This episode features roots reggae songs from the Gregory Isaacs catalog. I chose to curate his songs about the reality of everyday life and the strife of poor people.
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Gregory Isaacs was born in Jamaica on July 15, 1951. He made his debut in 1968 with a recording for Byron Lee. He then started the African Museum record label and shop along with Errol Dunkley. Isaacs recorded for other producers as well. His single ‘My Only Lover,’ is credited as the first lover’s rock song ever.
He released music throughout the 70s. In 1978 he signed to the Virgin Records offshoot call Frontline records. That led to his appearance in the movie “Rockers.” He also opened a record shop called Cash & Carry in Kingston. He performed yearly at Reggae Sunsplash from 1981 to 1991.
In 1982 he signed to Island Records and released the massive single, “Night Nurse.” Isaacs was only challenged by Dennis Brown and Bob Marley in touring. Gregory recorded and released at least 70 original studio albums. He has over 500 albums including compilations. He maintained an amazing standard of quality in most of his recorded songs.
Gregory Isaacs was nominated for four Grammy Awards, the last of which in 2010 and 2011. One of the things associated with Isaacs was cocaine use. He had many arrests during the years that he battled with addiction.
When you listen to this mix compared to my lover’s rock mix (Episode 116), you can sense a different vibration. Gregory’s passionate lyrical delivery on social issues is very believable. He passed away in 2010 to lung cancer.
I would love to hear what you think about this singer – the musical giant known as “The Cool Ruler.” Comment here, tweet @ReggaeLoverPod, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Reggae Lover episode features the legendary reggae singer known as Don Carlos.
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Don Carlos was born Euvin Spencer in the Western Kingston district known as Waterhouse. If you didn’t know, this is one of the roughest parts of Kingston. I was also the birthplace of the group Black Uhuru, and super producers King Tubby and King Jammy.
Notice the consistency of the roots reggae sound and distinct vocal delivery in all the songs. Don Carlos began his career in 1973 as an original member of Black Uhuru along with Garth Ennis and Duckie Simpson. After a few years, the trio split and Don Carlos launched into a solo career.
In 1981 he dropped “Suffering,” an album that exploded on the scene becoming popular especially in Africa. Don Carlos was then solidified as a soloist. During the years between 80 and 85, he was also very popular on the Dancehall scene with many top 10 hits. Songs heard on this mix include the Volcano label hits, Hog and Goat, I’m Not Going Crazy, and Laser Beam.
Don continued releasing albums and touring throughout the 80s. Black Uhuru’s original members reunited from 1989-1994 before splitting again. Since then, Don Carlos has been one of the busiest touring artists out of Jamaica. He rocked the stage at Reggae on the River in California this summer. He has performed at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and other major festivals globally.
He will be on tour in 2019 to support a new album called Golden Classics. You can check him out at DonCarlosReggae.Com or coming to a stage near you.
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Rewind Sundays is back this August 19th where we will recognize the Roots and Culture of Reggae music in an edition called Jamaica Love.
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Doors open at 8pm and admission is only $15. Discounted tickets will ONLY be available online.
Music by Highlanda Sound with Kahlil Wonda, Copper Ash, and Natural Vibes with Rico Vibes and Junior Culture.
Food will be provided by Chef Tony and Dionne Robinson. Link Seree Statum-Monrose for bottle specials and reserved seating.
16 Tracks in total, ‘Kontraband,’ the debut from Kabaka Pyramid does not disappoint.
I only heard 3 of the songs before the album’s release so this is a fresh, new experience. The album is reminiscent of Chronixx’s “Chronology” in its diverse representation of modern reggae music.
Hip-Hop influences are evident throughout but do not detract from the roots vibe. You can choose to bob your head and/or skank to the beats. Kabaka spits bars of knowledge with a cool, collected delivery. At times, he sing-jays on the riddims in perfect melody.
‘Kontraband’ is a strong debut for Kabaka Pyramid and it bolsters his global appeal. The Damian and Stephen Marley executive-produced album features Akon and Stonebwoy out of Africa. Jr. Gong joins Kabaka to illustrate the story on the title track.
Pressure Buss Pipes from the U.S. Virgin Islands sings the hook on “Make Way,” the opening song of the album. Fellow reggae revivalist Protoje makes his mark with a succinct verse on “Everywhere I Go.” Kabaka teams with Chronixx on the mesmerizing and memorable “Blessed Is The Man.”
Kabaka doesn’t only chant a lyrical onslaught on Babylon. He considers the divine essence of black queens on “Natural Woman.” He opens up about affairs of the heart on “Kaught Up,” and “All I Need,” which features Nattali Rize. The different vibes on ‘Kontraband’ balance out. If you ranked this entry as one of 2019’s top reggae releases, I would say that’s accurate.