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 →
Yami Bolo – Burning up the Charts From Jamaica to Japan
by Howard Campbell
The conviction Yami Bolo shows as he belts out Bob Marley’s “Heathen” reflects the singer’s coming of age, a conviction that is further enhanced by his commitment to the perfect sound, even during rehearsal. Four takes and a “turn it up little more deh bassie” and Yami Bolo is ready to rock.
Bolo was at the Tuff Gong headquarters rehearsing for the Feb. 6 Bob Marley concert at the Bob Marley Museum for which he was one of the top acts. While the event was a tribute to one of his heroes, the fact that he was billed as one of the evenings stars meant that Yami Bolo is finally being given the recognition that had proved so elusive to him at home.
A jocular, laid-back six-footer with a ready smile, Bolo is the typical Roots man. At home in cut off jeans and Reebok sneakers, he has reason to be satisfied with the route his career has taken in the last 12 months, and as humble as he is, isn’t afraid to say so. “Things a come on good, y’know,” the 24-year-old remarked prior to tuning up. “Right now, we jus’ a concentrate on all that is good for ’95; we’d a like win all awards ’cause we put we heart inna this project.” Continue reading →
An impish grin curls across Gregory Isaacs’ lips, his head bowed when the questions about his well-publicized battles with cocaine come up; how it has affected his career and if he’s still dependent on drugs. “Bwoy, mi nah really deal wid dat right yah now, mi ithren,” he says in that low, familiar nasal tone, “cause wi get to much bad publicity; anything Jamaican people hear dem believe right away, dem nuh inquire.”
You can’t blame Isaacs for wanting to erase the memories of the darkest period in his life. Since his first run-in with the authorities eight years ago for cocaine possession, the self-proclaimed “Cool Ruler” has experienced a decline of sorts in his career.
At 44, he’s still capable of rocking the crowds with a seemingly endless number of Lovers Rock hits (as seen at the White River Reggae Bash two years ago), and is still able to charm the ladies with his legendary onstage rapport. Though he has had a clutch of minor hits in recent times, the chartbusters that fans have come to associate Gregory Isaacs with have dried up; and many point to his experience with drugs as being the reason for the current dry patch. Continue reading →