Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Make their day.

In Fine Style ,Univershall Style.

Boss Sounds Festival - Review & Chris Ellis Interview

For those of you that went, and for those of you who wanted but couldn't, below is a link to a review of the Boss Sounds Festival that took place earlier this month.


Also follow this link to hear Newcastle's to DJ, DJ Greedy G, as he talks to Christopher Ellis live after his quickly arranged performance, in tribute to his father Alton, at the festival.
Remember to tune in as well to hear Greedy's top reggae show on http://www.ne1fm.com/ OR 102.5 IN NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE (UK) between 1 and 3pm every Sunday.
Past shows can be heard again at http://djgreedyg.podomatic.com/

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zion Train Sound System - At the Trinity Rooms

Sunday 2nd November sees Zion Train Sound System appearing at the
The Granary, Michael St. Limerick, Éire. 9pm - late.
Info: tickets / 18+ w/ID €13.20 adv

They are Currently touring throughout 15 countries in Europe to promote their brand new album "Live as One".

Dub and reggae pioneers, their sound has evolved into 'acid dub' - roots with a dance edge. Formed in 1990, Zion Train are a dub phenomenon. Their work from the past decade still sounds fresh to today's discerning ears. Their recorded output is prolific with an album a year and innumerable production credits, remixes and songwriting collaborations. 'Bouncier than a party in a Michelin factory' (NME)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

WCTD New Show Now On Air

WCTD have a new show airing now with some top class music

The running order is...

Tribute to Alton Ellis pt 2 - South London Stephen

Tribute to Prince Far I pt 2 - Fyah Youth

Strictly Roots, Foundation style - Jayman & Andrew

Captain inna fine style - Captain

Soundclash special pt's 1 & 2 - Jesus Dread
Shock of the century clash 85 - Jammy's, Black Scorpio & Youth Promotion

The show is on continuous loop 24/7....So please join them there at:


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Peter Tosh - Mystic Man

Last month saw the 11th anniversary of Peter Tosh's cold and wasteful murder. This month however would have been the 64th birthday, and I thought this would be a better month to post this and commemorate his life. This also left me wondering were would reggae be at now if it wasn't for the untimely deaths of so many of the music's big names, and what would he and Marley be up to now if they were both still here gracing this planet with their presence. That could be perhaps too big a question to try and answer here, so for now here is a brief history of Peter Tosh's colourful life.

Peter Tosh was one of reggaes most influential musicians. He was a trailblazing, intelligent man who was well-read, but with a reputation for being a notoriously uncompromising man, who, rightly in my opinion, was not prepared to sacrifice his beliefs to further his career. He is also described in some circles as a militant and sometimes bitter Rastafarian. He held firm to his beliefs in smoking marijuana as a holy sacrament, to such an extent that he received numerous beatings by the police. His music was full of uplifting ideas and lyrics which inspired the oppressed people of not just Jamaica, but throughout the world.
Born on October 9, 1944 in the rural western part of Jamaica, this lifelong foe of the "shitstem" made his way at age fifteen to the Trench Town tenement yard in Kingston where he met musical youths Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston, through his vocal teacher, Joe Higgs, and formed the Wailers. While perfecting their sound, the trio would often play together on the street corners of Trenchtown. Joe Higgs taught the trio to harmonize as well as teaching Marley to play the guitar, and in 1962, he was the driving force behind the formation of The Wailing Wailers with Junior Braithwaite and backup singers Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith. The Wailing Wailers had a huge ska hit with their first single, "Simmer Down," and recorded several more successful singles before Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith left the band in late 1965. Marley spent much of 1966 in America with his mother, Cedella (Malcolm) Marley-Booker and for a short time was working at a nearby Chrysler factory. He then returned to Jamaica in early 1967 with a renewed interest in music and a new spirituality.
On Marley's return he got back together with Tosh and Bunny where the three became heavily involved in the Rastafari movement. Soon afterwards, they renamed the group The Wailers. Tosh would later explain that they chose the name Wailers because to "wail" means to mourn or to, as he put it, "...express ones feelings vocally".
Veering away from the up-tempo dance of ska, the band slowed down to a rocksteady pace, and infused their lyrics with political and social messages. The Wailers penned several songs for the American born singer Johnny Nash before teaming up with production wizard Lee Perry to record some of reggae's earliest hits including "Soul Rebel," "Duppy Conqueror" and "Small Axe". The trio then became a five piece with the addition of bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton. In 1970, The Wailers became Caribbean superstars. The band signed a recording contract with Chris Blackwell and Island Records and released their debut, "Catch a Fire", in 1973, following it up with "Burnin'" in the same year. Tosh, as The Wailers' guitarist, and now the best-known reggae group, is considered as one of the originators of the choppy and syncopated Reggae guitar style. However as big time success was just about to arrive, Tosh while driving home with his then-girlfriend Evonne, was hit by another car driving on the wrong side of the road. The accident killed Evonne and severely fractured Tosh's skull. He survived, but this event made him even harder to deal with.
Soon after the Wailers split, with Tosh and Bunny Wailer, citing what they saw as unfair treatment they received from Chris Blackwell. Indeed the Island Records president refused to issue Tosh's solo album in 1974, and this led to him often referring to Blackwell as 'Whiteworst'. Undeterred he began recording, and finally released his solo debut, Legalize It, in 1976 on CBS Records. The title track soon became an anthem for supporters of marijuana legalization with Reggae lovers and Rastafarians all over the world, and was a favourite at Tosh's concerts. As Marley preached his "One Love" message, Tosh railed against the hypocritical "shitstem," and became a favourite target of the Jamaican police. He proudly wore the scars that he had received from the beatings he endured. Always taking the militant approach, he released "Equal Rights" in 1977, with its scathing attacks on a range of societal offenses in "Equal Rights," "Downpressor Man," "Stepping Razor," "African," and the remade "Get Up Stand Up." All tracks radiate the trademark Jamaican musical buzz, yet they take-no-prisoners lyrically with their strong messages and aggressive stance that could easily suit today's politicized rap.
Tosh put together a backing band, Word, Sound and Power who accompanied him on tour for the next few years, and many of whom appeared on his albums of this period. In 1978 Rolling Stones Records signed Tosh, and the album "Bush Doctor" was released, introducing Tosh to a larger audience. The single from the album, a cover of The Temptations song "Don't Look Back", performed as a duet with Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, turned Tosh into one of the best known Reggae artists. Another 'high' point for Tosh in 1978 was his appearance at the free 'One Love Peace Concert' at The National Stadium in Kingston, first he lambasted the audience, including attending dignitaries, with political demands that included legalizing cannabis. He did this while smoking a spliff, a criminal act in Jamaica. Bob Marley on the other hand asked both then-Prime Minister Michael Manley, and opposition leader Edward Seaga onto the stage; and a famous picture was taken with all three of them holding their hands together above their heads in a symbolic gesture of peace during what had been a very violent election campaign, but also perhaps highlighted the differing roads down which the former band mates were now travelling, and his disillusionment with Marley and the pro Christian stance that he felt Marley was taking with his music. Indeed it has been written that if Bob Marley was the Martin Luther King of reggae then Peter Tosh was the Malcolm X.
"Mystic Man" was released the following year followed by and "Wanted Dread and Alive" in 1981, with both once again on the Rolling Stones' own record label, as Tosh tried to gain some mainstream success while keeping his militant views, but he was largely unsuccessful, especially compared to Marley's achievements. That same year, Tosh appeared in the Stones' video, "Waiting on a Friend".
After the release of 1983's "Mama Africa", Tosh went into self-imposed exile, seeking the spiritual advice of traditional medicine men in Africa, and trying to free himself from recording agreements that distributed his records in South Africa. Tosh also now an active part of international opposition to South African apartheid, and appeared at Anti-Apartheid concerts and reflected his stance in various songs like "Apartheid" (1977, re-recorded 1987), "Equal Rights" (1977), "Fight On" (1979), and "Not Gonna Give It Up" (1983).
In 1987, Tosh appeared to be on the way to something of a career revival, as he was awarded a Grammy for Best Reggae Performance "No Nuclear War. Though on September 11, 1987, just after Tosh had returned to his home in Jamaica, a three-man gang came to his house demanding money. Tosh replied that he did not have any with him but the gang did not believe him. They stayed at his residence for several hours in an attempt to extort money from him. During this time many of Tosh's friends came to his house to greet him following his return to Jamaica. As people began to arrive, the gunmen became more and more frustrated, especially the leader of the gang, Dennis 'Leppo' Lobban, a man whom Peter had befriended, and tried to help find work after a long jail sentence. Tosh must have been disgusted by this turn of events and made it very clear that he would never give them what they came for. Upon realizing that they would not get anything from the robbery, the gang's leader put a gun to Tosh's head and fired twice killing him instantly. The other gunmen began shooting, wounding several others and killing disc jockey Jeff "Free I" Dixon. Leppo turned himself over to the authorities, and was tried and convicted in the shortest jury deliberation in Jamaican history: eleven minutes. He was sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted in 1995 and he remains in prison. Neither of his two alleged accomplices were found, though rumours persist that both were gunned down in the streets.
In 1991 "Stepping Razor - Red X" was released, a film - documentary chronicling the life of Peter Tosh by Nicholas Campbell, and produced by Wayne Jobson. The film is based upon interviews with his mother, father and friends plus a series of spoken-word tapes, which had been recorded by Tosh himself that had remained undiscovered for years. He recorded these thoughts and his story to tape because, while increasingly suffering from paranoia, he believed that any official documentation bearing his name was stamped with a Red X.

Many thanks and respect to all the writers who have helped me write this.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Alton Nehemia Ellis was born on September 1st, 1940 in Kingston's Trench Town district. He was also known as the "Godfather of Rocksteady" as he was the major innovator of the rocksteady style.
He came from a musical inclined family, and started to sing and play piano at an early age. He was self taught on the Piano, apparently after breaking into a local youth center to practice by night!
He first sought fame though as a dancer, and competed on Vere Johns' Opportunity Hour. After winning a couple of competitions, he switched to singing, starting his career in 1959 as part of the duo Alton & Eddy. The duo's first hit "Muriel" was recorded for Clement 'Coxsone' Dodds Studio One label during the ska craze. Not long after cutting the follow-up "My Heaven" Perkins decided to leave Jamaica to try a solo career in the United States, leaving Ellis as a solo act. It's here that Ellis made his lasting mark on Jamaican music as the definitive singer of the rocksteady era of the mid to late 60s. He recorded some of the styles signature tunes for Duke Reids Treasure Isle label. His sweet, smooth and deeply emotive style was equally at home on Jamaican originals or reggae-fied covers of American R&B hits. Rocksteady was also becoming associated with the violent rude boy subculture in Jamaican dancehalls. Many artists made records referring to the rude boys, including Ellis, but his records were consistently anti-rudie, and included "Don't Trouble People", "Dance Crasher", and "Cry Tough". This was in contrast to artists such as Bob Marley, who Ellis blamed for glorifying the rudies.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ellis recorded for some of Jamaica's top producers, having two huge Rastafarian-tinged hits with Lloyd Daley in "Deliver Us" and "Back to Africa", and recording for the likes of Bunny Lee, Keith Hudson, and Herman Chin Loy. With all these hits though, as is so often the case with the Jamaican music business, Ellis believed he was not receiving proper financial compensation for his services. He grew Disillusioned with this and he spent some time in the US and Canada before finally relocating to England in 1972, having toured the there in the 1960s with Studio One band the Soul Vendors. In England Ellis established his own Alltone label, which he devoted to both new recordings and compilations of his early classics, and he also opened a record shop in South London, of the same name. The international popularity of Bob Marley and the rise of roots reggae meant that Ellis' considerable legacy was soon overshadowed, but over time he has remained fondly remembered as a pioneer of Jamaican music.
Despite this Ellis continued to record and perform regularly, into the early 1980s. Indeed He made triumphant returns to Jamaica with well-received sets at the Reggae Sunsplash Festival in both 1983 and 1985 and recorded a new single "Man From Studio One" for Dodd. The 80's also brought about recordings for up and coming new producers including Henry "Junjo" Lawes, Sugar Minott, and King Jammy. The "Mad Mad" riddim, first recorded by Ellis in 1967 has been recycled in more than one hundred other songs. The instantly recognizable three-note descending horn line was reinterpreted by Henry "Junjo" Lawes and eventually became known widely as the "Diseases" reggae riddim. "Diseases" is notably utilized in Yellowman's hit song ""Zungguzungguguzungguzeng", which has in turn has been sampled and reinterpreted by a long list of popular hip hop artists including KRS One, Blackstar plus the late Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur. This constant reinterpretation and referencing has made Ellis a major but little-known influence in the course of dancehall, reggae and hip hop.
In 2006, he was inducted into the International Reggae And World Music Awards Hall Of Fame, but in December 2007, he was admitted to hospital in London for treatment of cancer of the lymph glands. He returned to live performance after receiving chemotherapy, before collapsing during a show in London in August of this year (2008). This time there was no return for Ellis and sadly he passed away on 10th October at Hammersmith Hospital, West London. He leaves behind not only a great legacy of his own music, but also after fathering twenty children the singers Noel Ellis and Christopher Ellis as well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


It gives us great sadness here at Springline to report that Alton Ellis has passed away. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and all those who knew him.

The following is taken from the Jamaica Gleaner http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/

ALTON ELLIS, the west Kingston balladeer who defined the lovers' rock genre, died Friday evening (10th October) at age 70. The singer succumbed to a 10-month fight with lymphatic cancer.

Sandra Ellis, one of his children, told The Sunday Gleaner that her father passed away at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, where he had been receiving treatment for the past two weeks.

Cancer of lymph glands

Ellis had been diagnosed with cancer of the lymph glands in December 2007.

No singer had more success on Jamaican charts during the 1960s than the Trench Town-born Ellis whose first hit song was Muriel, which was done with Eddie Perkins.

Throughout the 1960s, Ellis recorded a series of ska hits for rival producers Arthur 'Duke' Reid and Clement Dodd. These included Dancecrasher, Girl I've Got a Date, I'm Just a Guy and I'm Still in Love.

He immigrated to England in the early 1970s where he remained active musically. He enjoyed a career resurgence in the 1990s when there was a rocksteady revival in Jamaica and Europe.

In 2003, dancehall superstar Sean Paul and singer Sasha had a minor hit in the United States with their cover of I'm Still in Love.

Ellis, who last performed here in June, is survived by wife Judith and over 20 children

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dirty Revolution - It's Gonna Get Dirty

"It's Gonna Get Dirty" is a new 5 track EP from female-fronted SKA-DIFF 4 piece Dirty Revolution, and is released on Do the Dog Records.
Their music is a mix of punk, roots reggae and ska; all blended together in the style of The Clash and The Specials. Opening track "Dirty Revolution" shows this off as it veers from high octane ska to slow dubby beats, while "Failure to Communicate" with, Stu White taking over lead vocals, with its anti-establishment lyrics, and touches of melodica, is Punk inspired Reggae with bite.
There are lighter tunes on here with the bright and breezy "50p", taking a quite comical look at the 'style over content' world of pop and a lot of today's rap, with female vocalist Reb Sutton declaring that her mum is harder than 50 Cent's mum, and her bum's bigger than Britney's!, And the jaunty "I Love Reggae".
This EP ends all too quickly with "Police". A tune that I can well relate to, about the police not being there when you need them for something important, but dropping on you like a ton of bricks when you commit some minor misdemeanour!
I look forward to hearing more from this promising band. However, if you want to hear what I'm talking about, and try before you buy, pop onto their myspace page, where you can hear all the tracks for yourself, plus the cracking East & West, which does not appear on the EP.


Sunday, October 5, 2008



Saturday 18th October - doors 4pm-10.30pm will see the UK's finest reggae festival
return for a third year. Featuring an unbeatable line up of;

Sly & Robbie
Misty In Roots
The Pioneers
Easy Star All-stars
Ska Cubano
Iration Steppas
Alpha & Omega
Ed Rome

This really is the best event of its type in the UK and is putting Newcastle, I would say, at the forefront of places to catch Reggae live. Previous years have seen; Prince Buster, Horace Andy, Lee Perry, Jimmy Cliff, LKJ, Dennis Bovell, Dennis Alcapone, Janet Kay, Gregory Isaacs, Ken Booth and Pama Intl all perform.
Boss Sounds once again have put together diverse line up, and with weekend tickets at only £30 this is a credit crunch, busting, bargin!

Saturday 18 October features

The Pioneers, Sly and Robbie, joined by young singer (and actress) Cherine Anderson, and local boy made good Mark Rae with his band Yesking.
Life & Soul and Pangaea run the sound system room with Alpha & Omega, featuring vocalists Jonah Dan, I Natural and Rootsman Rak, plus live sets from Diddley Squat and local roots dance band The Emperor's Dentist.

New this year is the Room 2 sound system which this will feature Iration Steppas and Alpha and Omega. Alpha and Omega will also be playing an exclusive live show at 5pm on Saturday featuring Rootsman Rak, I Natural, and Jonah Dan.

Sunday 19 October

The main stage features Misty in Roots, Symarip, Easy Star All Stars, Ska Cubano and Natty.
The sound system room features Iration Steppas plus early vibes from Stalawatt. This year's MC and DJ will be Jerry Dammers.

There is also an after party with Jerry Dammers plus Alpha & Omega at World Headquarters, Carliol Square, Newcastle, 10pm-5am.

Tickets will be on sale in advance for the two main shows at Newcastle Carling Academy priced at £17.50 a night and £30 weekend tickets. Click here to buy tickets.

Stalawatt and friends are going tol be at the Salsa Club during Saturday and Sunday daytime, providing a musical accompaniment to Afro-Caribbean cuisines from festival chef Agnes Offiong.

Over the weekend expect to see other activities around the festival and venues. These include Jamaican food nights at local cafes. Reggae stalls and Caribbean catering make the two day event a festival special and the after show party till 5am at World Headquarters on the 18th ensures that reggae music will dominate Newcastle for the weekend

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No1 Station - Boss Beat....A Review

Rockers Revolt, who are quickly gaining a reputation for quality releases and have just about come up trumps again with No1 Stations follow up to "Keep Up The Pressure", "Boss Beat". The album is a mix of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae, with dare I say tinges of pop thrown in.
The band has been touted as "the vanguards of a new generation of Blue Beat", and although that is most definitely true of the instrumental cuts on here, the vocal slices tend to veer off that track.
The best of these vocal cuts are "She's So Sweet" a fine early reggae, almost Pama'ish, sounding tune, while"You Wanna Get Busy With Me", featuring the talents of female vocalist Persia (shame she wasn't used more), is where reggae meets soul. The vocal songs are not all 'boy meets girl', 'loves lost and gained' as "Stop The Fighting", is pure roots reggae, with its conscious lyrics, calling on world leaders to basically get their acts together and well.... Stop Fighting.
Three of the vocal compositions feature a lady by the name of Ms. Moretti, who is teamed up with MC Boss on two of them. If you've ever wondered what Lilly Allen and the 'toasting' style of Glen Pine of Slackers fame would sound like together then "Best Friend" and "Friday Night" are it. "Best Friend" is a piece of what I can only describe as ska – pop, while "Best Friend" is on a rocksteady / lovers rock tip. The best of Ms Moretti's bunch though is when she is singing on her own on "Player Hater", with its thunder clap beginning and dark, deep, brooding bass line, while she chillingly croons her 'Hell have no fury like a woman scorned' sentiments.
The instrumentals for me are the stronger tracks on the album, and "Airstrip One", which gets proceedings under way, is stomping ska in the mould of Baba Brooks, and the cracking title track "Boss Beat" is skinhead reggae in the style of The Upsetters (if this doesn't get you moving, then you need to check for a pulse!). "Reel Skank" and "Alpha Skank" feature renowned trumpeter Eddie 'Tan-Tan' Thornton, and both tunes do exactly what they say on the tin, making you wanna skank. "Reel Skank" just gets the nod in my opinion as Tan Tan plays musical bat and ball with a violinist Seamus McKenna
Over all this is quite a good album, which has something for just about everybody. It wears its influences firmly on its sleeve, and on hearing it you'll feeling like you've heard most of the songs somewhere before. Perhaps not as strong as previous offerings from this label, but a mighty fine effort all the same.

01 Airstrip One
02 She's So Sweet
03 Jackie Chan (South China Sea)
04 Best Friend featuring Ms. Moretti & MC Boss
05 Boss Beat
06 You Wanna Get Busy With Me featuring Persia
07 Jiggy Reggae - MC.Boss & No.1 Station
08 Russian Stylee featuring Stax
09 Stop The Fighting
10 Friday Night featuring Ms. Moretti & MC Boss
11 Reel Skank featuring Tan-Tan
12 Last Train
13 Pure Ecstasy featuring Stax
14 Player Hater featuring Ms. Moretti
15 Alpha Skank featuring Tan Tan

To get a free download of "Friday Night" visit

Interview With Angus Taylor

Here I am turning the tables on interviewer, reviewer and all round reggae connoisseur Angus Taylor, as I interview him about how he became to be involved in writing and his thoughts on the reggae scene today.

How did you become involved in writing for reggae 'magazines'?
Is it something you've always wanted to do or did you just fall in to it?

I never really had a plan to be honest. I'd been a copywriter for a few years and had a vague idea of trying something else involving writing. I did a few modules of a correspondence course where they were quite encouraging about what I was doing in terms of style. But the teachers were suggesting that the only way to make it as a writer was to pick up any work going - writing for lifestyle magazines, writing letters to newspapers for a tenner - which I didn't really feel comfortable with. Then one day I got a newsletter from Reggae News asking for contributors, wrote a piece on Lutan Fyah, started reviewing for them for free and other work followed...

I have noticed recently that when I've been googling for research on various pieces I've written (biographies, reviews etc), your name keeps popping up all over the place. So how do you get your work? Do artists and 'magazines' come to you or do you write your piece and offer it out?

Well there's certainly a lot of knocking on (virtual) doors to get work but once you're established somewhere work comes to you as well. Early on I had to buy records and review them then send my reviews to labels to make a link. I get a steady stream of promos through now but there is the odd big label (mentioning no names) that doesn't see the point of online publicity. I'm reasonably established online, but nowhere near enough to be acting the big I am and handing out advice! I'm currently making the transition into print which involves a lot of rejection and heartache - especially in the current musical climate!

You say "current musical climate!" How do you view the current reggae scene here in the UK? It does seem to be a dirty word. I think people associate reggae with all this new 'bashment' with its homophobic, gun carrying, gang related lyrics, and have forgotten the entire 'one love' and peace message of old.

Like most of the issues around this music, it's complicated.Certainly, in the past Britain has viewed its title as "second nation of reggae" with some complacency, and it's now rivalled (if not overtaken) by Germany, Italy and especially France. The music industry and media for their own valid reasons would rather promote rock music that appeals to a broad age range (to help sell CD's) and necessitates live tours (where a lot of money is these days) than other forms of music which are (rightly or wrongly) thought to be followed by habitual illegal downloaders. Then there is the severing of ties with the British left over the homophobia issue, and of course, the large number of different music styles which can attract urban youth.But it's not all doom and gloom. These things go in cycles. When music influenced by reggae is big - reggae is big. In the 90s, the Bristol scene, conscious hip hop and drum and bass led to an increase in reggae festivals and concert attendance. Now it's happening again with dubstep. I was at a free festival in London where reggae DJ's played all day long and the people loved it. I think the general public (and some reggae fans too) have a lot of preconceptions about what Jamaican music is, and what it should be. But with open yet critical minds we can try to break these barriers down.

You mainly do reviews of CD's and gigs. Have you ever thought of branching out into books? Perhaps on reggae / Jamaican / Rasta history or biography's even?

It's definitely something I'd like to do at some point - but I think I need to get published in a newspaper or magazine first!

Thing is Gus to get published in a newspaper or magazine, do you feel you have to write about something other than reggae? For example I saw a review for The Aggrolites - Reggae Hits L.A in one of the national papers a while ago and it received ? out of 5! They just didn't know what to make of it, which I thought was very poor not to have some sort of view on it.

As mentioned before, there are a lot of misconceptions about Jamaican music and culture that need to be broken down, and the mainstream media isn't very receptive to this. There is so much romanticism to the rock n roll myth - the drugs, the groupies, the fights, the big personalities - that many editors are quite unashamed about how happy they are that it's back in vogue. Certain artists fit the archetypes of the rock n roll myth and are seen as "good" reggae. Bob Marley (the Dylan style troubadour) Lee Perry and King Tubby (the mad genius concocting weird experiments in the lab) but most reggae artists fall through the cracks. From working in advertising I read the 22 immutable laws of Marketing and the first rule was, I think, "it's hard to change a mind once it's been made up". There is a mind set about reggae - it had a heyday in the 70s then it all went wrong - that's hard to change. There are some interesting left field and underground magazines about and traditionally these serve as springboards into the national press. But right now in the US newspaper critics are being laid off or re-assigned and the media is in a frenzy about "bloggers vs. critics" and "the death of the critic" so who knows? Maybe the internet is the place to be!

Obviously working as a writer, I'd say you enjoy words and their power, so which writers do you admire?

In terms of reggae writing, I've always liked David Katz because he isn't very opinionated (unlike a lot of writers who have an agenda or let their personal tastes get in the way of objective appraisal) and just tells you about the particulars of a tune rather than raving about it/dismissing it. Some people say his work is too "trainspotterish" but I don't agree.Then there's Chris Lane, for his great technical knowledge of music and sound production, and Dr William Lez Henry who strips away a lot of the myths and misconceptions that colour an outsiders view of the music and culture. And it goes without saying that for his knowledge and the quality of his writing I admire Penny Reel - the father of UK reggae writing - although I wouldn't (and couldn't) even try to replicate that winding, Dickensian sentence style of his!In terms of writers in general there are too many to mention but my prose style has been influenced reading Saul Bellow, and more recently, Lionel Shriver.

You obviously listen to reggae in all of its genres, so what 'style' do you look forward to hearing? Also do you have a favourite tune?

The music of my heart is roots music. All Jamaican music has the elements i love - economy, brevity, equality between the instruments and technique. But I have always been fascinated by music that glorifies God, even though I am not religious myself; because it goes that little bit further to make its point. I do not discount any type of Jamaican music, though I have to look harder in some areas for what I like than others, for this is usually the fault of my ears being unfamiliar with a style more than anything else. It's very hard to think of one favourite tune to be honest. Groovy Situation by Audrey Hall is a tune that haunts my dreams because I haven't got it on vinyl yet!I'd just like to add that I am not a reggae expert - there are probably a thousand people I could name who are - just a writer who likes reggae. My knowledge is fairly patchy but I am learning as I go and trying to keep an open mind.

Many thanks Gus for your time.

You can find various reviews and interviews by Angus Taylor at


Michael Smith - A History

Also recently Angus did a piece on Michael Smith, a protégée of Linton Kwesi Johnson, and his only album release album "Mi Cyaan Believe". I have heard this album and although it may take you a while to get into it as it is a mixture of poetry and music, it is worth listening to, as I can almost guarantee you will not have heard or are you likely to hear another 'reggae' album like it again. Michael Smith was an incredibly talented and politically ferocious dub poet who was quite outspoken and raged against the insular Jamaican political machine (across all parties) that seemed to continually fail the majority of its people.

For the album review follow;


The following is taken from an article that appeared in the Jamaica Observer on Friday January 18th, 2002.

“Born in 1954 to a working-class family, after attending various schools, Mikey Smith in 1980, graduated from the Jamaica School of Drama with a diploma in theatre arts.In 1978, Michael Smith represented Jamaica at the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students in Cuba. That year, saw the release of his first recording, a single titled, Word, followed by perhaps his most famous piece "Mi Cyaan Believe It" and "Roots".In 1981, he performed in Barbados during CARIFESTA and was filmed by BBC Television performing "Mi Cyaan Believe It" for the documentary "From Brixton to Barbados".In 1982, Smith took London by storm with performances at the Campden Centre for "International Book Fair of Radical Blacks and Third World Books", and also at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton for "Creation for Liberation".While in Britain, together with Oku Onoura, Michael Smith also did a successful poetry tour and recorded the "Mi Cyaan Believe It" album for Island Records.Linton Kwesi Johnson recalled how the circumstances of Smith's death was shrouded in controversy…"As far as I understand the facts, Mikey had attended a political meeting in Stony Hill where the ruling JLP Minister of Education was speaking and [he] had heckled her. The following day, he was confronted by three [persons believed to be] party activists, an argument ensued, stones were thrown and Mikey died from a blow to his head,"
To this day no one has ever stood trial for his death (although it is believed people know who the guilty parties are), and it is a truly sad way for such a young and promising talent to loose his life.

TOP CATS - Mr Donkey Paradise

Here is another review of what I consider a classic LP that everyone should have in their collection.
TOP CATS were a group eight talented musicians, who released their first, and as far as I know only album in 1999, the exceptional, self produced “MR DONKEY PARADISE” on the Jamdown label. Natty the lead singer (no not the new so called reggae-pop sensation) can apparently now be found DJ'ing down at Gaz's Rockin' Blues, every Thursday night in Soho and also singing for Ska Cubano. I for one though feel it is about time for the return of Top Cats!
The album is a collection of nine excellent 60s feeling full on pure Jamaican Ska tunes, with plenty of horns and cool sounding double bass. The album kicks off with the ska swing of “Calling Your Name” and continues at a fair old pace through the skanktastic “Tear the Place Down” and the stomping “Lay Down the Law”, before finally bringing things down to a simmer with the instrumental "Blue Lagoon". This is just a brief rest bite however, before the heat is turned full on again with another mainly instrumental tune “The Chalice of Fu Manchu”, and the humours "Dr Cash", before everything comes to what feels like a premature end with the storming "Let Them Go".
This is without a doubt one of, if not the best trad Ska album's of recent times, and I dare anyone to listen to it without wanting to dance. So tear the place down and let go!

Track List

01 Calling Your Name
02 Done You Wrong
03 Tear Place Down
04 Caught in the Fire
05 Law Down The Law
06 Blue Lagoon
07 The Chalice Of Fu Manchu
08 Dr Cash
09 Let Them Go

Puissance Regge Dancehall - 4 Disc CD from France

Someone whose songs have featured regularly on Springline is Anthony John and he has informed us that one of his tunes "LEAVE AS ONE" appears on a 4 disc release compilation "Puissance Regge Dancehall" on Wagram label (FRANCE).
A full track list follows

Disc 1/4 Set Roots

01 Garnet Silk - Complain 3:27
02 Jah Cure - Sunny Day 3:45
03 Sizzla - Like Mountain 3:36
04 Capleton - That Day Will Come 3:50
05 Junior Kelly - Black Am I 3:42
06 Warrior King - Everyday 3:28
07 Jah Mason - Stick Nor Stone 3:39
08 Yami Bolo - Gun War 3:43
09 Cocoa Tea - Biological Clock 3:51
10 Morgan Heritage - Cross Wi Borda 3:56
11 Tarrus Riley - She's Royal 3:52
12 Chezidek - Rising Sun 4:05
13 Jamelody - Love Crazy 3:56
14 Bushman - Ligthouse 4:00
15 Lutan Fiyah - No More Suffering 4:08
16 Ras Shiloh - Come Down Jah Jah 4:09
17 Richie Spice - Babylon Fallin 4:01
18 Luciano - Jah Is Navigator 4:10
19 I-Wayne - Book Of Life 4:04
20 Cyptian - Serious Times 4:38
Disc 2/4 Set Dancehall

Disc 2/4 Set Dancehall

01 Shaggy - Intoxication 3:30
02 Mavado - Whe Dem A Do 2:47
03 Vybz Kartel - Ben Over 2:24
04 Aidonia - Wine 2:02
05 Bounty Killer - Sufferer 3:02
06 TOK - Fulldraw 3:02
07 De Marco - Duppy Know Fi Frighten 3:00
08 Voicemail - Get Crazy 2:57
09 Lady Saw - I Can Have Your Man 3:33
10 Cecile - Goody 3:43
11 Vybz Kartel - Start War & Dread 2:28
12 Mr Easy - Real Gangsters 3:37
13 Bounty Killer - Statement 3:41
14 Mavado - Gully Side 2:53
15 Sean Paul - Shake It 3:16
16 Buju Banton - African Pride 3:42
17 Elephant Man - Elephant Message 3:04
18 Bigjay - Ban Nou Temps 3:36
19 Little Francky - J'aime 3:23
20 Le Ric - Le Magicien 3:39

Disc 3/4 100% Inedits

01 Speedy feat Tiwony - Police 4:11
02 Papatank - Westindiesfull 3:14
03 Le Ric - Où Est L'égalité 4:39
04 Elimane - Warriors 3:46
05 Sista Rosta - Hurry Up 3:28
06 Apach - Ba Yo 3:07
07 Le Ric - Trop De Canna 3:12
08 Elimane - Ma Gueule 4:36
09 Baby G feat Mic Hostil - Ganja Feeling 4:17
10 Deekros - Guadaloupé 3:56
11 Popi One feat Fainel - Pété La Bank 3:47
12 Dton feat Mic Hostil - Brule Pas Les Etapes 3:36
13 Laudy Lapropagand' - Prêt A Tout 3:58
14 Baby G - Soca 2:14
15 Princess K'shu - Bailalo 4:17
16 93MM feat Mac Manu - Karnaval 2:41
17 Julia D - DJ Donne Moi Le Clap 3:27
18 Ricky Sheppard - Destiny 3:28
19 Voicemail - You're The One 3:40
20 Lucky & Ambiancez Moa Sala - Le Roi Des Dieux 4:14

Disc 4/4 100% Inedits

01 Anthony Lion - Gardez La Motivation 3:12
02 Straika - No Translation 3:16
03 Tiwony - Rastafari 3:14
04 Lord Nbee - Marilou 3:55
05 Bigjay feat Tony C - Feeling Right 3:14
06 Dah Prodigi - Desire 3:26
07 Ut Ras - Wow 3:38
08 Militant - Tout Woman 3:31
09 Uncle Sthene - Savage 3:31
10 Dragon Killa - Lévé Tête Aw 3:32
11 Dimi Donkya feat Kid Kurrupt - En Or 3:14
12 Ballplate - We Don't Care 3:49
13 Shorty - Rajoute Des DB 3:05
14 Popi One, Baby G, Junior Ruben - Are You Ready Now 3:08
15 Anthony John - Live As One 3:54
16 Baby G feat Lord Diamant - On Est Venus Pour Danser 3:05
17 Heartical Family - Garden Party 3:31
18 King Ade - Badam 3:34
19 Yatal - Hypocrite 3:32
20 Lucky & Ambiancez Moa Sala - L'homme Aux Locks 4:12



Top Reggae Blogs & Pods

For those of you that like some free tunes (and after all who doesn't) you may be interested in checking out the following sites. All three are from DJ's around the globe in the UK, Holland and America and are offering up some mighty fine mixes.
If you do decide you want to help yourself to one of them the only thing they ask is that you are kind enough to leave them some comment or feed back after all they are doing it for the love of the music, but they do like to feel appreciated.

Over at Distinctly Jamaican Sounds, Reggaexx can be found doing something of a special this month with his Halloween mix starting today, October 1st!
He'll post one track a day, complete with scary sound effects and sound bites and once the month is over they can all be assembled as one continuous mix.
Just what any self respecting Halloween party will need!!

BMC describes his podcasts more as 'mixes'. They are generally modern roots and 80's dancehall as a specialty, but with the additional sidesteps to older roots.
He also has his own blog and a youtube page with more dancehall stuff and live footage respectively.


If anyone else runs a blog or a pod with a difference, drop us a line :)


Sean at Rockers Revolt has just informed us that they have added a new section to the Rockers Revolt web shop... Second-hand Vinyl, for all you Vinyl Junkies out there!
They have been busy scouring car boot sales, charity shops and flea markets for great old ska, reggae, soul, 2 Tone, punk, new wave 7"s, 12"s and LPs.
There's more being added daily, but for now you can find some real gems, bargains and rare collectors items from;

The Beat, The Bodysnatchers, The Bureau, Madness, Rico & The Special AKA, Roddy Radiation & The Specials, The Selecter, The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Police, Ramones, Redskins, Squeeze, The Truth, The Undertones, Laurel Aitken, Barry Biggs, Gary Clail, The Diversions, Errol Dunkley, Rupie Edwards, Boris Gardener, John Holt, I Roy, Judge Dread, Bill Lovelady, Sly & Robbie, Smiley Culture, Steel Pulse, UB40, Yellow Man, Small Faces, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Special AKA, Maxi Priest, The Meditations, Millie, Owen Gray, The Jam, The Who, Ansel Collins, Big Youth, Dennis Brown, Musical Youth, Byron Lee, King Obstinate, Amy Whinehouse Ska ep, some great Trojan Records and Studio One comps.

Please note there is only one of each in stock so when they are gone they are gone. Keep checking back, though as they have over 200 titles to be added!!!!
To check out the first stock added go to

Here though are just some of the gems you can find.....although I dare say some of them may have already gone as you read this!


Roddy Radiation & The Specials Braggin' & Tryin' Not to Lie b/w Neville Staples aka Judge Roughneck - Rude Boys Outa Jail (Version) - £10 - 1980 2 Tone Records TT999 - Highly collectable - Free promo 7" that originally came with first pressings of More Specials LP (there was also a poster with the LP...and that must be as rare as rocking horse sh....to find)
Record: V.Good condition Sleeve: Good condition/slightly aged as you'd expect

Squeeze - Packet Of Three EP - Cat On A Wall / Night Ride / Backtrack (1977) - Deptford Fun City Records DFC01 - £8
Rare 1st ever single from Squeeze. Record: V.Good condition Sleeve: Good condition

Judge Dread - Big Nine / Nine And A Bit Skank (1974) Big Shot Records - £15
Highly Collectable - Vinyl looks blue when held up to light
Record: Excellent Sleeve: Plain sleeve

Amy Whinehouse - Ska ep - A: Monkey Man & Hey Little Rich Girl, B: You're Wondering Now & Cupid
Highly sort of bootleg where Miss Whinehouse covers The Specials' Hey Little Rich Girl, Toots & the Maytals' Monkey Man, Prince Buster's You're Wondering Now and Sam Cooke's Cupid.
Record: Mint - coloured vinyl/grey marble effect Sleeve: Wrap round paper outer sleeve/take off of the classic 2 Tone sleeve


Millie - My Boy Lollipop / Oh Henry (1964) Island Records 12WIP6574 - £7.50
MONO pressing - collectable
Record: Excellent Sleeve: 1 sticker, 1 sticker rip, good for age


Big Youth - Progress - Nichola Delita label (1979) - £12 - Rare Jamaican pressing - KILLER toasting/roots album ft.backing vox from Barry Llewellyn & Earl Morgan (both from The Heptones), Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley & Big Youth in full flight
Record: VG Sleeve: VG +

Byron Lee & Dragonaires - Reggay International (1976) Dynamic DYLP 3008 - £15
Vinyl: Good/some markings but plays well Sleeve: Excellent

Dennis Brown - Joseph's Coat Of Many Colours - DEB label - 1979 - £15 - Rare - Jamaican pressing
Record: Good Sleeve: Good, sticker on front cover

King Obstinate - SoCalypso (1982) Greenbay Record Inc LP003 - £15 - RARE Heavyweight vinyl - collectors' piece - Made in Barbados. The first ever Crowned Calypso King of Antigua & Barbuda's carnival in 1958! This record marks King Obstinate's recapture of the title some 23 years later

V/A - Get Ready Rock Steady - Coxsone Studio 1 CSL 8007 - £35 - COLLECTORS PIECE
Record: Good Sleeve: VG

V/A Personal Choice - Trojan Records TRLS140 - £15
Record: NrMint Sleeve:V.Good (one mark on bottom)

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16281887571 http://www.myspace.com/rockersrevolt

THE SLACKERS – European Tour 2008

The excellent Slackers are on the road in Europe throughout November, and having caught this band recently on the "Reggae for the People Tour" with Pama, The Pietasters and Mungo's can say that their highly charged and exciting shows are well worth seeing. Shame there are no UK dates as yet, as I certainly want to see this band again!

November 2008

05 Tilburg (NL) - 013
06 Groningen (NL) - Vera
07 Aachen (GER) - Musikbunker
08 Ghent (BE) - Kunstencentrum Vooruit
09 Solothurn (CH) - Kofmehl
10 Macon (F) - La Cave à Musique
11 Tuebingen (GER) - Sudhaus
12 Duesseldorf (GER) - ZAKK
13 Hannover(GER) - Faust
14 Berlin (GER) - SO36
15 Fuerstenwalde (GER) - Club im Park
16 Copenhagen (DK) - Loppen
17 Bremen (GER) - Lagerhaus
18 Sittard (NL) - Ernesto's
19 Sittard (NL) - Ernesto's
20 Utrecht (NL) - Tivoli de Helling
21 Rotterdam (NL) - Waterfront
22 Ahaus (GER) - Logo
23 Madrid (ES) - Gruta 77
24 Madrid (ES) - Gruta 77


Mentioned this back in August, but just as a reminder don't forget that this month sees the EASY STAR ALL-STARS touring around the UK, plus one show in the fine city of Dublin, with support from ED ROME, and for the shows in Bristol and London PAMA INTERNATIONAL

Jamdown Artist Booking presents:

From NYC, the creators of Dub Side Of The Moon & RadioDread


plus support from ED ROME and PAMA INTL* (London and Bristol only)

October 2008
18 Kendal Brewery Arts 01539 725133
19 Boss Sounds, Newcastle Carling Academy 08444772000
20 Glasgow Arches 0141 565 1000
22 Dublin Tripod Locall 0818 719 300
23 Leeds Irish Centre 0113 248 0613
24 Bristol Trinity* 0117 929 9008
25 Southampton The Brook 02380555366
26 London Shepards Bush Empire* 08444772000
27 Brighton Komedia 01273 647100
28 Nottingham The Maze 01159475650
29 Cambridge Junction 01223 511 511
30 Oxford Carling Academy 0844 477 2000
31 Exeter Lemon Grove 01392 263518

November 2008
01 Falmouth Pavillion 01326 211222

Band overview

"NYC creators of Dub Side of the Moon & Radiodread originally formed in 1997 for NYC's Easy Star Records' first recordings. The All-Stars existed only as a studio entity until releasing 'Dub Side Of The Moon', their reggae version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, in 2003 (spent my Holiday chilling out to this on the beach....perfect). The success of that album, which is still sitting on Billboard's Reggae Chart 5 years later, is unstoppable. It has continued to sell week in week out and has now topped over 100,000 sales. By public demand the formation of a touring version of the collective was hand-picked from the finest players in NYC.
In 2006, the Easy Star All-stars released the follow up to Dub Side, tackling Radiohead's OK Computer (renamed RadioDread). This album, and the world tour that followed, solidified the All-Stars' reputation for experimentation, originality and incredible live shows. Few bands bring together such a disparate group of reggae fans, classic rock fans, dub kids and indie rockers. Through musical versatility, instrumental prowess, beautiful vocal harmonies and a superb rhythm section, this 9-piece has established itself as one of the top international reggae acts.


Soul Jazz - 100% Dynamite Is back!

Yes, 100% Dynamite Is back!

Sunday 12 October 2008, 3pm-11pm, Cafe 1001, Brick Lane, London.
Ten years since the club started in it's humble surroundings at the Blue Angel - with it's queues that went right round the building - and two years since the last parties at Elektrowerkz, 100% Dynamite starts it's all-new Sunday monthly sessions in Brick Lane, London. These parties last from 3pm-11pm and the venue is amazing! Cafe 1001 is a huge building on the busiest throughfare of Brick Lane, situated opposite Rough Trade. At the back of the cafe is a wicked room that will rock! There is also an open-plan room with sofas where you can also hang out, eat food and chill and children are welcome - so if you stopped going out because you had children here's your chance to party again!

Horace Andy, Alton Ellis, Andy Weatherall, Lone Ranger, Roots Manuva, Digital Mystikz, Blood and Fire, Warrior Queen.... just some of the many guests who have appeared at this club.

Reggae, Funk and Soul, Dancehall every month starting......

Sunday 12 October 2008 3pm-11pm.

Admission is £3. You have first chance of buying tickets right here now for the opening session. Otherwise see you there! Tell all your friends!

For more info go to info@soundsoftheuniverse.com or tel 020 7734 3341

Caribbean Vibes Radio & Events

Well we've been sent loads of stuff from the people over at Caribbean Vibes Radio This month. They supply music entertainment 24-hours a day, 7-days per week, and deliver an eclectic blend of Reggae, Dancehall, Soca and more, plus, news and interviews.
LIVE weekly shows are archived for your listening pleasure.

"Caribbean Vibes Radio. Catch it. Feel it. 24-7!"

Weekly featured shows on CVR:

"Under Pressure" with host DJ Gusma-T from Italy. (Wednesdays @ 9 pm EST.)

"DJ Kut Effekt" from Paris, France. (Fridays 9pm-10pm est.) *Parental Advisory*

"Island Groove Show" with host DJ Solo from Houston, TX. (Saturdays @ 8 pm EST.)

"TM Gospel Show" with host Mr. TM from Trinidad and Tobago (Sun. 9am & 2 pm EST)



Also they recommend a few nights out in Washington DC, so if you live out that way or you are travelling in that direction here are a few of the events that might be worth a look.




FEEL NICE @ DUKE'S CITY - Sunday 12th Oct