Like A Tale of Two Cities opens ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. On the day Stevie Wonder’s brilliant new single from his upcoming album HOTTER THAN JULY was breaking all over the radio & dance clubs Bob Marley fell ill while jogging in NYC. It was September 21st 1980. Unbeknownst to everyone but Marley’s close inner circle at first within a couple weeks many more were hearing the rumors Bob may be dead within days. No one wanted to believe it but to those who were there it was ultra real. The hoped for Wonder/Marley tour with encores of both “Masterblaster” & “Jammin” mashed-up inna duet style remains the stuff of dreams. Six weeks later Ronald Wilson Reagan (666 = the # of letters in each of his names) would be elected President and soon preside over the greatest u-turn in working man politricks in many generations. A month after that John Lennon lay slain in the streets of New York. Marley stayed alive for just five months after that. Midnight Dread begins with the prescient dread of Big Youth portending more mayhem with madness in the Caribbean spreadin’ world-wide fever stylee. Repression & reactionary days loomin’, doomin’ progress & love among the people:
Later in this 33 years ahead radio show, after the Masterblaster debut seemingly helps knock the transmitter silly, Earl Zero performs two killer tracks live in San Francisco at The Back Door followed by two deep dubs from Scientist & King Tubby. Along the way Desi Roots re-does “Greenfields” herbalistically in a massive foot-long forty-five, Nina Hagen sparks an “African Reggae” ten inch ep with her transcendent yo-dels, The Cimarons remind that the idle days of free spending are gone like the sand upon the wind while “Rooting For A Cause”, Joe Higgs thinks of “The Moment” as do many others including Don Drummond, The Bases, The Dub Specialist, & Prince Fari. The I-Threes infer “Many Are Called” & some ask ‘chosen for what?’, so Bob Marley insists “in this oh sweet life, It’s life, It’s life, It’s life! Why do you look so sad & forsaken?” If only we could freeze time & stop these things dread in their tracks. As Master Wonder sings so heartily, “Marley’s hot on the box”:
Dreadcasting over the air and online daily 21st Century Midnight Dread programs at 12am including replays often heard in his Best of All Worlds high noon slot and where one can also become conscious at 6am with the indigenous sounds of Native Son Rising, all curated by Doug everyday, all times Pacific. Many more Midnight Dread sights & sounds here and on this blog’s Midnight Dread page. Go deh. All of dem.