Posted : 17/06/2001


The Congos have signed with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation for their song "Dont Blame It On I". This has been a great achievement for The Congos who have worked very hard over the years but were never given the respect or the recognition they deserved. We were very excited when film producer Eric Bassoff asked Cedric Myton the leader of the Legendary Congos to use his song "Dont Blame It On I " in his movie "KISS OF THE DRAGON" starring Jet Li and Bridget Fonda. This movie will be in the theaters on July 6th and the soundtrack was released on June 15, 2001.

This is a Blessing from Jah Rastafari as this is the song Cedric Myton and his wife Yvonne Myton wrote twenty-five years ago when Cedric was brutally beaten and his dreadlocks trimmed by the police in Kingston Jamaica while returning from a Niah Bingi to celebrate Ethiopian Christmas. The Government at the time offered him money as compensation for his virgin locks but Cedric refused to accept any money. Instead a Declaration was signed by Prime Minister, Michael Manley, stopping the police from trimming the dreadlocks of Rastas. It was during that time of lamantation "Dont Blame It On I " was written by Cedric and Yvonne. Now twenty-five years later Jah Rastafari has paid Cedric Myton, The Congos, in HIS own way, for the wrong that was done to him and his family and all Rastas.

Watch for the movie KISS OF THE DRAGON and also the soundtrack on the Virgin Label. The music will illustrate a sequence at the beginning of the film, when Jet Li has just arrived and goes through Paris in a cab, driven by a Rasta man who is listening to the music in his cab. Soon to be released also is the LIVE IN COLORADO cd featuring "Dont Blame It On I". This cd features one of Congos original bassman Jah T also known as Tony Allen on bass and wife Mala on vocals together known as Natti Love Joy. Johnny Dread from Roots Awakening who mastered his keyboard on this cd, Kneah and Naptali from France on guitars and Cedric from Roots Awakening who played percussion along with Jah son, Yattie on drums and the vocals of Cedric Myton, Milton Henry and daughter Isheba Myton and additional vocal of Mala Allen. Everything is going well for The Congos as the single that Cedric did for Grand Central Records "Never Keep Us Down" is also doing very well in Europe.

Taken from Wha Gwaan In RAW? (6/18/01).

The Congos

Posted : 16/06/2001


I recently attended a reggae concert in Washington DC where Gregory Isaacs (later on replaced by John Holt due to prior commitments), Chaka Demus and Pliers, Tony Curtis and Jigsy King were to perform. Also several DJs were expected to do some juggling. The flyer indicated that doors were to open at mid-day and the show would continue rain or shine. I figured that if I roll in around 3:00PM I will catch the ending of the Sound System juggling, of course that was poor judgement on my part, even stage setting wasn't complete by then.

Members of Calabash the backing band for the event were languishing behind the stage, they have had a long night practicing and seemed just ready to get the show started so they could catch some much needed rest. A casual conversation with one of them revealed that they had not been fed for the day. Chaka Demus and Pliers were eating their rice, peas and fish seemingly relaxed, since they wouldn't be going on the stage until after Tony Curtis and Jigsy King's performances. The musicians and singers' presence, I took as an indication that the show would start at some point. I lingered around wondering why the juggling sounds hadn't started. Time ticked away until 5:30PM still with no music. At 6:00PM the stage managers just realized that the generator they intended to use was not working and it took an hour to change it. By this time there were still very few people in attendance and I was beginning to think that maybe people know better than to come early for the show.

During this long waiting period, Keith Porter, David Isaacs, Jimmy Riley and Carl Malcolm along with three bandsmen traveling with the Itals passed through and it was pleasing to see these musicians come to support their fellow musicians. There was a 30 minute sound juggling after which a GOGO band (E.U. feat. Sugar Bear & Juju) took the stage. Their performance lasted for an hour and a half and once again the sound jugglers took over (Stone Love this time). We listened to Stone Love until 9:30PM. Papa Wabe then announced Tony Curtis whose performance was not that impressive as he seemed interested in singing to and whining with several girls in pom-pom shorts in front of the stage. Things got worse after the arrival of his partner Jigsy King. A wasted 45 minutes for me. The promoter appeared on the stage to announce that the show will end at 10:25PM and this was at 10:15PM. He had basically determined that Chaka Demus and Pliers and John Holt will share the remaining 10 minutes. He sighted some facts about police requesting that the show end as if he did not know what time he was expected to end the show.

John Holt appeared for exactly 5 minutes, managing to just tease the people by starting a song and immediately asking the bandsmen to bring it down and switching to the next song that would end in a similar fashion. Earlier on I had requested to see the promoter to complain to him about the delays and I managed to catch up with him just as John Holt got off the stage. I missed Chaka Demus and Pliers' performance talking to him. He tried several reasons to place the blame on the artists, fortunately I had arrived early and had spoken with some of the artists so I disputed his arguments. Eventually he asked me if I was from Jamaica. A nay gave him an opportunity to say it is the reggae culture, that's how it is done in JA. Indeed I have read about how late shows start and much more that comes with this lateness, but is this a culture we want to send reggae around the world with?

I approached Papa Wabe at the end of the show and we reasoned about the way things went, two other local promoters joined us and tried to give reasons in support of the promoter with a flopped event. I expressed my disappointment and Papa Wabe supported my arguments. The promoters basically felt that it is better to wait for the people to attend a show, than to carry on with the show and take a loss. A futile attempt in my opinion; how do you wait for people you do not even know if they will show up or not? I guess the promoters figure that if they lose money, the audience must lose the same; what a stance to take.

This is not the first time I have been to a show in which the fans get short-changed. What bothers me the most is that the fans seem content to leave without at least pointing out to those organizing the event, that there is a problem. Many resolve the issue, by deciding not to attend similar events any more. What can we do as fans to ensure that we at least get our money's worth when we go to these events? I know RAW members are scattered all over the country (world for that matter) have you experienced such in your region? To the promoters: how can we ensure that shows start on time even with the risk of having few people in attendance? I am sure we are aware of the fact that there are some traits of the "reggae culture" that hinder support of the music and the unnecessary delays are just one of those traits. Maybe it's time we started looking closely at those contracts, they might need some modifications. Whoever causes any of the parties (artist, promoter and fans) involved to be short-changed must feel the pinch.

I have always been impressed by Burning Spear's punctuality. I have been five minutes later than the announced show-time and he would be on stage already. Maybe if shows were to start at the prescribed time fans would learn to be punctual and the promoter would not take a loss and the early arrivals would not be short-changed. Would be glad to hear what people think could be done to prevent this kind of robbery and to help reggae and live reggae performances gain support from the fans.

Taken from Wha Gwaan In RAW? (6/16/01).
Writer: Jabulani "The Rastaman" (RAW member #498).

John Holt

Posted : 01/06/2001


The 20th annual Martin's International Reggae & World Music Awards held Saturday May 12th at the Renaissance Jamaica Grande Resort Hotel in Ocho Rios, was from all accounts, a smashing success. Despite the persistent rainfall throughout the weekend, a sold-out audience showed up for the event and they were not disappointed. The show got under way at 9:00 PM, with emcees G.T. Taylor and Tony Rebel alternating in the announcements of some of the early awards. With Tony Rebel showing that he had what it takes to be a top-class emcee and the introduction of the slides to announce each awardee, the Jamaica Grande Ballroom took on the appearance of a Grammy Awards show. Dub poet and social commentator, Mutabaruka, gave a memorable performance and reminded all and sundry that he was still a force to be reckoned with in the music business. Veteran singer Pam Hall gave a credible performance, as did female Vocalist of the Year - Ce' Cile. George Nooks, who has the number one single in Jamaica for eight consecutive weeks, God is Standing By, was majestic in his presentation and had the audience singing along in a frenzy, while performing the hit song. Lord Laro, the veteran calypsonian of the 70's, was also in vintage form and showed that he hadn't lost a step. His old classy hit, Foreign Press brought back memories. It was, however the appearance of singer, Everton Blender, that really brought the crowd to its feet. Fully attired in a purple suit and arriving on stage belting out his trademark Religious Covenant, Blender was simply in a class by himself and could do no wrong. With favorites such as Lift Up Your Head and Get Up People Song reveting from his mouth, the singer left the stage with the fans begging for more. Veteran Gregory Isaacs and Half Pint, however, were not too far off as both gave memorable performances.


Half Pint

Posted : 19/05/2001


On the newsgroup a reggae fan posted the message that he had found a dub CD of Gregory Isaacs' classic "Night Nurse" album. This message led to the following reaction.

"Night Nurse in Dub" is a pirate album. In April 1999, TABOU1 contacted Flabba Holt and Bravo to record 15 Gregory riddims, including the whole Night Nurse album. Flabba, Style Scott, and Keith Sterling recorded the basic riddims. Then Style Scott said he'd take the master tapes to the UK during his next trip to add overdubs, which he did, and which TABOU1 paid for. I had not been asked permission, but when I found out, thinking Style Scott is a wicked artist, I gave my OK. Then one day, Style Scott called me from London asking to deal the business part. I replied that the business included him as a musician and that funds had been sent to Flabba and Bravo, whom are the guys I know at Leggo in Kingston. I have released 2 albums produced by Bravo, have used Flabba repeatedly on sessions and co-produced U Roy's "Serious Matter" album. Style got threatening and demanded I pay him a huge sum of money to get back the masters. I basically told him to fuck off and return the tapes to Bravo asap. He did so and I thought that was it. Since then I've voiced several riddims: Sugar Minott, Max Romeo, U Roy, Horace Andy, Gregory himself, Don Carlos, Lone Ranger. It is becoming a nice album, with great overdubs produced by Guillaume Briard (who also works with TABOU1 on the next Horace Andy and the soon to be released "Now" album by U Roy).

A couple weeks ago, I went into the Reggae section of a big Parisian store and saw the album. I immediately called the French company which licenced the music from Style Scott, told them the runnings and they have agreed to stop manufacturing it, stop promoting it, etc... I have the masters in my office, with the work sheets, the contract, evidence of money transfers to musicians and studio in JA.

The guy has been denying everything when asked about the licence, but contradicts himself so much that it's pathetic. He's down to the point where he is accusing me of being the pirate, and him the producer. At the same time, Style has even admitted that I sent him money in the UK to pay for studio time. I mean: why would I pay for studio time if I was not the producer?????

TABOU1 is the only French independent company to go to Kingston on a regular basis to produce new music recorded with the greatest musicians (Sly & Robbie, Roots Radics, Johnny Moore's Winward Band, Ruff Cutt), and some wicked artists (albums by U Roy, Horace Andy, Winston Jarrett, singles with Ninjaman, Barrington Levy, Anthony B, Sugar Minott, Max Romeo, Alton Ellis, Mighty Diamonds, etc...). I won't let that go unpunished. The law, both terrestial and celestial, will prevail.

PS: from an artistic standpoint, wait for TABOU1's release, Style's album truly sucks compared to the potential beauty it could and should be. TABOU1's release will be a double CD featuring 15 covers by artists including those mentioned above on CD1, and demented dub versions on CD2. For the same price as the piece of crap Style dared put out. Usually his productions are better (African Head Charge, Dub Syndicate), I wonder what went through his mind. With such behavior, no wonder he got kicked out the Radics band backing IV on their last tour.

Guillaume Bougard, Tabou1 Records.

Posted : 13/05/2001


Chrisinti has finished a European tour earlier in the year and has been working on the same bill as Morgan Heritage. When you hear him sing "Better Days Are Coming" it takes your breath away with its mind boggling lyrics that give off positive vibrations to everybody who hears the message from this truly gifted Jamaican master of song. Marcia Simpson, wife of legendary Duckie Simpson from the world's most famous reggae band Black Uhuru, is well and truly impressed by the "Better Days Are Coming" album and especially Chrisinti's delivery that she is taking care of business for reggae music's rising star Chrisinti, who is now working on a full length album which will also include "The Better Days Are Coming" track. It should be ready sometime in July 2001. Another version of "Better Days Are Coming" with harmonies will be coming out. However for now you can listen to the version featured on the last year released "Better Days Are Coming" set by simply clicking on the cover. Also check out the review featured in the "samplers" section.

Posted : 05/05/2001


On Tuesday 1st May 2001 some 300 reggae dancehall fans found their way to the Effenaar in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to capture one of Jamaica's namebrand artists, Buju Banton, performing live on stage. Backed by the tight playing Shiloh band - featuring Lenky on keyboards - and accompanied by three female backing singers Buju treated his audience to a selection of tunes he recorded during his career which spans one and a half decade by now. For those who saw Buju's show last year there were no big surprises as he mainly performed the same tunes. The band started to warm up the audience with a great Studio One instrumental featuring Lenky in a prominent role on keyboards. Then it was time to welcome Buju Banton, who opened the show with "Destiny", a track from his "Inna Heights" album. What followed were modern roots tunes like "Hills & Valleys", "Cry No More", "It's Not An Easy Road", "Untold Stories", the impressive "African Pride", "Mighty Dread" and the ska flavored "Better Must Come", to name a few. But Buju Banton also showed his dancehall side with "Woman Dem Phat", "Only Man" and an awesome version of his booming dancehall hit "Champion" delivered over the presently hotter than hot "Trilogy" riddim. As it is 20 years ago that Bob Marley died on the 11th May it's obvious that many reggae artists incorporate a "Tribute to the King of Reggae" part in their show and Buju Banton did so too. He delivered a nice version of "Positive Vibration" which also contained a toast in U Roy stylee. This evening the vibes were right, Buju in a good mood and the audience satisfied with the music they were treated to by both artist and musicians.

Teacher & Mr. T

Posted : 04/05/2001


Saxophonist Brian Edwards will be doing a guest appearance with Jazz artiste Marcia Escoffrey at the Tabernacle,London W9 on Saturday 5th May 2001 and at WKD Camden, London on 28th May 2001. Brian will also be performing with his trio B3 in June at Jazz Live London, dates to be confirmed. Looking ahead to July, Brian is to perform with the Roy Ayres Orchestra - dates and venues to be confirmed.

Currently working on her new album, "Soul Response Ability", but recently took time off to do a brief appearance in the Hague, Netherlands. She is scheduled to appear in Italy next month; watch this space for dates and venues.

Last month saw Drummie with Finley Quaye in France, Belgium, Portugal and Holland. Next UK dates are with reggae songstress Louisa Marks in Leeds on May 27th and 28th. He is also working on the final mixes of a solo reggae project.

Thea Wray, in her capacity as Director of Music for Black Women in the Arts, (BWA), will be appearing on 10th May at the new London venue, OCEANS, with her gospel choir Nu Vision at the launch of the Rising Tide talent project aimed at the 16-25 age group and run in conjunction with the venue.

Catch G Vibes with the Remus Sound system on 5th May 2001 at South London's 161 Club Revival Dance.

It is with great sadness that we said goodbye last week to friend Richard D Jones Jnr. American record producer/songwriter Richard Davis Jones Jnr first became a London resident in the late 1970's enabling him to work more closely with his sister producer and singer Gloria and Marc Bolan of T-Rex. During his career he worked with numerous record companies and labels including Motown, A&M Records and United Artists' in both capacities. He started his career as a songwriter working with Rene Hall, arranger for the late Marvin Gaye. Shortly afterwards he was introduced to Larry Maxwell and Hosea Wilson, who were considered to be the godfathers of R & B promotion, in the 60s and 70s and it was through them that Richard began to learn the business of the recording industry. He went on to work with Fred Smith, Skip Lane, Ray Charles, Hal Davis at Motown, Ray Parker Jnr, Sylvester Rivers, Bill Henderson at A & M and also Ernie Fields with whom he worked on up and coming artists.

Richard himself was part of The Penthouse Four and the list of musicians and artists he worked with reads like a Who's Who of Black Music with a variety of performers such as The Jackson Five, Earth Wind and Fire, Candy Staten and the Phoenix Horns to name a few. One of his greatest entrepreneurial music projects was with 70s soul funk band Gonzalez, whose first release 'Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet' was a massive world-wide hit on which he undertook not only to produce and perform but also to market.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA Richard grew up and was educated in California. As the son of the Rev Richard D and La Verne Jones, he had a strict Christian upbringing, attending Sunday School at Mount Vernon Church of God in Christ where his father preached and as he grew up, becoming a Junior Deacon. He was known as a happy, out going boy, with interests and accomplishments in art, sports and music who had a deep respect for his parents and great faith in his father. As he grew up it was his love for music which made him shine. With this background, he developed his ability as a leader of young people.

Richard was a fighter and campaigner for equal rights and justice. In the 1960s he was active in the Civil Rights Movement in America and it was at this time that he converted to Islam, taking on the name Rashid. His great passion in life was to encourage the young to direct their energy and talents toward creating and making music. Never seen in public without his trademark cowboy hat, he was a formidable figure, not only in stature but also in character and business. Richard had the tremendous ability to surround himself by talented people in all fields related to the Entertainments Industry thereby creating a network of people who were able to collaborate on his various projects. Up to the moment of his death he was working on new projects, music partnerships and films including the Zest Pictures documentary 'In The Daytime The Stars Will Shine' which premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival in January this year.

Richard is survived by his wife Charlotte, his mother La Verne Jones, his sister Gloria Mitchell, his daughter Regina, his son Little Richard and six grandchildren.

Richard Davis Jones Jnr was born on 5th July 1947. He died of a heart attack on 14th April 2001, in London, aged 53.

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