known to date is that on the evening of Friday, September 11, 1987, three gunmen on motorcycles entered Tosh’s Plymouth Avenue residence in Barbican, Kingston, Jamaica. Apparently known by Tosh, the three were in the house for a short while before the massacre began. What a dark day for Reggae and a sad and shameful day for mankind. One of the killers, Dennis Lobban, turned himself into the Kingston Police only days later, following a warrant issued for his arrest and the involvement of Interpol (the international police force.) Two others are still being detained, their names as yet unannounced.

A Robbery Gone Wrong

The first to be fired upon was Marlene Brown, long-time girlfriend and Tosh’s current manager and accountant. Winston “Doc” Brown was shot and killed on the spot, with Peter being shot several times and reportedly beat about the head. He died hours later at the University of the West Indies Hospital.  Radio personality Jeff “Free I” Dixon also received shots to the head resulting in his death days later. Also wounded were Free I‘s wife Joy, Peter’s drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis, and another friend named Michael Robinson. Continue reading

Update on the Passing of Reggae’s Toots Hibbert – Sept. 11, 2020

Toots RIP by LeeUpdate 9/11/2020:  It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Toots Hibbert last night, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Toots was surrounded by family inside Kingston’s UWI Hospital when he lost his battle with COVID. The world mourns and offers condolences to the Hibbert family, Toots’s band & crew, his friends, and fans. Rest in peace, kind sir, your legacy lives on.


This intro below was written before Toots’ passing. It announces his new album, Got To Be Tough, his first in 10 years, released on Aug. 28, 2020. Follow the link to the story by Jason Fine included below for one of the best articles you’ll ever find on the life & music of Frederick “Toots” Hibbert.   ~M. Peggy Quattro

TOOTS HIBBERT,  the Godfather of Ska & Reggae Soul, returns to his roots on Got to be Tough, his first album in 10 years, released Aug. 28, 2020. Tracks on the new album include the title track, as well as “Warning Warning,” “Freedom Train,” and “Three Little Birds” featuring Ziggy Marley. The album is produced by Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr. Toots plays guitar and bass, Sly Dunbar is on drums, and one of the engineers is legend Delroy “Fatta” Pottinger.

Toots and the Maytals Got to be Tough Cover

Below is the intro to a recent article by Rolling Stones writer Jason Fine. It is the best story I’ve ever read about Jamaica’s music legend, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert. His family and friends call him “Nyah,” those who know and love him call him “Fireball.” Take a journey with Jason as he hangs out with Toots in 2016 to witness first-hand his musical magic and to record this interview of a lifetime. Those who know Toots – and those who want to – will surely enjoy the detail, history, and humor Jason brings to life in this Rolling Stone’s article. Trust mi, I laughed till I cried as Jason illustrates with words why Toots Hibbert is a treasure… our treasure. We are so blessed to have him in our lifetime. Enjoy! 

“He’s a person of such historical significance, like an Elvis or a BB King,…”  ~singer/musician Bonnie Raitt


A Reggae King Rises Again

Toots Hibbert is one of the pioneers of reggae — and wrote many of its classic hits. After a devastating injury, the man they call Fireball is back to reclaim his throne

By Jason Fine  Rolling Stone.com, Aug. 18, 2020

Toots Hibbert
Toots Hibbert ©Lee Abel

It took two years of phone calls and confusing negotiations to get myself invited to visit Toots Hibbert at his fortress-like pink stucco compound in the Red Hills section of Kingston, Jamaica. When I finally arrived, he wasn’t home. No one around seemed to know the whereabouts of the world’s greatest living reggae singer. His grandson, an aspiring reggae artist who calls himself King Trevi, was perched on some concrete steps and suggested that maybe Toots went to the gym. A woman hanging laundry on a rope strung across the dirt yard thought he’d gone to the country. Someone said he might be napping. Continue reading

Lucky Dube – South Africa’s Reggae King-1993 Interview

In Tribute – Lucky Philip Dube – Aug. 3 1964 – Oct. 18 2007

This article first appeared in Reggae Report, V11#6 1993

Lucky Dube… A Natural Man

By M. Peggy Quattro

Few individuals are naturally blessed with the predestined qualities of talent, wit, and a confident disposition. One such fortunate recipient is 29-year-old Lucky Dube, the remarkable South African singer/songwriter, who is presently dispensing his own musical blessings around the globe.

Lucky Dube
Lucky Dube Sunsplash 1992 – Photo by Lee Abel

You are among the unlucky if you missed Lucky Dube and his megaband, Slaves, on their recent two-month tour of the USA. The incredible show, which highlights Lucky’s dynamic vocals, capable of soaring three octaves; Zulu dancing from Dube, the sonorous back-up singers and stinging brass section; and infectious authentic African-Reggae rhythms, was presented in 35 cities. The venues ranged from small nightclubs to major summer festivals. Included in the tour was a free show held on a beautiful July day at Brooklyn’s Metro Tech Commons, sponsored by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM.)

The moving response to the group’s performance was indicative of the overall reaction received whenever and wherever this talented troupe of performers set down. At the end of August, the tour moves on to Europe where they will be the opening act in a series of shows for international pop star Peter Gabriel. A two-week break in their hometown of Johannesburg is followed by a concert in Capetown, then off to finish the year in Australia, New Caledonia, Japan, and France.

Considered a superstar in South Africa, Dube, who neither smokes nor drinks, modestly credits his fans for this stardom. Continue reading

Singer Jimmy Cliff Interview 1986 – Reggae History

Jimmy Cliff…. Just Playing His Part

By M. Peggy Quattro   V4#2 1986

Jimmy Cliff
Jimmy Cliff at his New Kingston home * © M Peggy Quattro 1986

Prelude 2020:  Jimmy Cliff plays an important part in my evolutionary journey inside  Reggae and Reggae Report.  He was the first Reggae artist I ever heard in 1976 and became my first Reggae friend while working with Don Taylor in 1981. When the magazine took off in ’83, Jimmy most kindly invited me to stay at his home whenever I went to Kingston to conduct business. He wasn’t there most of those times but my hospitable friend Shiela and their young sons, Sayeed and Hassan, were. ♥ This interview  – and accompanying cover shot for V4#2 – were done with Jimmy at his New Kingston home in 1986. ↓


Jimmy Cliff is, without a doubt, the most internationally known Reggae artist alive. In more than 20 years in the music arena, this active, talented youth from Somerton, St. James, Jamaica, has developed exemplary discipline and staying power.

The Early Days

Jimmy CliffAt age 14, James Chambers left for Kingston. But following his first recording, “Daisy Got Me Crazy,” in 1962, James Chambers became Jimmy Cliff – teenage Ska star! Under the wing of famed producer Leslie Kong, Jimmy Cliff skyrocketed to early success with “Hurricane Hattie.” He toured the Caribbean and performed at New York’s 1964 World’s Fair before moving to England to seek his fame and fortune.

Even before his involvement in the sensational cult film The Harder They Come, Jimmy racked up several international hits in his early years, including “Wonderful World” and “Vietnam.” He toured and thrilled audiences in South America, England, and Europe. Continue reading