GANJA REGGAE of the 70s, 80s & 90s 20 of the Best for 4/20
Okay, let’s be blunt. The celebration of 4/20 has a long and storied history. It apparently took 20+ years for the original “4:20 dudes” to be given credit for their undeniable contribution to the “day of marijuana” title and tale.
A northern California group of friends—known as the Waldos—would gather at 4:20 p.m. to smoke a “doobie” next to a wall on their high school campus. They’d whisper 420 to each other as the Waldo’s secret code for marijuana. That catchy number was picked up years later by the Grateful Dead and High Times magazine and 4/20 was soon catapulted into the stratosphere, thus becoming the global code for “let’s smoke a doobie” day.
Jamaican artists were always on board with smoking a doobie, or, as they called it, a spliff. There have been hundreds ‘pon hundreds of “ganja” tunes recorded since the 60s. The Rastas, in particular, have been growing and smoking ganja before those Cali teens were out of diapers.
Rastas have long preached of “herb” being “the healing of the nation.” And now, with medical marijuana stores, cafés, and products sprouting up around the world, it seems that, hell yeah, they are right. Big up, our number one cannabis crusader Peter “Legalize It” Tosh! Boom!
Maybe you “want to have Kaya now”? And you’re here to listen to some of the best-of-the-best Ganja Reggae songs. So, in honor of 4/20, we’re offering 20 of the best Ganja Reggae songs for your smoking pleasure. This hand-selected roster of your favorite singers, groups & DJs covers the 70s, 80s & 90s eras of Reggae music. So, “light up your spliff…light up your chalice” and enjoy the ride!
By M. Peggy Quattro, Contributor ◊ Jamaica Observer, May 11, 2021
BOB Marley’s dead. Wow. It’s May 11, 1981. Around 11:45 a.m. on my first day of my dream job, the phone rings. Freshly hired as Don Taylor’s assistant, I merrily answered, “Good morning, Don Taylor Artiste Management.” Rita Marley uttered one word…“Don.” With slight trepidation, I handed the phone to my new boss standing next to me. By the look of dread on Don’s face, it was obvious that our world was about to change.
Don Taylor’s Miami-based company, D.T.A.M., represented Reggae’s ‘Big Three’ – Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Gregory Isaacs. Prior to my first day, I had dreams of one day meeting Bob Marley. Even though I knew he was very sick and en route to his home in Jamaica, I had hope. Going in as a huge Marley fan, I never dreamed that this day, this one event, would inexplicably link us for life.
“Why today, Bob?”, I asked myself again and again. There had to be some reason I was chosen to be in this office, on this morning. Within hours, I was witness to – nay, a participant in – Reggae music history. A day that began with excitement, anticipation, and promise ended with sadness, bewilderment, and deception.
The King had gone home to Zion… Long live the King.
In 1984, we asked performers & personalities this same question:
What Was the One Thing That Impressed You the Most About Bob Marley?
Here’s what they said, as seen in V2#5 1984:
“…Bob’s very great…his music is different from all the rest of Reggae musicians…and well put together.” ~Ansell Collins
“…it’s just him…just the man, really… you know, the man.” ~Beres Hammond
“…a hard-workin’ man, him work for what him have in life, really…and he’s a good singer and good writer, and I respect everything him done…him pave the way for every other artist in Jamaica.” ~Gregory Isaacs
“…his talent… for me, it was his talent.” ~Jimmy Cliff
“..Bob was a great man…he appreciated people and they related to him…he was a champion of the people…a selfless person…he cared on an international scale for the poor, black and suffering…this was the essence of Bob.” ~Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976
“… a cool runnings man… just cool…that was one of the things I admired.” ~Lloyd Parkes, bandleader
“…it’s his range…on one hand it was religion, on the other hand, he was a lover… you know, one has a heavy message, the other you could dance to…”~Perry Henzell, writer/director The Harder They Come
“…he showed people how to move from poverty to riches… (as in) how to move from Babylon to the Promised Land…” ~Tony King, Jamaica Tourist Board, Kingston
“…it’s how he was a leader…he had a platform and he stood strong…(and) he allowed me to be creative.” ~Donald Kinsey, guitarist
“…his song “Smile Jamaica” for personal inspiration…(because) I smile a lot!” ~Andrew Henry, Kingston Publishers
Take a Reggae Journey with Me & Enjoy 40 Years of People, Events, Work, Travel, & Fun
Since 1981 – from A to Z!
Here’s my final A to Z — hand-picked highlights, adventures, & the special people I’ve met & worked with since 1981. There’s a life time of memories to recall as I trod this Reggae road, here’s a few of my faves. Trust mi, here’s ’nuff ’nuff history & fun times to make you smile! One Love, M Peggy Quattro
*RR = Reggae Report Magazine
Aswad– The popular UK Lovers Rock trio was inspired by Marley in the ‘70s & later befriended BMW in ’76. Always sweet & gentlemanly, Tony Gad, Drummie Zeb & Brinsley Forde were RR favorites & were featured on three covers, in multiple issues, & headlined a packed Cameo Theater ’91 concert that I promoted & co-produced in Miami Beach. They were my May featured artist in RR’s popular 1995 Calendar.
The Aswad Poster I printed for Cameo show ; V9#5 1991 Cover; Aswad checking RR & my ’95 Calendar; Aswad with Princess Di – Click to View!
Bob Marley– Our connection began in 1974 Nürnberg. This intro led to a job in his manager’s Miami office. My first day was May 11, 1981. RR featured annual Bob tribute issues with stories, pics, interviews, & more. I became friends with his mother, children, families; produced two BM Festival magazines; & sponsored several BM festivals. In 1995, I received a BM World Peace Award in Antigua. In 2008, I wrote & coordinated the Bob Marley Tribute that remains atop Mystic Mountain/Bobsled Jamaica in Ocho Rios today. Long live the king!
Me getting BM World Peace Award, Antigua ’95 – RR Article 1990 – BM Vinyl w Logo – Bob Marley Tribute Issues 1983-1998 – Bob Pull Out Poster V6#4 1988 – MPQ w the Marley Tribute I wrote for Mystic Mountain ’08 – Click to view!
Cedella Marley Booker– Getting to know, interview, travel & spend time with Bob’s mother, affectionately known as Ms B, was a definite highlight. Her fierce courage, wisdom, humor, talent, & home-cooking made for unforgettable & inspiring times. A fan favorite, Ms B was featured in RR many times. We shared successes & supported each other through complex times. It was an honor to speak in eulogy at Mother Booker’s fabulous life celebration in 2008. I miss her energy but feel her spirit.
Cindy B, Ms B & Me, Hard Rock, Miami – Me & Ms B, somewhere in the ’90s – Ms B gets key to Houston, ’90s pic by me – Philip Michael Thomas, Ms B, & me at our Time Will Tell movie premiere, Miami – Ms B, Woody Harrelson & Wesley Snipes, BM Fest, Miami, pic by me – Ms B & Ernie Smith perform at Small Axe Awards, Miami Beach ’86 – Ms B, Me, my dawta Arielle, & I Jabulani Tafari at Nine Mile – Click to view!
Don Taylor– I’m so grateful for Don sighting my tenacity & passion, & for hiring me as his assistant. He was managing Bob, Jimmy, & Gregory then & I was overjoyed. On my first day, May 11, 1981, Bob died. The Reggae world changed forever. I changed. Don T & I remained friends after I left. I always rated him a top-notch manager. We saw each other often, in Miami, JA, & at Midem in Cannes ’97 where JA’s showcase stole the show! When I interviewed him about his ’90s tell-all book, we revisited my ‘first day’ & the intense times that followed. I was sad to hear of his passing at only 56 & often think about what he’d be doing if he were with us today.
Don & Me, MoBay ’90s – Don & Bob – Don & Me, Cannes ’97 – Don, Bob, George Harrison ’76 – Don & Me, Kgn – Don, Me, Danny Sims, Kgn ’80s – Click to view!
E-Book–Reggae Trilogy: 200+ 80s & 90s Artist Headshots-Vol. 1 is my fun tribute to the music makers & frontline pioneers who shaped these remarkable decades. With 1000+ Headshots in the RR Archive, I found a way to utilize this treasure trove & share the fashion, culture, & lifestyle of Reggae’s Global era in an educational & entertaining e-book. There are 13 Chapters, my intro & a Foreword by Nadine Sutherland. Have a look – you may be in it! Or maybe your parents…or grandparents!
Reggae Trilogy: 200+ 80s & 90s Artist Headshots – Legends sample – Artist Index – Artis tNames – Singers Chapter Intro – 5 stars! Great reviews! Get yours now! – Click to View!
Festivals – Directing Caribbean Sunburst at Miami’s Marine Stadium was a mixed blessing–awesome 4 days, but the promoters ran off with all the $$, fi real. Later, RR co-sponsored many Miami Reggae Fests. JA’s Sumfest & Sunsplash Fests–my faves–were jam-packed with locals & global visitors coming together in One Love. I witnessed Cartagena’s Caribbean Music Fest in a bullring (while pregnant) & the Cancun Bob Marley Fest on the beach. Being part of Fests from LA & Miami to NYC & Hawaii, and all around the Caribbean, was a total blast!
Caribbean Sunburst Poster ’82 – Sumfest Daybreak ’90s – MPQ Reggae Rockin’ in JA – RR Sumfest Co-sponsor ’90s – MPQ, Mikey Zappow, Sudden Impack land in Cartagena ’85 – MPQ with Directors Ron Burke (Sunsplash) & Walter Elmore (Sumfest) – Cartagena 100K Fans at Wall Concert ’88 – Sumfest Daybreak Crowd ’90s -Review Cartagena Fest ’88 – Click to View!
Gregory Isaacs – Didn’t know the Cool Ruler before meeting him thru Taylor in ‘81. He was a real character with a raspy voice that turned silky when he sang. In ’82, I convinced Gregory to headline at Sunburst. He’s featured on RR covers & articles, including an interview I did at his home shortly after his wedding & wild SuperJam ’83 performance. Also, catch his notable performance in the movie, Rockers. We remained friends over the decades, in spite of his expected, charming, fruitless advances. Gregory sadly passed at age 59 from cancer.
I present a Red Rose for Gregory at the Martin’s Awards, MoBay 1991 – Gregory at his peak in the 80s – Me with Gregory at his shop in Kingston – Grumpy Gregory outside a Kingston studio – Gregory live at SoFla Vintage Show in 2009 – Gregory’s 1st RR cover in ’84 – Gregory live at Sunsplash – Click to View!
Haile Selassie I – The influence & teachings of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I has permeated Reggae since the late ’60s. Rastafari believe Selassie is the son of God/Jah. When I met Rasta elder Mortimer Planno in JA in the early ’80s, he kindly answered my many questions. RR featured a So Jah Seh section each issue that presented quotes & highlights of H.I.M.’s many speeches. We also featured historical articles on H.I.M., the beginnings of Rastafari in JA, & insight into the more modern Twelve Tribes sect. Many Rastas moved to Shashamene & the land granted them by Selassie in Ethiopia.
Emperor Selassie represented as the Lion of God – Selassie met by Planno on his 1966 arrival in Jamaica – HIM & his famous hands’ position – His Majesty on Time magazine cover 1930 – A Nyhabinghi drumming session – Bob Marley with HIM backdrop – Click to View!
Inner Circle – Met these uptown-Kingston “bad boys” in ’82 when I worked with producer Joe Gibbs, where their Miami-based pressing plant was nearby. For ‘82’s Sunburst fest, they were the backing ‘Fatman Riddim Section’ & again for our Marcia Griffiths show that same year. The band was featured on several RR covers & reported on & written about countless times, including a tour to Belize I was invited on. Memorable was a surprising offer from the leader I had to decline. We have a lot of history-from Top Rankin’ to Circle House-and were friends for more than 30 years, ‘til we weren’t. C’est la vie.
The Inner Circle band was May in my ’96 Calendar – Caught this backstage pic at White River ’90s – Roger, Me, & Lance somewhere – Cover V7#7 1989 – Cover V16#2 1998 – The Lewis Brothers – Took this at the airport on our way to the Belize fest – Click to view!
Jimmy Cliff – My introduction to Reggae was Jimmy Cliff and The Harder They Come – album & movie – while living in 1974 Nürnberg. I was hooked; my music found me. Meeting & working with Jimmy in ’81 was a true blessing. On a trip to NYC to work his show, I was introduced to Jagger & Yoko backstage! Besides being friends, he became my mentor when RR began in ‘83. He offered his home as a base when I traveled to Kingston. Once on the front stoop, he advised me to put a price on RR: “You haffi get paid for your work.” Good advice.
Me & Jimmy backstage, Miami late ’80s – Jimmy “Bongo Man” Cliff – Jimmy’s 1st RR Cover ’84 – V14#10 1996 Cover – My Jimmy cover, shot in his front yard, V4#2 1986 – V6#1 1988 Cover – Click to View!
Ky-mani Marley – This talented Marley rocketed into my orbit in ‘94 when the then 18-year-old performed with the Marley Festival tour in TX & Cancun. He struck me as a surefire star, and we became pals as I followed his career. His uncanny similarity to his father’s voice garnered global attention. Albums, a Grammy nod, an acting career, & a published autobiography soon followed. He was featured on a 90s RR cover & in many articles & reviews. Born in Jamaica & raised in Miami, Ky-mani continues to write, record, perform, and act from his South Florida base.
Kymani Cover 1997 – Kymani with Specialist (l) 90s – Ky backstage at Miami Marley Fest – MPQ & Kymani at Bob Marley Exhibit 2013 – Serious Kymani – Ky & Tito Puente, Jr. at Midem Miami 90s – Damian & Kymani, Marley Fest Tour in Texas ’94 – Click to View!
Lucky Dube – Watching Lucky’s 1st U.S. show in ‘89 was life changing. Already a huge star in So. Africa, with a huge band playing huge venues, he brought his big band Slave, with dancing horns & backing singers, to NYC’s small SOB’s nightclub. Blown away, I pushed my way backstage to meet the affable singer. This 1st interview led to a near 20-year friendship with loads of laughter; several RR covers; intelligent interviews about apartheid, Rasta, Reggae, & racism; articles; review; & many more mind-blowing performances & adventures.
Lucky Cover 1991 – (l-r) Guy Henderson, Lucky, Antos Stella, Cousin Richard, MPeggyQ – Lucky & MPeggyQ at the Cameo, Miami Beach 90s – Lucky at his 1st USA show, at SOB’s in NYC ’89 – 1st Lucky RR Interview by MPQ after NYC show ’89 – 1st time meeting Lucky & Slave members outside SOB’s ’89, that’s Lucky hugging Arielle (top) & MPeggyQ , Guy Henderson, & Teri O (bottom)- Click to View!
Marcia Griffiths – I knew Marcia as a member of I Three, but didn’t actually meet her until ’82 when I produced her in concert at Miami’s Gusman Cultural Center. Her unmistakable voice and energetic stage performances are loved the world over; her catalogue of songs seems endless. She hit her stride with the “Electric Boogie” & the accompanying Electric Slide, which I enjoyed dancing with her on stages in the US & JA! Featured on RR covers, in articles & interviews, Marcia is the Queen of Reggae!
Marcia performing somewhere – Marcia & MPeggyQ backstage JA ’90s – Marcia at SNWMF 2013 by Lee Abel – Marcia & MPeggyQ backstage Miami ’90s – One of Marcia’s Covers, V7#9 1989 – Marcia & MPeggyQ at Reggae Report’s Kingston Launch 1988 – MPQ having fun doing the Slide with Marcia! – Click to View!
Nadine Sutherland – I first met “Teen Queen Nadine” in 1986. Then 18 years old, she was already singing for six years! Her hits Action & Baby Face brought int’l attention & kept her on RR pages. I enjoyed catching up with the rising star, whether at Reggae shows, the Reggae Awards, or on WhatsApp! When I invited Nadine to write the Foreword for my eBook Reggae Trilogy-Vol. 1, she enthusiastically responded & delivered a tasteful, inspiring essay. Now a college grad Queen, Nadine is still going strong, writing, recording, performing, & inspiring!
Nadine performing somewhere – Nadine & MPeggyQ backstage Reggae Soca Awards, Ft. Lauderdale ’90s – Nadine looking absolutely stunning! – Nadine with her braids – The young teen queen Nadine – Nadine wrote an excellent Foreword to MPeggyQ’s fun eBook, Reggae Trilogy-Vol. 1 – Click to View!
Order of the Court – In July ‘86, Dade County Judge Salmon ruled in my favor and against Kona K. Pa, a dreadlocked woman who stole the name Reggae Report. She fled, so judgement was never received. Justice was served but my ‘final opinion’ was written, Pa “should cut her locks as she is a disgrace to Rastafari.” (V4#4 1986) In the 90s, a company out of Cyprus stole my logo, removed two e’s & called it Ragga. When discovered, we sent a cease & desist letter. It was undeniable. Soon they, and their shoes & clothes, vanished. Protect your work!
Cyprus-based company selling at Splash using stolen logo – Reggae Report Logo, designed by Huntley Burgher, 90s – Ragga model stylin’ at Splash 90s – Judgement against Kona Pa who stole the name Reggae Report – Reggae Report JA Limited set up, 88 – Swiped this from a shoe store for evidence – Click to View!
Peter Tosh – My first JA concert in ’82 starred Peter Tosh in MoBay. A big fan since his Wailers days, I was thrilled to meet him in a Kingston recording studio that same year. Setting aside his serious, revolutionary style, I found him pleasant & funny, with a beautiful smile. Who knew. Equally saddened by his senseless murder in ’87, I went to Kingston for his final tribute. RR covered Peter’s life & death in several issues, many presenting the ‘Mystic Man’ on the cover. He received a posthumous Best Reggae LP GRAMMY in ’87 for No Nuclear War.
Peter on stage with his M-16 guitar – Peter’s funeral inside Kingston National Arena, ’87 – RR reporting on his murder, V5#5 1987 – Peter leaving backstage at Kingston’s SuperJam ’83 – Peter V9#8 1991 Cover – Peter at Sunrise Musical Theater, So Fla ’82 – Click to View
Queens of Reggae – I’m grateful for the fine women I’ve met, interviewed, worked with, & got to know. My first concert starred Marcia Griffiths in 1982. From Roots to Dancehall, from Judy Mowatt (who performed at my Small Axe Awards in ’86,) Sister Carol, & Dawn Penn to chart-topping Diana King, JC Lodge, & Lady G, my time with the ladies of Reggae was always fun, uplifting & inspiring. Our annual ‘Women in Reggae’ issue featured these pioneers on the cover and offered loads of stories, interviews, reviews, & photos inside.
JC Lodge featured in our 1994 Calendar-pic by Lee Abel; Diana King cover-V15#8 1997; Sophia George holding V6#2 1988; Puma Jones & Judy Mowatt at my Small Axe Awards 1986-pic by MPeggyQ; I Three-Judy, Rita, Marcia; MPeggyQ & Lady G at Kingston interview 2008 – Click to View
Radio DJDays – With the abundance of vinyl received weekly, it was easy for me to segue into radio in the early ‘90s. My “Strick’ly Reggae” twice-weekly show on WAVS- & WVCG-AM was another fun opportunity to spread the news, music & message. My mentor was dear friend & favorite DJ, WLRN-FM’s Clint O’Neil, South Florida’s No. 1 DJ. Radio’s Reggae DJs reigned in SoFla, NYC, LA, & countless cities in between. Radio & print magazines were the messengers & social media of the ‘80s & ‘90
Djs Tony C & Clint O’Neil with John Holt on one of Clint’s cruises to the Bahamas; DJ Lady C with MPQ at one of her Reggae & Soca Award shows; Clint’O at home at WLRN; longtime friend & DJ Amy “Night Nurse” Wachtel & me in NYC 2019; Papa Pilgrim, DJ at KRCL-FM, regular RR writer, & founder Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide (RAW); DJ & historian Roger Steffens inside his LA home museum, So. Fla’s popular DJs Jamusa & Ron Burke with me in the early ’80s – Click to View
Small Axe Awards – This one & only award show was my brainchild. I envisioned an award voted for by fans & RR readers.Small Axe came to pass Oct. 25, 1986, inside the Konover Hotel Theater, Miami Beach. Jah bless the friends who performed: Dennis Brown, Black Uhuru, Judy Mowatt, Mother Booker, Muta, & more. Big up sponsors Red Stripe (Ken Bostwick) & Air Jamaica (Danny Chin.) Guests arrived in gowns & tuxes; many of them from out of town. I can’t thank enough everyone who helped make it a reality, especially my dear friend & co-producer, Teri Owens. It was an exciting & entertaining one-of-a-kind evening!
Dennis Brown-Best Male Vocalist performs; Dennis speaks to the audience; Black Uhuru-Best Singing Group perform; Assoc. Producer Cynthia Gonzalez, I. Jabulani Tafari-Stage Director, Co-Producer Teri Owens; the 3 MCs- Amy “Night Nurse” Wachtel, Barry G, & Clint O’Neil; That’s me receiving a Commendation from the City of Miami for my ‘efforts to unite Dade County’s multi-ethnic community’; Fab & Fun Audience; Hotel arrival day with Judy, Me, Bernard Collins, Dennis & friend; Logo art & Hexagram 16; Kenny Bostwick & I present Muta-the Ambassador Award winner- with the key to Miami; Me & the “Big Tree” backdrop; the unique Small Axe award – Click to View
Third World – From early days with Ibo, Willie & Carrot in the 80s to the current group, led by Cat & Richie, this band is a big part of my-& RR-history. Featured on several covers & written about consistently, they are the only band I willingly let kidnap me in Antigua, after the 1994 Sweet Cry Freedom festival, for a few extra days of laughs & interviews. One highlight will always be our time spent in Marbella, Spain, 2008, where I coordinated the booking & Island Lounge 3-show tour along the fab Costa del Sol. This was the last time I got to spend time & laugh along with the late lead singer Bunny Rugs Clarke.
A fun day on a Florida beach with the band; I hosted a Third World panel at Miami Midem in 1996 (actually it was Miami Beach); V2#6 -1984- Third World’s 1st Cover; V16#3 1998 -Their final cover on our final issue; Poster from the grand Marbella show & tour 2008; Me & Ibo in Kingston, late 80s – Click to View
UK Special –A whirlwind tour of London resulted in our UK Special, an in-depth look inside the UK Reggae scene. In-person interviews with Maxi, Barrington, UB 40, & Mad Professor, along with Trojan & Greensleeves record execs were fun & enlightening. A visit to BBC allowed me to meet DJ David Rodigan & get interviewed by DJ Sister P. We made sure to visit our loyal distributors to say thanks for their support. And, tour guide/friend Maria Barry and I visited lots of pubs & clubs to enjoy a pint & take in some live music.
Freddie, Stitchie & Maxi at BBC; Maxi & Me at VP/Hot 105, Ft. Laud; Chris Cracknell & Me at Greensleeves; UK Reggae Special 1989; Dub Vendor Owner & Me; Mad Professor & Me at Ariwa Studios; Me at Greater London Radio; Trojan’s Steve Barrow & Enzo Hamilton – Click to View
VP Records – Successful in Jamaica, the Chin family set up VP Records in Queens NY, in the late ‘70s. By ‘83, VP was distributing records across the USA. Both of us being ‘fresh on the scene,’ we teamed up for several mutual promotions throughout the 80s & 90s. I found an ally in Randy Chin who took out ads, distributed the mag, funded our retail display boxes, & sponsored shows. We celebrated Reggae at France’s MIDEM in ’97 when Jamaica’s Showcase rocked Cannes! In the early 2000’s, VP Records licensed my Garnet Silk interview for one of its Garnet tribute albums. Matriarch Pat Chin received a Reggae Icon Award in 2021.
VP’s CEO Chris Chin, Founder Ms. Pat Chin, and President Randy Chin; VP Records is a Founding Member of the Reggae Report Archive; That’s me with VP’s Howie Chung & Randy Chin at their booth at MIDEM, Cannes 1997; Ms. Pat & I at the VP booth at the Jerk Fest in Queens 2019 – Click to View
Woody’s on the Beach – Lucky for me, selling an ad to Manager Richard Duncan turned into a months-long gig hosting Reggae Sundays at Rolling Stone’s guitarist Ron Woods’ popular South Beach namesake club. We raised money for JA after Hurricane Gilbert & presented local bands, where our parties were always a hit! We co-hosted shows with Ron & Toots (which made a RR cover!), Ron & the Neville Brothers, & more. We rocked out ‘til elderly neighbors complained about the loud music & large crowds.
Woody’s VIP Pass for Toots show; Ron & Toots with guitarist Errol Moore; Cover V6#8 1988 shot backstage after the show; Ronnie, MPeggyQ & Toots after the show; Ron & Toots have a chat; MPQ at our Halloween Party 1988 – Click to View
X-Rated – Dancehall burst on the scene in the late 80s & the males ruled. “Slackness,” defined as sexist, misogynistic & X-rated lyrics laid on synthesized riddims, triggered mucho controversy. Dancehall fashion was X-treme & fans loved it. Dancehall King Shabba Ranks received two Grammy’s for his slack-fueled LPs. Females were not X-cluded & Lady Saw bus’ down that door, going toe to toe with Dancehall Dons. Several Lady DJs followed–Lady G, Lady Cham, Lady Junie–& their mixed messages included slackness & also stood up for women. Although personally appalled, RR featured Dancehall Rules! specials that presented hotly debated issues on both sides.
MPeggyQ & Shabba at Kingston event; Lady Saw doing her festival thing; My article “Clean Up Your Act” by Howard Campbell; Shabba cover 1991; a young X-rated Buju Banton; Shabba at daybreak, Sunsplash – Click to View
Yellowman – A Dancehall pioneer, this fierce albino DJ stood out in multiple ways throughout the 80s & 90s. His catchy songs, explicit lyrics & provocative performances are unforgettable. In ’81, Yellowman became the first DH artist signed to an American record label. As director of 1982s 4-day Sunburst festival, we worked together when he was brought in to headline our 1st night. The ever-popular King Yellowman was regularly featured in RR issues & his legacy continues with his remarkable recording & performing career still today.
Yellowman on stage; King Yellow backstage with fans; Caribbean Sunburst poster 1982; Yellow & Sagittarius band in Key Biscayne; MPeggyQ & Yellow buck up in SoFla; MPQ & Yellow at Kingston’s Superjam fest 1983 – Click to View
Zap Pow – Zap Pow is one of JA’s top bands ever. A ’70s favorite, their musicality & socially conscious lyrics showed they were way ahead of their time. Mikey Zappow, founder & leader, played Zap Pow’s music for me in ’82, soon after I hired him as Sunburst’s stage manager. In ’83, we started RR as a means to promote the music. He returned to JA in ’85, same year our daughter Arielle Grace was born. Mikey wrote the global theme “This is Reggae Music,” among several other popular & prolific songs, leaving me to hope all his children will someday benefit from their father’s legacy and receive his much-deserved singing & songwriting royalties.
Zap Pow 1973 Hits LP; Mikey Zappow Headshot ; “This is Reggae Music” single on Mango; Mikey Headshot #2, pics by me; Our label that produced & released Mikey’s Miami-release “Eh Eh”; Zap Pow Press Photos 1 & 2; Me, Mikey & 2-month-old Arielle on our way to Port Antonio ‘s Navy Island 1985 – Click to View
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
The 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.
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 →
Second Grammy win for Toots and The MaytalBy Kevin Jackson, Jamaica ObsERVER
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. Continue reading →