Gladiators Live, The Haunt, Ithaca, NY, 1987

Here is an excellent soundboard recording of the Gladiators performing some of their most beloved tunes at The Haunt in Ithaca, NY on February 27, 1987.  Fantastic set which also includes several Bob Marley tunes and a Yabby You tune as well.  Also included is an article on the group which was published in the October 2, 1979 issue of New Musical Express.


Jah Works
Bongo Red
Talkin’ Blues
Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief
Sun Is Shining
War/No More Trouble/Crazy Baldhead/Get Up Stand Up/Exodus
Small Axe
Fire Deh A Mus Mus Tail




The Gladiators’ ‘Proverbial Reggae’ is my favorite album by this foundation Studio One roots group.  The second album by The Gladiators, Proverbial Reggae was recorded and released in 1978 on Virgin Records’ Front Line imprint.

British dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson has said the songs on Proverbial Reggae “combine intelligent, poetic lyrics with majestic melodies, enchanting harmonies, producing inspired, entertaining meaningful music.” High praise from the high priest of dub poetry.

The musicians credited on this album reads like a Who’s Who of foundation roots reggae.


The Gladiators – Jah Works
The Gladiators – The Best Thing In Life
The Gladiators – Dreadlocks The Time Is Now
The Gladiators – Fly Away
The Gladiators – Marvel Not
The Gladiators – Stick A Bush
The Gladiators – Stop Before You Go
The Gladiators – Can You Imagine How I Feel
The Gladiators – We’ll Find The Blessing
The Gladiators – Music Makers From Jamaica

Producer : Tony Robinson

Mixing Engineer : Errol Thompson

Vocals : The Gladiators & Clinton Fearon & Gallimore Sutherland & Albert Griffiths
Backing Vocals : The Gladiators
Drums : Sly Dunbar
Bass : Clinton Fearon
Rhythm Guitar : Gallimore Sutherland
Lead Guitar : Albert Griffiths
Keyboards : Ansel Collins
Synthesiser : Wire Lindo
Percussions : Sticky

Studios :
Recording : Harry J (Kingston, JA) & Joe Gibbs (Kingston, JA)
Mixing : Joe Gibbs (Kingston, JA)



Ramsden, Dave. Melody Maker gladiators(Jun 10, 1978)

The Gladiators

One of the very best…ever.

One likkle note.  Notice the similarity between “Rich Man Poor Man” (“Don’t cry my brothers…CRY!”) and Burning Spear’s “Call On You (The Sun).”  Don’t know if any similarity is intended, however, both groups emerge out of Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One in the mid-1970s.

Wickedest bass line on this one too.


The Gladiators w/ Israel Vibration Live Reggae Sunsplash 1982

This is one of those rare moments when everything comes together just right resulting in one of the more memorable live reggae recordings of the past 50 years.
Gladiators, The –     Roots Natty
Israel Vibration –     Fight To Survive
Gladiators, The –     Stick A Bush
Israel Vibration –     Highway Robbery
Gladiators, The –     Hello Carol
Israel Vibration –     Never Gonna Hurt Me Again
Gladiators, The –     Bongo Red
Israel Vibration –     Jah Jah Time Has Come
Gladiators, The –     Small Axe
Israel Vibration –     Friday Evening
Gladiators, The –     War
Israel Vibration –     Licks And Kicks
Recorded live at the 1982 Reggae Sunplash Festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica, this performance finds both the Gladiators and Israel Vibration in excellent form. Masterfully recorded and mastered by Jim Fox of Lion and Fox Studios in Washington, DC, this performance raised the bar for live reggae recordings when it was released as a live album in 1982.  Just listen to the clarity and crispness of the guitars throughout the recording.
Hearing the Jamaican groups side by side, it’s easy to hear the parallels — both use their music to promote a Rastafarian message, and both favor a classic, unpretentious approach to reggae that has a lot more in common with 1960s soul music than the slick urban contemporary recordings that were coming out in 1982. When the Gladiators tear into “Stick a Bush,” “Hello Carol” and “Bongo Red” and Vibration offers “Highway Robbery,” “Licks and Kicks” and “Jah Jah Time Has Come,” it’s impossible not to think of the debt that both acts owe to the great African-American R&B of the 1960s. Another high point of the CD is the Gladiators’ inspired performance of Bob Marley’s 1976 hit “War.” Marley had died the previous year, and the reggae community was still having a hard time accepting the loss.


Peter Tosh: Reggae Sunsplash III, July 2-5, Ranny Williams Entertainment Center, Kingston, Jamaica

Held July 2-5, 1980 at the at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Center, Kingston, Jamaica Reggae Sunsplash III takes the Sunsplash franchise to another level.

The concert is being held a few short months prior to a General Election, and the island is rife with political violence.  This explains the festival grounds resembling some sort of prison camp, with the crowd completely surrounded by solid rows of uniformed soldiers with M-16 rifles sporting fixed bayonets.

The show goes off without a single reported incident though, and the crowd is blessed with “unusually inspired” performances from the likes of Culture, Black Uhuru, The Gladiators, Mighty Diamonds, and of course a sizzling set by the one and only Peter Tosh.

Jamaica Gleaner June 30, 1980

Peter Tosh
Live at Reggae Sunsplash III
July 2-5, Kingston, Jamaica

2-400 Years
3-Steppin Razor
5-I’m The Toughest
6-Bush Doctor
8-Don’t Look Back
9-Get Up, Stand Up
10-Recruiting Soldiers
12-Babylon Queendom
13-Buk-In-Ham Palace



LINEAGE: Aud Master-DAT-CDR-EAC-wav-Flac8

Tosh Speech During Performance

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Jamaica Gleaner June 30, 1980

Photo by Lee Jaffe

Give thanks to my good friend Kinkywas Enrique Cabrera Romano AKA “was1” at Reggae Traders for seeding this show.