Doctor Dread reveals ‘The Half That’s Never Been Told’ in new autobiography

On March 3, 2015 Brooklyn, NY’s Akashic Books will release The Half That’s Never Been Told: The Real-Life Reggae Adventures of Doctor Dread. The publisher describes the book as “[a] passionate memoir and fearless behind-the-scenes look at the personal lives of the biggest reggae stars in the world.” However, it is also the story of RAS Records, one of the most significant and influential US indie labels and one that changed the face of reggae forever.

CLICK HERE to continue reading…

Signed advanced copies of the book will soon be available at Doctor Dread’s website.

Doctor Dread will be signing advanced copies of his book, The Half That’s Never Been Told: The Real-Life Reggae Adventures of Doctor Dread, at the Bob Marley 70th Birthday Celebration featuring Jesse Royal, Third World and Dub Architect on February 6th, 2015 at the 930 Club in Washington, DC. He will also be signing advanced copies of his book at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC on March 7th, 2015 from 1pm to 3pm.

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Don Carlos and Barrington Levy Live on Volcano Hi Power 1983

Here is a special audio recording.  The greats Don Carlos and Barrington Levy bless the massive ‘pon Volcano Hi Power with Burro Banton at the controls.  “Volcano a ‘di A-1 sound.  Riiibbbbiiiitt…”

Big news regarding Barrington Levy.  I had the opportunity to spend some time with both Barrington and Jah Screw several weeks ago when I was in Kingston.  I recorded an interview with Barrington in which he reveals that he has recorded an acoustic album of some of his most beloved hits.  The album, which he collaborated on with producer Handel Tucker, also contains several brand new tracks as well.  The tentative title for the album is AcousticaLevy.

The interview is 45 minutes of Barrington speaking open and honest about the sad state of reggae dancehall, which is pervasive in Jamaican radio.  He also discusses the very first time he performed live on-stage, and talked about those who were instrumental in building his career.   We also had a fascinating discussion about how he has been heavily investing in his local community by donating computers and other vital supplies to local schools and more.  In fact, he just built a radio tower from which he will broadcast his own radio station!

Both Barrington Levy and Jah Screw are the coolest, most solid bredren I have ever met in this reggae thing.  I’m working on transcribing the interview now.  Will certainly share it in its entirety as soon as I’m finished.

Bob Marley and the Wailers Kaya Tour Rehearsals, Criteria Studios, Miami, April 31, 1978

Today I am sharing an excellent audio recording of a Bob Marley and the Wailers rehearsal session that occurred on April 31, 1978 at Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, FL.  Just a week earlier, on April 22, 1978, Bob Marley gave one of his most legendary performances in his native Jamaica.  Having gone into exile for 14 months following an attempt on his life at his home at 56 Hope Road, Marley returned to the island to perform at the One Love Peace Concert.

The band is rehearsing for the US Kaya Tour, which kicks off in Ann Arbor, MI on May 18, 1978.

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Bob Marley, Ann Arbor, MI, 1978

 

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Crazy Baldhead
Who The Cap Fit – (Man To Man)
Easy Skanking
Want More
Jamming
Crisis
Running Away
Running Away – (Take Two)
Positive Vibration
Soul Rebel
Waiting In Vain
Rastaman Chant – (Take One)
Keep The Faith – (Take One)
Keep The Faith – (Take Two)
Burning & Looting – (Take One)
Time Will Tell – (Take Two)

Here is an article about Marley from the Ann Arbor Sun June 10, 1975:

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Included here is an article by Neil Spencer which was published in New Musical Express on May 6, 1978, just two weeks after Bob Marley’s performance at the One Love Peace Concert and several days after this rehearsal session.

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A Tale of Two Trench Towns

 

“Trench Town Rock” was recorded in July 1971 on a four-track at West Indies Studios, more commonly known as WIRL (West Indies Records Limited) or Dynamic Sounds Studios.  It is the same studio where the Rolling Stones recorded the Goats Head Soup album in 1973.

This version of “Trench Town Rock”, which was released on the G&C imprint in the US, contains an extra verse at the end, making it longer than the more popular version.  It is also noteworthy that this recording features the Wailing Souls on harmony.  Players on this original version included:

Bob Marley – vocal, guitar
Bunny Wailer – harmony, bass
Peter Tosh – harmony, piano, organ
Winston “Pipe” Matthews (Wailing Souls) – harmony vocals
Lloyd “Bread” McDonald (Wailing Souls) – harmony vocals
George “Buddy” Haye – harmony vocals
Norman “Fats” Davis – harmony vocals
Carlton Barrett – drums
Wally Williams – guitar
Alvin “Seeco” Patterson – percussion
Carlton Lee & Andy Capp – engineers

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“Trench Town Rock” was also issued on this Tuff Gong 7″.  However, for this release the final verse is excised leaving us with the more popular version of the tune that most are familiar with as it is the version that got significant radio airplay.

The Tao of Eek-A-Mouse: Rare Vinyl Cuts (An Exclusive Jah Raver Mix)

There is no doubt that Ripton Joseph Hylton AKA Eek-A-Mouse is one of the most uniquely talented artrists to ever emerge from Jamaica.  He is one of those few reggae artists whose music is so widely appealing that even the average reggae fan is at least aware of him, and more than likely even owns an Eek-A-Mouse album  or two.

While he got his start working the local sound system circuit and recording a few early singles with Joe Gibbs, his most significant work involved “singjaying” over hard ‘n heavy Roots Radics  riddims produced by producers Linval Thompson and Henry “Junjo” Lawes.  Eek-A-Mouse was part of the Channel One contingent that radically changed the sound and vibe of reggae during the period from 1979 through 1985.  From 1980 through 1985, Eek-A-Mouse released seven of the heaviest and most influential reggae albums of the early dancehall era including Bubble Up Yu Hip (1980), Wa-Do-Dem (1981), Skidip! (1982), The Mouse and the Man (1983), Assassinator (1983), Mouseketeer (1984), and The King and I (1985).

While his albums were well-received in Jamaica and in the UK, Mouse built a career the old-fashioned way – traversing the world in a van and sweating it out on-stage every night in front of strange crowds in strange towns a million miles away from home.

Like his contemporary Barrington Levy, Eek-A-Mouse often sang about what he knew best – poverty.  Like Barrington, Mouse was a supremely talented storyteller with the rare ability to relate the suffering of everyday life in Kingston, JA to those who had never even set foot on the island.  Unlike Barrington, who has always been one of the most respected vocalists in reggae, Mouse was considered by many to be a novelty act of sorts based primarily on his strange and erratic stage performances, eccentric personality, and penchant for hard drugs.  This is unfortunate because in an industry filled with unimaginative imitators and copycats,  Eek-A-Mouse is a true original.  There has never been, nor will there ever be, another Eek-A-Mouse.

I have compiled a mix of my favorite Eek-A-Mouse vinyl cuts which, in my opinion, best characterize his sound and vibe.  Included in the mix are the Mouse’s hardest and heaviest 7″s, 12″s, album cuts and extended mixes.  It doesn’t get much heavier than this.  Linval, Junjo, and the Radics crafted a sort of “death metal for dance halls” – recordings which embody the early dancehall era at Channel One.

Queen Elizabeth (Mouseketeer album cut)
Star, Daily News Or Gleaner (Volcano 7″)
Atlantis Lover  (Mouseketeer album cut)     
Palaving  (Mouseketeer album cut)     
Treason (56 Hope Road 7″)
I Wanna Know (Masterpiece album cut)
My Queen (Masterpiece album cut)
Born Traveller (Assassinator album cut)
Let The Children Play (U-Neek album cut)
Crime (Assassinator album cut)
Christmas-A-Come (Greensleeves 12″ Mix)
Noah’s Ark (Greensleeves 12″ Mix)
Creation (Eek-A-Mouse Records 7″)
Do You Remember (Greensleeves 12″ Mix)
Ganja Smuggling (Volcano 7″)
Don’t Run and Cry (Mouseketeer album cut)
Tell Them (Black and White 7″)
Wine Up You Hip (Thompson Sounds 7″)
Some A Holler, Some A Bawl (Assassinator album cut)
Peeni Walli (Gorgon Records 7″)
You Are The Only One I Need (U-Neek album cut)
Georgie Porgie (Eek-A-Mouse, Lui Lepke w/ version by Jah Life Connection Echo 12″ Mix)
Modelling (Joe Gibbs 7″)

CLICK HERE to listen to Eek-A-Mouse’s legendary performance on the John Peel radio show at the BBC.

Rare video footage of Eek-A-Mouse performing live with Jah Malla in California in October 1984.  Recorded By Charles Goodman

Rare live performance of “Hitler.”

Included here is an article on Eek-A-Mouse which appeared in the August 1, 1985 issue of Spin Magazine.

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