Teacher at Reggae Vibes | Jun 20, 2018 | 0
Glasford Manning (of The Jewels) interview
Initially, a big part of the attraction of Jamaican music was, at least for yours truly, the quantities of local harmony groups to be found. Nowadays it is difficult to believe since the last ten or even twenty years or so has proven it to be a dying artform in reggae, but the tri-part harmony vocals was once a dominating musical force on the island. Cornerstone groups like the Abyssinians, the Meditations, Culture, the Mighty Diamonds, the Morwells, the Wailing Souls, theViceroys, the Itals and even the Gladiators, before they switched to being an instrumental unit, and countless of others, including the previous wave of rock steady and early reggae trios and quartets such as the Overtakers, the Caribbeans, the West Indians, the Versatiles, the hugely influential Heptones, the Conquerors, the Rio Grandes, the Meditators, the Spanishtonians and dozens more, all provided listeners with some unforgettable and golden moments on wax during the 1960s and seventies. For any serious reggae aficionado, this period has got to be the most outstanding: great harmonies and lead voices, superb session musicians, skillfull engineers, sparse but obviously perfect recording equipment, and not the least those vinyl 45s on charmingly titled labels, many printed in scarce amounts at the time.
FROM THE HIGHEST CULTURE
Many of these groups will never have their stories told, I’m sure, but I’ve been able to track down at least one whose cult has grown steadily over the past twenty years of even more than enough obscurity, the Jewels’ founder and lead singer, Glasford Manning, also known as ‘Porti’. This harmony trio made their name in the late seventies for such excellent sides as ‘I Jah I’, ‘Slave Trade’, militantly provocative songs like ‘Black Is the Highest Culture’, or such mellow, sweet lovers rock sides as ‘Dream Lover Babe’. They worked mainly through producers Niney and later Leggo Beast, the latter said to sit on at least two albums worth of music from this overlooked group. Porti also cut a few solo records of which ‘Prophecy Call’, a particular sound system favorite among the UK crowd, has to be something of an underground classic, reissued on a 10″ by Niney not long ago. After a handful of more or less extraordinary releases, Porti and his fellow Jewels vanished from the music scene in 1986 after the ‘Inside Up Upside Down’ (Leggo Sounds) 12″ failed to make any impact. But Porti’s history in Jamaican music doesn’t begin or end with the Jewels, he was also foundational member of Time Unlimited, a quartet which featured among them a young Junior Delgado, as well as Hugo Blackwood, and he began to record for, who else, the late Sir Coxson Dodd in the late 1960s. Read on for more information on this great, overlooked, obscure but highly talented singer from one of the best groups in reggae vocal harmony, the Jewels. My thanks to Porti, Bravo & Terry, Bredda Blackheart, Sis Irie, Donovan Phillips, and Steve Barrow.
What was your start in the music business? I know you did something for Studio One to begin with.
Yeah. How I get in the business in the music as a career, I was along in Trench Town and met a group called Delta Cats, and they took me along down by Downbeat (Mr Dodd) on Brentford Road.
What year was this?
What year it was? It was ’68, coming into ’69.
So the early reggae era.
Yeah, inna those time. So they said to I now seh they want I to give them a back-up vocalist, so I backed up some tunes with them, two songs with them over by Downbeat studio. So, when I realise too within myself and even the producers them told me say I must form a group for myself, so I get to along now moving out of Trench Town, get along to Duhaney Park in Washington Garden, and I record with a company called Upsetter, Lee Perry. I do a album over there, we and Junior Delgado, Owen Marshall, Orville Smith and I, G. Manning. Yeah. And I formed a group, four of us formed that group and called it Time Unlimited. We does a album over at Lee Perry, move on to a brethren called Niney, and we do two songs for Niney, move on to Rupie Edwards and we do two songs over at Rupie Edwards. Move on from Rupie Edwards now and been down by Leggo studio and now I find say Time Unlimited now seem to Junior Delgado dem, dem feel say dem be the star and dem waan fe go out on dem own, they go and break away. So I formed a group now and call weself the Mighty Jewels. So, Leggo see us, which is down by Cash & Carry where (Gaylard) Bravo is now, Leggo see us and said, well, he would like we to work with him. Well, we start to work with Leggo, we do a greater, great portion of songs fe Leggo, yunno. Nuff songs.
Before we move too fast, you said you met up with the Delta Cats, the group who cut songs like ‘I Can’t Believe’?
Yeah, Delta Cats, a group called Delta Cats.
Who were a part of that group?
The member for that group, we call him ‘Soul’. I don’t quite remember his right surname now, but they called him Souls. He was living in Westmoreland. But I were in Kingston, so he leave from Westmoreland to come into Kingston and get recorded up by there. So, true I could sing that time, they said to I they want I to be a back-up artist for them that time. So I get along with them at that time.
What was the title you recorded, for Coxson?
Yeah, that was for Coxson. A tune name ‘I Set My Line In the Deep Water To Catch My Love’. Yeah.
So that was the only recording you did for him?
I did up there for Coxson, for Sir Coxson. Yeah. So moving on from Sir Coxson now, when I do recording now for myself as a vocal lead-artist, I move on from Sir Coxson and I went up by Duhaney Park. So, when I went up by Duhaney Park now I found myself now with Orville Smith, Owen (Junior) Marshall, Junior Delgado and I, Glasford Manning. So we form a group there and we call it Time Unlimited. So from we start to rehearse now and recording, producers hear we, and producers come and say, well, we can come up by the studio, that is Downbeat… not Downbeat…?
Upsetters, yes. And we go up by Upsetters and we sung twelve songs there, that is a album. In those days they call it a ‘album’, when we do twelve songs for him. So we said OK, and we gwaan moving on, moving on ’til we break away and I found we do… Junior Delgado and I and Orville Smith and Owen Marshall sing two tune for Rupie Edwards, ‘Run Baldhead (Natty Dread A Come)’, ‘Rastaman A Dreadlocks Down In A Babylon’ (issued as ‘Rasta Dreadlocks’, available on a nice Trojan compilation, ‘Ire Feelings’). And moving from there now I come to Lee Perry now, me and them, and we do an album for Lee Perry. After doing that album for Lee Perry now we went down, and then that…
Let me interrupt you by playing this track, see if you can recall this one (of course I have to take the opportunity to spin some tracks that our subject hasn’t heard for years, beginning by playing ‘Staring’ off a 2003 Upsetter anthology on Heartbeat, a previously unreleased song by Time Unlimited circa ’73)?
Yeah! That is… yeah, that’s for Leggo.
You remember that cut?
Yeah man, that’s the one that I do for Leggo! Down by Cash & Carry.
But this take is from Lee Perry’s vaults you know.
For Lee Perry?
Yeah! That is the track that I do for Lee Perry. Yeah, that is the track! Yeah. That is the track I…
It’s titled ‘Staring’ on this CD.
That is the track I do for Lee Perry, but I remix it for Leggo (rather a recut, actually).
Right, right. But this is one of the first recordings by Time Unlimited, it didn’t see release until this record came out. It’s been available since ’03 or so, included on a CD named ‘Cutting Razor’.
Yeah, yeah – it’s true! It’s true, I remember that song. I remember that song, I do it in the seventies. Yeah.
Here is another one I have to play for you, also Time Unlimited (but I can’t get the damn CD player to start the track though!).
Hold on (long pause). Well, machines never work when you need them to, right?
Yeah, I know that.
Can give you problems more time.
Yeah, especially in moments like these.
Yeah. (Sings) ‘Rastaman is trodding on hooome, to hoooly ziooon, oh yeees…’. We do that one for Lee Perry too.
Right. OK, listen to this one (playing ‘Judgement’ from the same Upsetter compilation on Heartbeat).
This was entitled ‘Judgement’, another unreleased Time Unlimited track from the ‘lost’ LP he did with you.
Yeah! Yeah man, is I do that one. Yes.
Did you write a lot together with Delgado at that time, or you created the material seperately?
Yeah, I write a lot of song for him too.
But in those days, you wrote the majority of the Time Unlimited material?
Yeah, I write most of the materials. Most of the material that Junior Delgado and I and Orville Smith, those brethren, me and them wrote together and get things together, y’know. Me arrange the riddims, sectioned them, I played my guitars, harps and all those t’ings. So, that’s how we come together, y’know.
How much did Delgado contribute to the album you were recording with the group?
How much? On the LP that we does for Lee Perry, I write the most. I do seven out of twelve songs. I do seven on it, I write seven songs of my materials. I write those songs. The other songs, five songs, is then between Orville Smith and Junior Delgado.
What was your material on it?
I do ‘Rastaman Is Trodding On Home’ (issued as ‘African Sound’ on Perry’s Upsetter label, one Porti is pretty fond of as he starts singin’ it again) ‘Rastaman is trodding on hooome, to holy ziiion, oh yeeess ah aaah…’. Yeah, and we do…
Listen to this now (playing ‘Rastaman Trodding On Home’ off Delgado’s third Incredible Music anthology). That’s the one, huh?
Yeah, yeah, that’s the one.
Delgado put this on a series of retrospective CD’s a couple of years ago (the ‘Treasure Found’ series).
It was released on a CD out of England, titled ‘No Baby Lion’. Did you know about it?
‘No Baby Lion’?
Yeah, it is included there covering his history as recording artist.
Yeah, but if he… is me who wrote that song, yunno. That is my material, but he put it out differently. And all those t’ings, y’know, I did not know about those t’ings you know, Peter. No, I haven’t known about these t’ings, I don’t get no contact, no confirmation about these t’ings. So I would like to know… yeah.
I know. Take a listen to this one (spinning ‘Rasta Dreadlocks’ off the same Delgado anthology), that was for Rupie on the ‘Skanga’ rhythm.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
That was the first one for Rupie Edwards, ‘Rasta Dreadlocks’?
Yeah, that is for ‘Rupie Edwards, and ‘Run Baldhead (Natty Dread A Come)’ we do for him.
But at the time you were still recording for Scratch, so this was a song that came out as Heaven Singers, or even ‘Heavenly Singers’, on the Success label.
Yeah. At the time when I record for Scratch, Lee Perry, it was Time Unlimited.
Right, it’s the same group but for contractual reasons or whatever it was, this got changed to Heaven Singers.
Because the group – or Rupie, probably both – didn’t want to cause any problem with Scratch, hence the name-change.
No, I never did want to upset Lee Perry at that time, I have to go to… with Heaven Singers, yeah. Moving from there so, after leaving Rupie Edwards I go to Niney, which is the Observer. I do a song for him name ‘Jah I’ (aka ‘I Jah I’, which he sings): ‘Although the wicked they try to get against I and I, they shall stumble and faaall, stumble and faaaall, they shall stumble and faaall now, so anywhere you see Jah children them a goo – ooo…’.
You cut this one for Niney too, that was the start of everything there (playing ‘Prophecy Call’, the stunning solo track by Porti on Heartbeat’s Niney anthology, ‘Observation Station’).
Eh? (Upon hearing a few bars) Oh yes! Yeah.
A pretty memorable moment there, that is certainly one you remember?
Yeah, I remember that song.
Yeah, ‘Prophecy Call’ fe Niney.
That’s the first one you did for Niney, right?
A solo recording.
Yeah, and then I do now ‘Jah I’ for Niney.
Tell me more about ‘Prophecy Call’ before we go any further, what is the background to it?
Well, ‘Prophecy Call’, we been down by Niney, and certain t’ings what was going on, y’know, in Jamaica at that time, struggling with the people dem, yunno. And dem never know themselves, for they was blaspheming against… at that time they were talking some lickle nonsense about His Imperial Majesty. So it give me the inspiration to write that song, ‘for the wicked never know themselves until their back against the wall’, y’know.
Who played on it, this deep, deep rhythm?
Ah, ‘The Wicked Never Know Themselves (Prophecy Call)’?
A guess: Lloyd Parks and We the People, We the People band.
Not Soul Syndicate?
So it’s not the Soul Syndicate band on this one?
Yes! It is Soul Syndicate, true. You hit the right spot, Soul Syndicate, with Chinna and a Chiney youth was in it playing, but I don’t remember his name right now.
Probably Tony Chin, rhythm guitar.
Yeah, yeah. I don’t quite remember, Tony Chin’s his name?
Tony Chin, yes – the one and only.
Yeah, Tony Chin. Yes. He play in the Soul Syndicate, true. Is that time I do that track for Niney.
Did you hear the impact ‘Prophecy Call’ had in England? I don’t know about the time of the original release, in ’77 or whenever, but it hit in certain places in England upon the 7″ reissue Niney did in ’97, did this come to your awareness?
Eh? All these… OK, ‘Prophecy Call’?
Correct, that track has a certain ‘following’ in England. Not only England by the way, it has reached far by now, sir.
Yeah, I get you, I get you. Yeah, and I do… I never know he do these t’ings, yunno. He don’t correspond me, he don’t tell me nutten about it. So what the alternative about these… how I could get away, get to occur them towards these t’ings?
What I could do?
It’s difficult. Especially when the artist in Jamaica is not travelling, you could never keep track of what is put out there, what moves producers make.
By the way, here’s another track for Niney, by the Jewels this time (playing ‘One Lick’, aka ‘One Little Lick’ from said Heartbeat anthology of vintage Niney productions, but mistitled).
You recall this tune?
Yeah, yeah! ‘One lickle lick and Mr. Big Man spread out flat’. Yeah.
(Chuckles) What is the actual title for this song, I’m wondering since it has different titles depending on where you look.
I do a tune for Niney, same Niney yunno, name ‘Jah I’ yunno. With Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare play that riddim. Yeah, named ‘Jah I’.
What is the real title for the previous song, the one I just played for you?
‘One lickle lick…’. Yeah, ‘One Lick’ it named.
I assume you aren’t informed about the inclusion of ‘One Lick’ on this CD here, titled ‘Observation Station’. It came out from America on the Heartbeat label about fifteen years ago.
No, I don’t know.
They mistitled it ‘Mr. Big Man’ though, even if the original seven-inch was ‘One Lick’. It’s credited to Porti only, even if the original single was by the Jewels.
OK. I did do that track by myself. The Jewels never did work in that track.
Alright, so it’s actually a solo cut?
Yeah, solo cut.
Not sure about that ‘Mr. Big Man’ thing though.
Yeah, they put the title to it to ‘Mr. Big Man’? Yeah.
Did you know about this 1990 release, does it ring a bell or it was totally news for you?
No, I didn’t know about the CD, he haven’t told me nutten about it.
It’s been out for a while now, about fifteen years.
Fifteen years ago?
Yeah, in the States.
Wow! Under the Heartbeat company? OK. Well, what I would like to know within myself now, Peter, how I could get to deal with this bwoy? To deal toward these t’ings? I can get a lawyer to put on it or what, or whatsoever?
You can, but you have to be able to back up the whole case if you want to run it through the courts or whatever, to make it worthwhile.
Yeah, I know that.
I guess if there’s a bunch of artists who want the same thing here, then it would stand a better chance to succeed, to win. Perhaps.
That is probably the key to get anything out of this. There was a case like this in France where a bunch of artists – I believe even producers – won over disputed royalties and piracy the other day.
Over to the track you’ve mentioned on and off now (playing the newly anthologized Jewels classic ‘Jah I’).
Yeah, ‘Jah I’.
That’s the track, the ‘track of tracks’ by the group.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
This is the latest Jewels song to be put on a CD.
The one that you played?
Yep, it’s out on a CD compilation named ‘Jah Love Rockers’, on the Trojan label.
Oh, that… yeah.
It’s been on the market for about two years now (and on a CD that was out of the UK this year).
On a CD? OK.
Yeah, with different artists?
Right, some Niney stuff, some music from Bunny Lee, Leggo Beast, Tappa Zukie. Songs by Heptones, Don Carlos, Leroy Smart, the Jewels, among others.
That’s the first time ‘Jah I’ has been on the CD format.
No, by the way, I think Niney had that track on a compilation that disappeared quickly – from the States, forgotten the title or label (the CD was ‘Reggae Rewind – Niney With Quality’ on the JA label, circa ’95). But I believe it was out there about ten years ago.
About ten years ago he put it out in America?
Yes, it was on there as well, ‘Jah I’.
So you see, various Jewels tracks still appear on the market. But there you are, not receiving a cent from this!
I don’t get a cent from it, no. It is true. And even with copyrights I want to get in contact with them too.
I guess that’s the thing to do, get in contact with a publishing company overseas to register your songs.
Yeah. I register some of the songs with them, yunno.
Yeah, I register the same tune that you played a while ago, ‘Jah I’, ‘Staring At Me Girl’, a lot of songs that we wrote and send it to them. ‘Hey Little Cary’, ‘Poor People A Cry (For More Food On Them Table)’, ‘Love and Livity’, ‘I Believe In Love’, ‘(Children of the) Slave Trade’. These songs is for Leggo, was Leggo.
Personally speaking, to be a part of a vocal group, that was what you wanted foremost upon entering the business at that time? You never really wanted to be on your own?
Seh what is the… what?
That was the best option for you in those days, to be a part of a harmony group?
I loved to go with a vocal group, I love a vocal group, y’know. I love a harmonizing, for certain t’ings I would love them youth. I can do everyt’ing towards music career, I can back-up a man deh, I can lead, and I can back-up my songs, my own self. But instead of doing these t’ings I get some other rest of the guys who I would like to help come along with me and back it up, yunno. That’s how I – and I love a backed up group, for backed up group have some works to do whe I love they to do, y’know. Yeah.
So what was…
What I would like to say now, Peter, I’m along with Kalonji (popularly known as Sizzla to one and all), I do four tune with Kalonji right now, and I’m along with Caveman.
Oh, so you’re recording even now? Good.
Yeah, I’m in the studio right now, and I’m supposed to be on Caveman today, doing recording for… I do five song up there. I’m doing an LP up there, up there right now.
Is this solo or you have a line-up – new or old – of the Jewels behind you?
With the Jewels, with the Jewels.
Who is actually members of the group doing the harmony for you, originally?
Yeah, originally Jewels now you have Mr. Benjamin Daley, and you have Mr. Lynford Newland, and you have now Mr. Happy Stephenson along with the Jewels right now. But Lynford Newland is not along with the group right now, him is in foreign country, overseas there – America. So is three of us working in the studio right now.
Who was in America you said?
Mr. Lynford Newland in America.
Ah, OK. He used to record for Tapper Zukie I think, back in the late seventies if I’m not mistaken and mixing him up with someone else.
Yeah, Tappa Zukie.
What was the circumstances that you eventually got this group together, originally? You knew these guys from before?
How do I meet them?
Right, they were basically friends from earlier days?
No, like the groups that I formed, y’know, when I were living in Trench Town, Soul – that is the Delta Cats’ leader, he come from Westmoreland, and he see me and he just tell me to come and do some work with him. So me jus’ go and do some work with him. Well, I think to myself seh I have to form a group for myself, and I been up by Washington Garden, up by Duhaney Park, and I’m over by my home and I’ve seen some youth a come across, but through I used to play my guitar and sing an’ t’ing, so the youth dem come around me and… which is Orville Smith, Junior Delgado, and O. Marshall, and they come around me. So they love how I sing all the while. So they say they want to join me, so I said to them seh “OK, you can sing, you can carry harmony?”And them tell me so I say, well, “OK, I wanna hear you”. So I start to sing an’ dem start to sing, so some of them never really get to the mark or how I would like them get to the mark, I have to taught them and show them the way how to get to do it, y’know. And operating, pertaining to a perfectness, yunno, that we can be listenable and appeal to the world and international and… you know? And so me and them been singin’, but me and dem is not me and dem did grow up together. That’s how my group come back around, me and them don’t grow up together, I’m just with them and help them.
There has been some mix-up over the years that people believe you are related to the Mannings brothers of the Abyssinians, Donald and Lynford. Hugo Blackwood confirmed this for me last year, that you are not related to them.
No, I’m not related to the Abyssinians. Well, I could be relative, far relative by my foreparents and them t’ing deh, we could be relatives from those lineage, yunno. Well, we never really get to correspond together, with each others. But coming a way from those families, y’know. Yeah.
There was one track you co-wrote for the Jewels with a certain Bobby Davis, who was this?
Bobby Davis? (Silence) Yeah, yeah!
That’s the same Bobby Davis from The Sensations?
Well, him coming from a group, yeah, Sensations (referred to as ‘The Temptations’ at one point by Porti, the tune in question was ‘Love and Livity’), I believe it was inna the Sensations he was. But at that time he never was recording with the Sensations. Sensations was a group, yeah, y’know inna dem young boy days deh they formed it, yunno, coming up. But through I was out there and him see I come amongst I and I, and I and him get to write a tune.
After leaving Niney for whatever the reason, you decided to work for Leggo. Why Leggo at that time?
Yeah. Well, I move from Niney when I and Niney break up, for I haven’t seen Niney fe a good time, and certain t’ings was going down with my personally life, livity, with my family, so Leggo was the one who give me a helping hand an’ lift me up so that I could do certain t’ings. So, I had my home, my garden, planting my vineyard, and I see him and Gregory Isaacs come up (by) my home and said, well, they have a session going down by Channel One, at Maxfield Avenue, so they said they come for me. At that time now I was along with the Jewels now, forming my group the Jewels now together. So, when he comes now I show Leggo say, well, is me and the Jewels them. Leggo say is not the Jewels them him come for, is me him come for. So we said no, I and these brethren sing some songs and I and these brethren practice it. So it wouldn’t be fair for I to go and sing the songs them and the brethren them could not take nutten from it. You know, I would like them to achieve with me. So him said “OK, OK, alright, carry them come and jus’ go with them and go down by Channel One”, and that’s how I get to go along with Leggo. So Leggo hear me, I start sing to him. Him just record ‘Dream Lover’, and he record ‘(Children of the) Slave Trade’ with me at the said time, said day I been down there. From there now I and Leggo careers begun.
You did ‘Poor People Are Crying’ for Leggo as well.
Yeah, ‘Poor People Are Crying’, ‘Love and Livity’, ‘Jammin’ On A Weekend Night’, ‘Staring At Me Girl’, and I do…
One titled ‘Trench Town Girl’ too.
There is one song named ‘Trench Town Girl’, which was solo.
Yeh, it was a solo copy. Yeah.
Issued on Advance.
Yes, the Advance label.
So the last tune you did for Leggo about twenty years back was ‘Inside Up Upside Down’? And the last record so far.
Yeah (sings) ‘You’ve got me inside up upside down, you’ve got me going going, ohh baby, you’ve got me inside up…’ – da one deh. Yeah. I do it for Leggo, yeah. That is the last single tracks.
Right, the last one, came out as a 12″ back in 1986.
I do a lotta song for Leggo, yunno. A lotta song.
For an album, or you have more than one for him in the can?
Yeah man, more than album, I have more than two albums I do for Leggo. Yeah man, ‘One Lickle Lick (Mr. Big Man)’… no, me never do that one. What I mean, song like ‘Poor People A Cry’, ‘Hey Little Carey’, a tune seh (sings) ‘Stop your bombing and shooting, Israeeel, stop your bombing and shooting, Israeeel, too much innocent blood has been taken, too much blood is shed in every corner in the city…’ – we do da one deh, yunno. Then we do ‘Hey Little Carey’, and we do ‘You, Woman I’m Talking To’, ‘Jammin’ On A Weekend Night’, do those songs for Leggo. We do a tune name (sings): ‘I saw her sit under a coconut tree, and she just keep on sheddin’ her tears, I said I don’t want her to cry no more, no no mooore, I found her full of tears come rolling down her cheeks…’, you know?
Right. What about another tune the Jewels cut for Niney, the somewhat controversial ‘Black Is the Highest Culture’?
Yeah (sings): ‘Black a the highest culture maaan…’ – that one.
Yes. What’s the inspiration for that song? Some hard-hitting lyrics there to say the least.
Well, that inspiration, man, when I look I see everything, in sports, in anyt’ing you can think of, black becomes a great on the top. But even the great regular star, Bob Marley, him was the greatest in Jamaica. He was one of the greatest in Jamaica – as an artist. So you know, I know seh black, black have the most culture, black is the builder fe the world. So I know these t’ings through, fe I’ve seen these t’ings by my eyes, I’ve learned by what my eyes sees, that’s how I learned. So I just get these t’ings together and put it in songs, and write it, yunno.
That’s the vibes. Did the Jewels get around to perform in those days, you did some live work back then?
In those days? Yeah, when I come in the Jewels I performed live on stage, for I perform in my Jewels days. I performed alone on shows. When I come now, I and Jewels, Jewels and a group named Crystal Celestial Wave Band, we performed on shows. Like Kalonji shows, we video with Kalonji, we in video with Buju Banton, and all these artists.
I’m sure there are Jewels admirers out there who wondered what became of you after that last record in the mid eighties, what have you been working with over the past twenty years? I heard you took care of Leggo’s old estate in the country, in Portland.
You see when I leave Leggo, when I leave Leggo now I was sittin’ at my home, y’know, writing some songs and I never visit the studio, I just sit back, yunno. But in the year 2000 coming up now I say, well, I going back into the international scenes and let’s do a boom! I go to Kalonji and Kalonji record us and do four songs, and put it out. And I said OK, well, I still going on in the music field now. So, Caveman heard me, and Caveman said, well, he would like an album from me. So what I’m doing now, I do five songs on the album and do two songs a’capella whe I don’t put no riddim to it as yet. But I do five songs whe riddim along right now with Caveman, so is up by Caveman with dem right now doing some songs, doing some songs right now intending to do shows for sooner or later. Shortly you will know, I will inform you when I’m going to move off the island, for I’m going to be in Ethiopia. We going to go by Zimbabwe and to perform.
A: So, we gonna go to Zimbabwe, me and Kalonji, and other artists. You know, we gonna perform and the Celestial Wave Band, y’know, Crystal Celestial Wave Band, for I play some instruments like drums in the group, yunno. Music, yeah I’m doing some music in there, and even vocals with them, even back-up vocal with them. But still I’m working on the Jewels album now to come out, shortly.
Good. Did you record a lot more with Niney that he’s sitting on, things that remain unreleased?
No, I never record nuff with Niney for an album, and neither with Rupie Edwards.
But at least Leggo is sitting on one or two completed albums, but it’s no good just parking it – it must come out.
Yeah, him have more than a album, for nuff tune I do for him, nuff tune. But him have more than an album, yeah? Hey, I do two tune yunno with Junior Delgado fe a boy named Paul – Paul, yunno. A tune named ‘Gimme Wha’ Me Want’, and ‘Happy Birthday To Sweet Sixteen’, and I do those songs with Junior Delgado.
When was this?
In the seventies, in the seventies there. Way down in the seventies, ’bout ’70 or ’71, inna those times. No, ’bout ’73 or ’74, inna those time. Yeah.
With some perspective, how do you look back on your experiences in the music, if you would summarize it all, you know what I mean, just sum it up – the good, the bad and the rest.
Well, when I look back on my career in the Jewels, y’know, I’ve seen seh the Jewels is so progressive and so advanced and so knowledgable, but the t’ings that I’ve seen, my personally financially… is personally financially embarrassed to how the peoples dem that I dealt with, dealt with me towards finance, y’know, towards those t’ings. So, I would like to put a stop into those t’ings. I want to get on the limelight the most international way, and I love music and I cannot stop do music. I have to just keep on doing music, for it’s born in me from I was a kid, so I love it. I love good music, love cultured music, teach t’ings that is teaching the people somet’ing good towards reality and livity, y’know.
I’m hearing more and more positive words about the current Caveman productions, so if we have the debut album by the mighty Jewels to expect from there, it sure will be quite an event for lovers of classic harmonies and reggae music in a cultural context, with a sprinkling of sweet love songs executed by a lovely baritone singer. That voice just got to be heard, a classic in itself somewhat. Any news from the Jewels camp is to be welcomed, but first and foremost, the vintage stuff just has to come out! Anything else is a crime against one of the most talented singer/songwriters in Jamaican history, Glasford Manning. Some tracks has been floating around on reissue ever since the early 1990s. Though Auralux didn’t take the opportunity to collect the long sought after ‘Black Is the Highest Culture’ on the newest Niney anthology, ‘Sufferation – The Deep Roots of the Observer’, but included yet again the (unquestionably) brilliant ‘Jah I’. Neither did Trojan on their latest Niney CD, ‘Blood & Fire – Hit Sounds From the Observer Station’, the one to replace already excellent – if not even irreplaceable – compilations like ‘Bring the Cutchie’ and ‘Blood & Fire – Niney & Friends, 1970-72’, both courtesy UK compiling maestro Steve Barrow back in 1989. Niney even re-issued, as mentioned previously, ‘Prophecy Call’ on a 10″ some time back credited to one ‘Gladstone’ Manning.
Speaking of the now revitalised 10″-format, wouldn’t it be nice to have some Cash & Carry 10″-singles of ‘Love and Livity’, the brilliant ‘Staring At Me Girl’, ‘Slave Trade’ and ‘Dream Lover Babe’? Now listen up, Leggo, Niney, etc, the powers that be, it’s about time. Why hasn’t this come out at some point over the past fifteen years? Why be sitting on great compositions when a new audience is hungry and ready to hear them, almost thirty years after the event? Also about time is the reprint of ‘Black Is the Highest Culture’ (boos to Auralux for not including it on their Niney anthology, sort of a missed opportunity for us all, but there’s still time) combined with the majestic ‘Jah I’ in classic discomix style, and Niney ought to take note, those two were his productions. This music needs to be heard and see the light of day again. And, above all, but not likely considering how the business goes, compensate its author for what he’s worth, and that is a lot. Do this for a change! And for you out there who hasn’t had the pleasure to hear the Jewels yet, there are a few albums to choose from out there. Even though Porti will see nothing from it, pick ’em up and you will not, absolutely not, be disappointed. Nuff respect for all your hard work, Mr Manning. You will get there, one day.