Gregory Isaacs Vintage Press Interviews

Just a quick drop of two outstanding written pieces on the great Gregory Isaacs.  Behind Bob Marley I would say that Gregory Isaacs is the most beloved reggae artist to ever emerge from Jamaica.  He was without a doubt the most prolific, most influential, most popular Jamaican artist since Bob Marley.

Gregory was a true “sufferah.” His continual struggle to conquer his personal demons endeared him with the Jamaican people.  In my opinion, Gregory was wrongly cast aside by many uptowners and journalists who have no overstanding about the insidious nature of substance addiction and the toll it takes on the mind and body.  A very well-known producer once told me that Gregory Isaacs was one of two true geniuses he ever worked with, the other being Sly Dunbar.  Many who knew Gregory well have confirmed his genius.  This is a man who literally could not stop writing songs.  The only way he found to deal with the furious activity of his mind was to numb it with drugs.

The first is an article by Roger Steffens which appeared in The Beat in 1995.

Doctor Dread and Roger Steffens fly down to Jamaica to do an interview with Gregory Isaacs, a man who did very few interviews.  However, he promised the interview to Doc, who oversaw his publishing for more than 20 years (and currently manages his estate).

What ensues is a frustrating yet entertaining “cat and mouse” game where Roger and Doc try to pin Gregory down for the interview on several occasions only to endure and witness first hand the spiritual, mental, and physical torture inflicted upon the uber-talent by his rampant drug use.  Eventually, Gregory relents and grants the interview, and Roger follows with this piece in The Beat – my favorite interview and, in my opinion,  the finest piece Roger ever wrote for The Beat.

 

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The second piece was written by Jens Winton reporting from Jamaica for Reggae Report in the aftermath of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.  On September 12, with winds reaching 175 miles per hour, the Category 5 hurricane devastated Jamaica. With a 40-mile-wide eye, the hurricane covered the entire island. The tin roofs that covered most homes were no match for the winds–about 80 percent of the island’s homes were seriously damaged and approximately 500,000 of the country’s 2 million people were left homeless. Nearly every home on the island lost electricity. Worst of all, more than 200 people lost their lives.  Misery.

Give thanks to our good friend and former publisher of Reggae Report M. Peggy Quattro for sharing this amazing piece of reggae history.

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Dennis Brown vinyl playlist w/ exclusive interview clips!

here is a killer Dennis Brown playlist to start the week off just right!  All tracks are vinyl singles from my collection transferred by yours truly to MIDNIGHT RAVER SOUNDS.

Also included are two interview clips from an interview that Roger Steffens conducted with Dennis Brown at the Sunset Marquis, Hollywood, CA, November 11, 1982.

Dennis missed Reggae Sunsplash a few months earlier and certain people, former friends or associates of Brown, had begun spreading rumours about his health.  One rumour had Dennis dying in a London hospital with only one lung.  Another was that he had contracted a serious illness because of his promiscuity and sex with many women.  Dennis, in a hotel room surrounded by beautiful women, talks about these rumours.

A truly golden moments with Dennis Emmanuel Brown…

Rare Live Reggae from Peter Simon Archive on Midnight Dread KTIM FM San Rafael CA USA March 1st-2nd 1981 + Bob live in PA

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Roger Steffens joins Doug Wendt to play some killer from Peter Simon’s collection

The lions roar alive and dread. A sparkling Bob Marley & The Wailers Pittsburgh Stanley Theatre September 1980 tape surfaces, a concert mostly no one knew was his going to be his last. Bob’s “Reggae On Broadway” debuts. Reggae Jackson premieres with a scorchin’ “Rider On The Range”. Peter was Reggae DJ for his sister Carly Simon’s Martha’s Vineyard club, The Hot Tin Roof. Thus these iconic epic songs with Big Youth and The Meditations. Pure musical dynamite. Burning Spear in Boston in October of 1980 opens the program March coming in like a lion like nobody’s business. Doug & Mikey Dread shock up Bob’s “Dubbin In From The Cold” live on air radio mash up stylee. Gregory Isaacs in Hartford, Connecticut, and the show stopping reggae genius Joe Higgs in L.A scoldin’ the crowd to pay attention as he starts, pointin’ out to the promoter the lack of promotion as he leaves the stage in lightning following the most electrified “Let Us Do Something”ever recorded live. The Mighty Diamonds sing live on Roger & Hank Holmes Reggae Beat KCRW show, a cover of The Intruders “Bet He Don’t Love You”. This is the first 80 minutes as aired live from 11pm-2am March 1st-2nd 1981 available for the first time since it original broadcast.

“On the first day of Spring
we gathered together…
regardless of the government
let us do something!”

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Reggae Jackson’s album was produced by Bob Johnston, who did the same for many of the greatest albums of all time. Essentials like Johnny Cash Live At San Quentin, 6 for Bob Dylan including the wild mercury sound of dbl lp Blonde On Blonde, 3 for Leonard Cohen like Songs From A Room, 2 with Simon and Garfunkel, Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme. REGGAE JACKSON SMASH HITS! was engineered by ace mixer Susie Foot. Vocals by Joshua Mills. African giant Joni Haastrup is on “Celebrate This Day (Nigerian)”. Jimmy Foot on guitar. Jimmy just finished up some new Bob Johnston sessions in his band Kingfoot. In “Rider On The Range” one can hear native western reggae inklings of my live group since Foot plays ghost guitar & produces Ghost Town Sound. For some of the best Bob Johnston tales ever, read extensively about his wild tours of Europe in the new Leonard Cohen bio I’M YOUR MAN where they record several live shows at insane asylums across the continent trying to top Cash’s prison triumph. Batter up, spring is coming.

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Midnight Dread’s *Major Announcement* comes March 3rd during a harmonic convergence of Night Nurse, Doctor Dread, and MD here, there, and everywhere when Amy & Doc DJ Rockers Arena from New York City! *At about 8pm Eastern Time March 3rd via Amy’s Radio Lily Facebook Page & right here on the mighty Midnight Raver Site!
Something wonderful is about to happen!

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Last time’s 33 years ahead program. Dreadcasting over the air since 1979 & online since 1996 dreader 21st Century Midnight Dread programs air daily 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.

“Anotha stunna from the MIDNIGHT DREAD!  Plenty of rootikal sounds and vibes for whatever ails yo head!  Jump on this Zion Train today, please don’t lose your way!”

– RAVER

 

 

 

Reality Strikes Midnight Dread Hypocrites & Harmonies KTIM February 15-16th, 1981

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Toots and The Maytals kick this killer radio program into gear with their own “Get Up Stand Up” composition. Bunny sings “Crucial”. Bob echoes “Dubbin’ In”. Lloyd Charmers provides “Sweet Harmony”. Mikey Dread sparks The Clash “One More Time”. To forestall the dread of night hypocrite onslaught MD employs a double dose of LKJ’s “Reality Poem” with this introduction “Let I reiterate and brain smog obliterate!”

“w’en wi can’t face reality
wi leggo wi clarity
some latch aan to vanity
some hol’ insanity
some get vision
start preach relijan
but dem can’t mek decishan
w’en it come to we fite
dem can’t mek decishan
w’en it comes to wi rites”

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Scientist Meets The Space Invaders is fresh on the scene so it’s time to “Dematerialise” dub style. Two days after this program aired while working as a union projectionist at the Embassy Theatre on Market Street in San Francisco showing the first anti-hero western ever “Hour of The Gun” I was listening back to my aircheck and Dillinger screaming “Fire Fire” from the second part of this Midnight Dread #58 as I’m staring at the huge movie screen three stories below getting ready to do my change-over of reels when the screen bursts into flames and disappears in balls of smoke. All in attendance that afternoon at the infamous dollar house (3 movies for a buck!) flee the theatre.

I shut down the projection booth and take the elevator to the street only to fight my way out of a crowd of patrons jamming the ticket booth wanting their money back with little regard for their or others’ lives. I never work for the union again. One of my best jobs for the IATSE (International Association of Theatre & Stage Employees) before leaving was running slides for a closed door session on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Suffice it to say, they have no idea how much radiation was released as the few monitors that were set up during the incident were all pointing the wrong way. I guess the sicknesses germinated then may just be showing up in droves now. That’s stupefied Babylon’s only real monitor. Choah. Me-cology or Ecology, that is the question. The hypocrites run amok at midnight. Scientist is here to blast them.

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February 1981 Duppy Doug photo by Roger Steffens

Last time’s 33 years ahead program. Dreadcasting over the air since 1979 and online since 1996 dreader 21st Century Midnight Dread programs air daily 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 and sounds here and on this blog’s Midnight Dread page. Go deh. All of dem.

Wailing Rudy Jah Fire Weighty Eighties Midnight Dread #51 with Row Jah December 28-29th, Best of 1980

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“Love We A Deal With” sing The Rastafarians featuring Haile Maskel, Vision Walker (of the original Wailers), Herb Daly et al as the Santa Cruz based roots masters fire up this radio program answering Moses’ Musical Desire. Mikey Dread chimes in with World War III. It’s the very best of 1980, fresh & frantic, don’t panic. Level vibes. Foot long forty fives. Roger Steffens of KCRW’s Reggae Beat joins Doug Wendt on Midnight Dread’s Part 2, all in all totaling over 6 hours of 33 years ahead new music and discoveries on commercial rock station KTIM. Bunny Wailer’s massive rocker “Crucially Crucial” bellows before Bob Marley draws “Bad Card”, Jamaican mix seven inch-wise. Colt 45! Then Duppy live mixes Stevie Wonder’s new hit “Master Blaster” with subdivided 12″ dubs of dynamite radio dimensions clearing the skies for the Jamaican disco 45s to cloudburst the sounds, 1980 shot after shot. Like Badoo toasts for New Year’s Eve with his “Rocking Of The Five Thousand”

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Sly & Robbie carry the swing with production after production scoring in the top ranks of the very best singles of the year. Row-Jah calls the new decade “the weighty eighties” and their Taxi songs signal the dawning of the new tech-knowledgely. The Clash, Matumbi, & other UK bands as well as Lovers Rock are well-charged and represented. Then some great new compilations tell the history of Jamaican music. “Whatever happened to bluebeat, ska, & rock steady?” goes one tune. It’s all here in just the first 80 minutes of this three hour+ extravaganza. Happy New Year! Fire it up and wail. Fourward in Fourteen.

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Last time’s Best of 1980 Part One 33 years ahead program. Dreadcasting over the air since 1979 & online since 1996 dreader 21st Century Midnight Dread programs air daily 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 with alla dem.