Tyrone Downie is a familiar name and talent to avid followers of Bob Marley and the Wailers. I had always been interested in meeting this renown keyboardist who first played with the Wailers at the ripe “old age” of 13, so I was pleased to hear that he was looking forward to this interview with Reggae Report.
The Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers tour had just finished and Tyrone was in Miami chilling for a while. As a member of Ziggy’s all-star band, memories of Tyrone’s magical keyboards were once again revisited. For the veteran keyboardist, performing with the son of his good friend and mentor was like a page turning in musical history.
His obvious energy and passion for performing was manifested in a warm, engaging smile and the unmistakable twinkle in his eyes that greeted me when he opened the door. Our meeting place was at the home of a friend, complete with a studio where Tyrone could lodge part of his cumbersome collection of keyboards and other musical “toys.” Surrounded by equipment and a big screen television that was tuned to “Video Jukebox,” Tyrone Downie felt comfortable and in the mood to talk.
I went right to the big questions: What was it like being a member of the Wailers during his impressionable teen years? What was it like working with Bob? These answers and more were revealed throughout our two-hour conversation that was as amusing and informative as it was intuitive and insightful.
When Tyrone Downie “officially became a Wailer” in 1975, he already felt like one because he had done studio work with Bob Marley since 1969. It was during this session time, under the tutelage of Aston “Familyman” Barrett, that Tyrone first realized that he was frightened of these Wailers. “They were real tough guys,” he describes, “they were scary.”
The Recording Academy’s 2022 GRAMMY Award nominations are selected from 22,000 entries and awarded by its approximate 12,000 voting membership. Now, and going forward, GRAMMY nominations will be determined by a majority, peer-to-peer vote of Recording Academy voting members. So, if you want to have a voice, contribute, and vote, *Become a Recording Academy member here*
I recently had the pleasure of speaking on-air with Deon Mattis, host of “Home Run” on Jamaica’s The Edge 105.3 FM radio program. The topic centered on the 2022 Best Reggae Album nominations. In my view, 2021 was the year of collaborations and indie labels. To be clear on why, here’s my overview of the six nominated albums, artists, and labels.
The Six Nominees are:
PAMOJA – Etana– on U.S.-based Freemind Music
Etana is a gifted singer, songwriter, and 2018 Reggae Grammy nominee.
She has earned her fanbase through consistent quality recordings and performances since 2008.
On this album, Etana displays how progressive and in-touch she is with today’s market.
In addition to old school Reggae and new school Trap/Dancehall, there’s a notable Afrobeat influence, as heard in her collabs with several African and international artists.
Not to mention, her collabs with such Reggae greats as Damian Marley and Albarosie.
POSITIVE VIBRATION – Gramps Morgan – on U.S.- & Canada-based Halo Entertainment Group
I was there in ’94, when the unknown Morgan Heritage made their debut Sunsplash performance on a small stage. They blew everyone away and were invited to perform on the big stage on international night. The tight, pop-sounding group was immediately signed by MCA Records as they departed the stage.
Over the next 20 years, Morgan Heritage received two (2) Reggae Grammy Awards.
Gramps lives in Nashville these days, and the influence of the acclaimed-music city is unmistakable on this album. The songs are fun, romantic, country, and Reggae.
The collabs with Shaggy, India.Arie, his father Denroy, and son Jemere are awesome additions.
On this album, Gramps reminds me of a Reggae Jimmy Buffet.
LIVE N LIVIN’ – Sean Paul – on JA-based Dutty Rock Productions (his own label)
Inarguably, this Dancehall pioneer is the most well-known, recognizable, award-winning artist in this category.
A Reggae Grammy winner in 2004, Sean Paul has been nominated many, many times.
He is the performer, songwriter, and producer on this album…but he’s not alone on it. There are nearly 20 artists jammin’ with him… from Buju and Movado, to Damian and Mutabaruka.
You know it’s Sean Paul when you hear the first track…his distinct Dancehall style is unmistakable.
With the generous smattering of new and legendary DJs, this album is a sure-fire party hit!
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.
From “Reggae Report Runnings” 1984 – Meet: M. Peggy Quattro
“When one door is closed, don’t you know many more is open.”
May 11, 1981, holds a special meaning for me in two ways. Firstly, it was the day that Bob “Nesta’ Marley left this physical plane to go on to higher heights, and secondly, it was the day that first marked my entrance into the Reggae music business, working with Don Taylor, Bob’s long-time friend, associate, and manager.
The immediate hustle and bustle and activity at the office surrounding such an international event convinced me that this was no “joke business.” Bob had a lot of work left to do, and out there would be certain people “picking up” where he physically left off. I am one of those persons.
Bob was the key to the spiritual door… and he opened it so now everyone can go through. I find I-dren everywhere I go that know, as Jah children, this is serious (yet happy) work we carry on in the name of our father – Jah! Like so many others, I could relate to the philosophies and wisdom Bob left for us in his songs. These same truths hold true today for those of US familiar with his life and times, as it will hold true for future generations who will know him through our records, tapes, films, and books.
Bob will never age past being vibrant, energetic, and 36 – beautifully endowed with dreadlocks from his soul, love from his heart, and truth from his lips.
In 1982, my first labor of love was the Caribbean Sunburst Festival, where, as Director-in-Chief, I made my own solemn tribute to Bob. This 4-day history-making event was soon followed by our presentations of Marcia Griffiths at the Gusman (still keeping it in the family) in ’82, and then various promotional endeavors that eventually led to the creation of Reggae Report.
So ‘wake up and live” y’all…the Reggae Report is here… as a voice, as a rhythm… we shall, ‘till the last syllable of recorded time, honor and hold in reverence our beloved leader, brother, and friend.
“You think it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning…”
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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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.
In the '90s
In happier times
Jamaica hosted MIDEM's Showcase & Reggae Rocked Cannes! The best performances I ever witnessed
He autographed his book, Marley & Me, (where I'm mentioned a couple times)
Everyone wanted to meet Bob, coolest guy ever
Imagine…both of these guys were Bob's manager for a while
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 Any Image 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!
At ReggaeReport.com or Amazon/Kindle .com
You've never seen Reggae History like this before
Are You in Here? Your Family? A Friend?
200+ 80s & 90s Artist Headshots
Reggae Trilogy eBook 80s & 90s Headshots
A look at the Global Era of Reggae Music
Reggae Trilogy: 200+ 80s & 90s Artist Headshots – Legends sample – Artist Index – Artis tNames – Singers Chapter Intro – 5 stars! Great reviews! Get yours now! – Click Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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.
The Lion of Judah
Mortimer Planno was the Rastafari elder & leader at the time
This hand position is used by Rasta worldwide as a symbol of respect.
Nov. 3, 1930
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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 & ‘90s.
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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 Any Image 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 1982’s 4-day Caribbean 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 Any Image 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 Any Image to View!
CITY OF MIRAMAR CELEBRATES ‘BLACK HISTORY MEETS REGGAE’ MONTH
Reggae Ambassadors Third Word and pioneering businesswoman Patricia Chin, co-founder of VP Records, are the recipients of this year’s Reggae Icon Awards, presented by City of Miramar Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis. The Marcus Garvey Award will be presented to Attorney/Community Activist, Alexandra Audate, a member of the Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward. The presentation ceremony takes place on Sat., February 27, 6:00 p.m. at the Miramar Amphitheater, Miramar, FL.
Commissioner Davis stated, “Third World and Miss Patricia Chin have made groundbreaking contributions to Reggae music and I am happy to be honoring them with the prestigious Reggae Icon Awards this year. The City of Miramar has planned a series of events to celebrate Black History Month and Reggae Month under the theme “Black History Meets Reggae”. The Reggae Icon Award, initiated by Commissioner Davis in 2019, recognizes the valuable contribution of notable individuals to Reggae music while the Marcus Garvey Award recognizes a local champion in the fight for equality and justice among minorities.
Third World is one of the longest-existing Reggae bands, with nine Grammy nominations and a catalog of charted smash hits (including “Now That We Found Love,””96 Degrees in the Shade,” and “Try Jah Love” ) spanning four decades, sold-out tours, a vibrant and loyal fan base, and inspirational messages.
Patricia “Miss Pat” Chin, matriarch of VP Records, built a Reggae empire in Kingston alongside her late husband Vincent “Randy” Chin. Randy’s Record Mart and Studio 17 are where the careers of artists from Bob Marley & the Wailers to Augustus Pablo toToots & the Maytals began. After moving to New York in 1978, they opened VP Records, which has grown to become “the world’s largest Reggae label.”
The Reggae Icon Awards presentation ceremony is free to the public and all CDC COVID-19 guidelines will be observed.