Earl 16 interview Part 2

by Mar 22, 2020Articles, Interview

Earl 16 (Photo; Teacher)

“WONDROUS WORKS” | PART 2

When: 1992
Where: London UK
Reporter: Ray Hurford & David Katz
Copyright:  2020 – Ray Hurford

In part 2 of the interview Earl 16 recalls working with various producers including Coxsone Dodd, Roy Cousins, Mad Professor, Robert Livingston, Skengdon, Gussie P, and Blacka Dread. Furthermore he, of course, talks about tunes and albums he recorded for these producers.

RH = Ray Hurford
DK = Dave Katz

“WONDROUS WORKS”

RH: After that, you worked with Roy Cousins.
Cousins was coming down to Coxsone’s, they had an argument, or Cousins didn’t like how Coxsone was administering his music, and he wanted to branch out on his own. So, I think that’s one of the reasons Coxsone never put out my other album, because I went off with Roy Cousins, he influenced me and he told me, “Yeah, I can get you 1500 pounds for an album”, at that time it was a lot of money. That was about ’82, I goes “Boy, that sounds good”, because apart from Coxsone giving me about 6 or 400 dollars a week, a thousand pounds would have come in handy. So I went off with Roy, and did a couple of tracks, but at the end of the day, I did about 14 songs for Roy, Roy put out about 4 albums out of those 14 songs, I don’t know how he did it! He put out four albums out of about 15 songs! I didn’t get any money off of Roy until I came to England, because he did an album through… I kind of drifted off with Roy, get involved with Roy Cousins, I was between two minds, because Roy wanted me to come to England as well, but I didn’t want to come to England because I wanted to hang out, and see if something would happen for me with Studio One, but I think he got upset with me working with Roy Cousins.

Roy Cousins

Roy Cousins

RH: I think Roy’s problem is, when he compiles the album, he doesn’t vary them too much.
He uses the same rhythms, because he did Don Carlos, with the same rhythm tracks, he did the same thing with Junior Reid and Charlie Chaplin, there was a couple more guys, and it was the same rhythm track, it kind of made the thing too local, it wasn’t really worth it, apart from Junior, and a couple of tracks.

RH: He did try hard, because he got deals for Don Carlos with CSA and Kingdom…
It was kind of working but then he kind of went and messed it up, trying to sell the same record to another company. He’s blaming me now, because I’ve seen him recently and he’s saying “Boy, it’s your fault, you should have stick with me” and all this stuff, but you can’t really stick with a producer if you can’t really relate to him. It doesn’t work when you recycle the rhythm tracks.

DK: Can you tell me the inspiration behind “Song For A Reason”?
Of all the songs that I did for Roy, the only one that I recorded live in the studio was a song, we did it with Flabba Holt, Roots Radics band, one called “Lively Session”, I’ve done that for Coxsone as well, I think it’s on the album, “Showcase”, Studio One. I recorded that live for Studio One as well, but I recorded it live with Roy Cousins, with “How Many Rivers”, (sings) “How many rivers must I cross before I am free”, that was another one of the songs. But most of the rhythms, he had the tapes, the rhythm tracks were laid, and usually I’d sit down and I’d write the songs and I’ve got a kind of beat in my head, because working with Boris I kind of picked up making music to the song. I had those lyrics, “Songs For A Reason”, I had “Struggler”, I had “Julia”, lots of songs that I wrote without having any specific rhythm tracks, but I had a beat, or a key or whatever. When Roy came up, we went to Tubbys and Tubbys has got this vibe where, when I’m at Tubbys I’m flowing because Tubbys was that kind of thing. “Song For A Reason” was basically what was happening with me at the time. I wrote it at the end of the day, when the evening start and you want to have some fun, you work in the burning sun all day, and songs for a reason to last for all season. I wanted to make every day, what we were living into a song, then it was an album I was doing, so that track was one of the album tracks, but that song is one more than one album as well. But I think I want to re-record that song. He was a good producer, he was making a good headway…

RH: Out of all them albums, there’s really only two tracks that stand out, “Songs For A Reason” and “Julia”.
Yeah, “Julia”‘s brilliant. Each time I go to Europe right now, somebody goes to me, “Can you do that song, do you remember that song?” I’ve got a couple boxes of the albums that I did with him, I’ve got the “Julia”, and he put out one in January last year I think called “Special Request”, I’ve got a couple of those, each time I go to Europe I sell them, they’re always in demand.

RH: After that, there was a gap, and then the Mad Professor stuff.
Before that, before I left Jamaica again, I started working for a geezer called Robert Livingston, because the Studio One stuff, between the late ’70s and the early ’80s, Coxsone was trying to set up himself in America, so he wasn’t really putting out a lot of songs in Jamaica. “Love Is A Feeling” came out during that time, but it wasn’t really promoted in Jamaica. It might have played now and again, because the DJs used to come down when they can catch Coxsone, because he used to be in and out of the country, spend a week in Jamaica, then he’s off again. When the DJ’s come, they would only play the name brand artists like Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, the hot stuff that Coxsone’s putting out, so my tune, “Love Is A Feeling” kind of got lost in all that pile in Jamaica, but it was doing things in America, oversees. Roy Cousins, the same thing, Heptones, the same, they all put out the songs overseas, so nothing was happening for me in Jamaica. So I went and started working with this guy called Robert Livingston, and I did a song called “Mother To Be” for him. When we recorded it, Roots Radics band again, Dean Fraser and Nambo and another guy, it was one of the best songs I think I actually recorded in Jamaica, properly arranged and everything. I did two songs for him, and he gave me 500 dollars, I remember, and he released it through Tuff Gong, on Tuff Gong label, and the song shooted right up into the charts.

It was getting red hot in the charts. It was really kicking in Jamaica that song, and I was looking forward to something happening. Then we started working on an album, because he wrote a couple of tracks and gave them to me, gave me some rhythm tracks, but he was making the rhythms behind my back, without me being there, writing the songs. He could sing as well. But I like to be there with the musicians when the music is actually being laid down, so I get that feeling, so when we’re voicing it, you can put out everything. He was doing that, and I was waiting around for him to finish making the rhythms so that I could start voicing, but I had to go away.

Winston McAnuff told me that Skengdon, this rotten rich geezer in Miami is starting up this label, building a studio, and he’s looking for all the young artists, and he’s got visas for everybody who wants to come up, straight works, limousines, big things, the proper stuff, so I goes, “yeah man, shit, why not?” ‘Cause in Jamaica, I thought, yeah this tune’s going to go number one, so I went boop! Off to Miami to do a show, I did a show for Skengdon, and we did the show, and I started to do some songs for him, because he was building up a studio, a big mega kind of thing, it was taking all this money. His studio was being built, but we were using Inner Circle’s studio, Fat Man rhythm section, Roger and Ian, they had a studio in Hollywood, Miami, Florida. I started voicing some songs in that studio, making the rhythms and voicing them, and I did a couple of songs. Skengdon gave me some money, about 10,000 dollars US; I went back to Jamaica.

When I went back now, the geezer that I was doing the album with, he goes “Boy, the man gone a foreign, Rasta, and you go sing for next producer, we never want you fe do that.” I told him “Look, ‘Mother To Be’ is needed in America, people can’t get it and they want the song. So you’d better release it, get someone, sublet the song to VP or something”. He goes, “No man, me a go up there meself to put it out, Rasta, me can go America any time, and me can go a England”. So I goes, “Yeah, but you need to do it now, because the tune is happening now.” At the end of the day, he had a meeting with Tuff Gong, and they goes, “Well, you have to pay some money to get the tune in the top five”, that’s how it goes in Jamaica, that’s how it goes everywhere, you have to pay. He goes, he’s not going to pay because the song is good, it can stand on its own, it’s selling. It didn’t get in the charts with him paying any money, it got in the charts by sales, so I goes “Fair enough, I agree with that, don’t pay a cent, whatever happens. If it don’t do into the top five, that’s it”. He didn’t pay the money, and the song still went to number 2, ’cause it was selling that much in Jamaica, everybody was into it.

I was getting shows, I was working at the Little Theatre, I was working at Zinc Fence, that’s the place that Third World’s got this office, work shop, but it’s like middle of the road kind of thing, Up Town kind of thing, I was doing lots of shows from that song, and thing was happening. Then he goes to me, “Boy, I’m going to work with Ruddy Thomas, ’cause you went and worked with Skengdon,” so the rest of the songs I was supposed to do on that album, he started working them with Flip Wilson and Ruddy Thomas. He put out two songs with Ruddy, they never, nothing happened. Then I just got fed up, I went back to America, I went back to Miami with Skengdon, I got a month in America and I stayed eight months, I think I can’t go back to America for that, but I just wanted to get away from it, because I could see that the business in Jamaica was kind of like a rat race kind of thing where you have to pay out to get your tunes played, you have to buy the DJs, Barry G. and all these guys, they usually come to Dynamics or they come to Sonic Sounds every weekend for their groceries, come and pick up a thousand dollars. I kind of get fed up with it, I stayed in California for a little while with Mikey Dread, ’cause he was touring a lot, I went overseas with him.

RH: Somewhere about ’86, ’87, you done that tune for Blacka Dread, “Batman and Robin”.
That was ’85, when I first came to London. When I came up, I came up with Sassafrass, Edi Fitzroy, Jennifer Lara, Leroy Smart, Anthony Johnson, and Wondernose, we came up to do that GLC thing, we all came on that same trip. When I came up that time, when I came to England, that was after “Mother To Be” came out, and I was really upset because people were coming to Jamaica and begging to get the song released, and the guy was holding on to the tape, I goes man, this guy’s crazy! All right then, so when I came up, I got two weeks, and I stayed seven months in England, because I loved it so much, the only place that I loved so much was Canada, which was like quiet, there wasn’t so much Yardies going about shooting up the dances and all that, it was nice and genuine in England, so I thought, yeah , I want to stay in England. I met up with a couple of producers when I came over here, I met up with Blacka Dread, and I met up with a guy called Welzeer (?) who was running King Original, and Sassafrass was writing a lot of songs. He’s a DJ, but he writes songs every day, maybe four or five songs a day.

We had a song called “Batman and Robin” which I actually done for him, but we did it in a studio called Creative Sounds in Jamaica. At the time Creative Sounds, the sounds wasn’t so up to standard, so when we came over, Blacka wanted to give me some money to voice a tune or two for him, so I told Sassafrass, I said, “Yeah, let’s do ‘Batman and Robin'” so, we went to the studio and we laid the rhythm track, ’cause that was the original rhythm track that me and Sassafrass did it on in Jamaica. Sass has got a stream in him that he could really produce, he’s wrote a lot of songs for like Echo Minott, all the General Trees stuff, all the lyrics is like, Sass just gave it to him, really he was like into the horse business, he owned a couple of horses, didn’t have much time for the studio. We did that song for Blacka, and Blacka put it out over here. He send the tape with Fatis to Jammys to put out a song in Jamaica, ’cause I wanted songs to release in Jamaica. Jammys took the tune and had it for about two years, sitting on it.

When I left England and went back to Jamaica, I went round to Jammys, because Blacka told me that, I goes, “Blacka you know if we have this tune in Jamaica?” because it was playing over here, he had a DJ version which went number one, Screechy, “Walk and Skank” on the same version. When I went to Jammys back to Jamaica, I said “Jammys, Blacka tell me that you’ve got the rhythm track, are you going to put out the song?” He said “Well, boy, the only way I’m going to put out this song is if you do another couple of songs for me, ’cause I can’t put out one song with an artist if I haven’t got anything else”, so I go “It’s not your tune to put out, it’s not for you to decide, Blacka asked you to put out the tune, you have to put it out like that”. He goes, “well, you have to do some more songs, I can’t put out the song until I’ve got a couple more songs”. I don’t know how Fatis got back the tape, but Pinchers did “Lift Up Again”, his first song he did on that rhythm track and it went like wild fire, it just went number one in Jamaica.

What Jammy’s did was he cut a dub plate for his sound, and a couple more sound systems, so they were playing that version of it, and it was like mashing up the place! Before it was released in Jamaica, Jammys had it on dub, and it was mashing up the place, every dance that I go to, I was like a star! Then, instead of him releasing the tune because it was getting a buzz, the dances, everybody was playing it, guys were rapping onto it. I think that’s how Pinchers kind of wrote his lyrics off of the rhythm. Then, when Pinchers’ one come out, that was it, it didn’t come out again in Jamaica. But I was glad for Pinchers, ’cause Pinchers one really went big, and that kind of gave him his name, and he started coming up. Since Screechy, the SLT, since they put out that hip hop one, Blacka’s now, re-released the old one, like he’s remixing it, I told him he should have remixed it, he should have tried to put it out when the first “Batman” came out, you know, that first, a couple of years ago, the film, “Batman” film, that’s when he should have tried to put it out, like in America, it was a craze, everybody had Batman hats, and this and that, but he wait until this time around.

Mad Professor

Mad Professor

RH: How does Mad Professor fit into the picture?
With Prof. Now, I was working, after Blacka, I didn’t really like how Blacka never got my tune released in Jamaica, so I didn’t really want to work with Blacka. I started working with a guy called Mafia Tone, Stafford Douglas in Birmingham. I did “Love Is A Feeling” for him again, that was ’85 I did that, and I did a couple songs for him, but Stafford wasn’t really like into producing, he was into having his record shop and keeping shows, he had a sound system, so you had to pressure him to put out the records. He did put out a couple of records for me on the Now Generation label. I did a couple songs with Stafford, then I started doing some songs for a guy called Pick a Pow, his name is Philip Powell, he did some songs with Top Cat. I was doing some songs for him, and he went up to Ariwa to record the songs, so I was doing (sings) “Behold, I saw you standing there before me, and now I’ve found the wonder of my glory”, I was doing it in a reggae, like an up to date kind of thing because I really like that song, and like Neil (Fraser) was really impressed with it, he like the way I sing it, and I did a song called “Marcus Garvey” as well, and it was like, Prof. goes to me, “Boy, 16, I’d like me and you to do some work, because I really like how you did those two songs for Pick a Pow.” So Pick a Pow had the songs, lack of promotion and all that, I think the one he did with Top Cat did something good for him, but with my songs, they never really happened for him. That’s how I got involved working with Neil, and my girlfriend, my baby mother used to do backing vocals for him some times, she knew him for a long time. When I first came, ’85, when I left, I left about in ’86, January, and when I went to Jamaica, flown back, I’d met this girl over here, when I phoned her back, she told me she was pregnant, she was like my first baby mother, so I wanted to come back to England boy, no stops, I wanted to come back any way I can.

When I came back, I came back through America, and she came and get me through the airport through customs and she brought me up to Neil, that first time, before I went with Picka, so it was actually Michelle that introduced me, she was there working, I was there night after night, listening to what’s going on. When I went back with Picka, I did a couple songs with Picka. I went in, he goes he’d like me to do some songs, I did “Children Rise” for him, “Marcus Garvey”, and “Peaceful Rasta Man”. I said, “Well look, like how I’ve done these 3 songs, I think we should try and do a album.” I found out that Prof. was like the most serious person, because before I actually did the work for Prof. I recorded about 6 songs for myself, with the help of a guy called Burt Douglas, Bertie was into the studio business a lot, he was working with Captain Sinbad, working with some old guys, Jah Thomas, he’s like a pioneer in the reggae scene, so I did an album with Burt, and me and Burt had some arguments, and he put the tape under his bed, there was cobwebs growing on it and all that. About 2 years afterwards, I met a friend of mine from Jamaica, he had wads of money, he was into making his money, but he wanted to get involved with music, so I goes to him, “Look, I’ve got some tunes and I’m not doing nothing until those tunes come out, ’cause I know that those tunes is the business,” so he goes, “All right then, can you get the tape”, so I goes, “Let’s go and check the brother”. I went to Burt, and I says “What you do with the tape?” He says, “You want the tape, take it! I finish with music, I cannot take it!” Because he was working with Delton Screechy and Kojak, and Kojak had messed him up a lot, Kojak did some really weird things to him and Berris Basser. They didn’t want to know anything about music business, Burt was going “Look, take the fucking tape. Just pay me back my studio time”, so I paid him 250 pounds, and took the tape. When we went to the studio to listen to the tape, what was on the tape? “Holding Back The Years” was on that bloody tape. I said, I want to press this tune, I want us to remix this tune and fix it up, we recorded it at Galtree Road where Professor was first, that’s where we record the album but it wasn’t to do with him, it was Burt’s stuff.

Earl 16

Earl 16

DK: I was surprised that you did a version of that tune.
What happened, when I was in Jamaica, before I came back to England in ’86, when I was leaving the first time, that song, it was playing up a lot over here, the original version. So, I took the record, ’cause I goes ‘This is one of the best songs.’ I took the record to Jamaica, and I was singing the song to everybody, I went to the dances, I hold the mike and I sing it. People just went like, hm, hm. I goes, “Bloody hell man, this song is great! What are you waiting for?” You have this producer called Kango in Jamaica, Kango produced “Blueberry Hill” with Yellowman, he was the first one that produced Tiger… Major Mackerel. The guy was spending the money, he had his car, “Kango” on the license plates, and he was rich. One day, I went to Tuff Gong, he used to use Tuff Gong all the time. I went to Tuff Gong and I goes to him, “I’ve got a tune I want to record, I must record this tune,” He goes, “Sing”, so I goes (sings) “Holding back the years I’ve had so long…” He goes, “Yeah. I want you to record it, how much you want?” I goes, “Well, just give me a money, man, give me an advance. I just want to do the tune”. He goes, “Look, I’m going away tonight, but I’m working, I’ve booked the studio for the whole night, I have to go to America. Anthony Red Rose is going to be in charge of the session, record the song and I’ll pay you when I come back”. When I went to the studio on the night Anthony Red Rose goes “Whoa 16, we’re busy, we can’t deal with you right now”, so I ended up keeping the song until I came back to England, and I wanted to do it in Jamaica, when I came back now, I did it for Burt.

I tell you now, that tune, I used to sing it in every dance in Jamaica. When I came and I recorded it for Burt… What we did in the long run, we took it to Marc Angelo’s, took the tape over there, ’cause we’d just laid the basic rhythm tracks. I overdubbed some keyboards, ’cause I like doodling around with keyboards, I do some piano on “Holding Back The Years”, and I got my daughter to play some guitar on it, and me and my baby mother sing harmonies on it, and I re-voiced it, and we mixed another song called “Come Give Me Some Of Your Love”, and we put it on the b-side. We made up that disco there, and he goes to me, “If you want the money to press it, you’ve got it, so what are you going to do?” I said, “All right then, first thing, I’m going to go to Mr. Pama, see if he likes it”, so we made a dub plate, and I took it to Jet Star and I played it. I said, “Mr. P., I want you to listen to this song, tell me if I should press it or not”, and Mr. P. put on the record, he goes, “Start it back again”. I think, “We’re pressing tomorrow.” Mr. P. goes, “Yeah, it’s not bad you know 16, it’s not bad but…” I goes, “All right Mr. P., thank you very much, I think you got a good opinion there, you give us a good opinion, it’s ok”. So we took it straight to press. That tune, I tell you, up to now, I have to press that tune every once in a while, because Fat Shadow always got a little order for the 12 inch. That tune sell so much I had to be using two press. I was pressing it just on my own.

RH: Do you think you’re going to pursue self-productions more?
No, no, no.

DK: What about the time you had Upfront Records?
That’s it, Upfront I was working with, that was the guy that was really, I was like just monitoring the money for him. With Upfront, Upfront kind of got carried away, because we had this album, and I told him “Look, the tape that we got from Burt, I know there’s about six songs on it. Let’s make some other rhythms, and finish up an album, and put out “Holding Back The Years” the album,” because it sold so much, we got thousands of pounds from Mr. Pama because he put it on his CD. I goes, “Let’s try and make an album now”, he goes “Yeah”. Next thing I know, he flies out to Jamaica and he makes an album with Little Kirk. He comes back, he goes “Boy, I made an album”, he had songs with Jennifer Lara, he did six songs with Cocoa Tea, he did this, he did that. When he comes back now, he came back with all these tapes, he says “16 come, we’re going to the studio”. I goes, “What about my album, man? Aren’t you going to finish my album?” He said, he wants to finish the album with Little Kirk, ’cause he was stinging, he was shocking out in Jamaica. At the end of the day, we had to send a ticket to Little Kirk to come and voice the songs, he was just spending money all over the place, but before we finished the album with Little Kirk, we did a various artists on the Upfront label, with Jennifer Lara, Johnny Osbourne, a few people, and myself, but it didn’t go down that well because…

Then, after “Holding Back The Years” I tried pressing a follow up to that, “Give Me The Reasons”, he had Jr. Demus on one side and me on one side, and it never really worked. The vibes that we got from “Holding Back The Years” is like a once in a lifetime thing, we could never get that back again. I know music business is a gamble, but I’m not interesting in lugging around record shops. If I’m going to concentrate on making the records in the studio, and making sure that we’ve got the right mix, it’s too much. That’s what kind of happened with Upfront, I was spearheading the whole thing, these guys think like these are the artists, I was trying to make them look good, and they wanted to do, “Yeah man, let’s press this”. Carlene Davis came up, they did one song with Carlene Davis and gave her 1500 pound advance. They paid 1500 pounds for the studio time, it’s like trying to do too much things at once. That’s what I learned from.

When all this was happening now, I kind of noticed that the guy that was playing up my records, the radio DJs, there was too much radio stations to deal with as well. When you press a record, say you press about 2-300 records, you end up giving up 200 records to the radio stations! One station wanted 15 records, for each DJ! So I goes, the only thing that I can do right now is, I could have went to Mr. Pama and said, “Can you help me press the album” or something, but I’m an artist, I don’t want to get involved in that, it’s too much work, because I went through it. So I goes, “I’m just going to finish doing an album for Professor”, and it took me two years to do that album. I didn’t want to do it, then I goes “Yeah, I might as well do it”, then I didn’t want to do it. Professor is really busy as well, so it took us that time to actually get the album done. As soon as it was finished, it was out, and it started working.

Then, me and Mike Brooks, we’ve gone back a long time, because I knew Mike Brooks from African Museum, I met him through Gregory Isaacs’ record shop in Jamaica, in Chancery Lane, and he was part of the Techniques and all that, he was a regular guy. I met him in London, he was working with Chris Hall, Music House, so we started hanging out, I went with Mike to do some backing vocals for him on this ska rhythm that he did for Rhythm Foundation. When I did the backing vocals on it, the rhythm track it was a ska tune, a cover of Prince Buster’s “Tougher Than Tough”, and John (Mason) who was there, kind of like how we pull together and that, how me and Brooks sound, he asked me if I’d be interested in listening to a couple of the ska music he had. I goes, “Yeah, why not?” I listened to a couple of them, but I didn’t really want to do any one-one record. I’ve been doing one-one singles all over the place, and it’s not really worth it. He sent me some tapes, and I had the tapes for about 4 or 5 months, listening to the tapes over and over. He sent me two tapes, one with all the stuff he did with Devon Russell, and some of Mike Brooks stuff, and one tape with just pure rhythm tracks. One day, I’m driving along, listening to the tapes, and I go, yeah, I wonder if these guys would be interested in doing an album, seeing that the Mad Professor album is out, released, and I know for a fact the only other person that has got another album with me now is Studio One, or Sassafrass, which he goes to me that he’s waiting until I’m dead or until I go mad before he puts out the record, but what happened, I think he lost the tape! Bastard. He must have been coming through the airport or something, and it got messed around, magnetic stuff. You know how I felt when he told me that? I goes, “You bitch! You waiting for me to dead, you see what happen, the tape bloody die!” (Laughs)

Gussie P (Photo: Teacher 2006)

Gussie P (Photo: Teacher 2006)

DK: What about Riz, do you have any more material with them?
Unfortunately not, man, because Riz, those guys are really great. I did two singles for them, after I did the Mad Professor album, I went to do some specials for some sounds, (like) Surfa, and Riz, Mannasseh them, Nick, I met up with them, and I did two songs for them actually, I did the “Natural Roots”, and then there’s “Cheating”, they laid the rhythm track. I tried to voice it, but it still hasn’t been voiced or anything, because the rhythm, they’ve made the verses different, and they themselves wanted to get it right, so that’s just there, something to come. Apart from that track for Riz, I can’t remember doing any other songs apart from finishing this album for Otto (Hestness) and John (Mason) of Rhythm Foundation, with Mike Brooks.

RH: What about Gussie P.?
Before I actually did the album with John, I made an album for myself, linked up with Burt Douglas again, and this album is called “Boss Man”, it’s going to be pressed and released in Jamaica, I think the sleeve’s already finished, I’m trying to get a CD deal for it. He’s put out two singles from it, “Tender Love”, that’s a cover version of Kenny Thomas, the rhythm is played by Sly and Robbie, Sly and some guys that Sly’s working with now, and it’s really kicking right now, and “She Loves Me”. These two songs are released on seven inch in Jamaica, and every time they’ve come up to England on pre, they’ve sold out the same day. I voiced them here, but the rhythm was played in Jamaica, they took the tapes back to mix it in Jamaica. Everybody comes from Jamaica, they tell me that they’ve heard the songs, they’re big down there. What I need to do, is go down there and try getting back involved with doing a couple shows which is on the agenda before this year is finished, I’m really looking forward to doing that. I don’t think I’m going to be doing much more studio work for right now, until I’ve picked up a deal, because I think this album, “Not For Sale” is being looked at by a couple companies, Shanachie, Overheat in Japan, and my last album “Babylon Walls” is distributed through RAS Records, and I’m sure there’s another album with me, but I don’t think I want to get involved with RAS, because they’ve got too much irons in the fire, and I like to have somebody who is working with me who I’m working with and they’re working with me at the same time, close, we can set up shows, and booking agencies, promoting the artists.

Most of the producers, they don’t really cater for the artists, they don’t really promote the artists, they promote the records to make their money back in their pockets. After they make their money back, then the artists could never do a tour. With reggae… with big companies, people take up like Shabba Ranks, or whatever, when the artist is signed, when the album comes out they do promotional tours, it’s all tied in… but with us, reggae, we don’t have time to deal with the artist which is what is really lacking. That’s why so many Jamaican artists come and go, apart from Bob Marley or for me now, I have to say Burning Spear who’s taken up where Bob Marley left off, apart from these bigger men, older guys, nothing is happening. Guys like Cocoa Tea, guys like Yami Bolo, Tenor Saw, all this artists who had promise, promising singers, Echo Minott, Wayne Smith with “Sleng Teng”, these artists were promising, but they weren’t really being promoted. That’s the major problem right now. That’s why I’m trying to hold onto whatever I’ve got, try and get a deal, and I’ll try to get everything into perspective.

Earl 16 Selection