Fall of 1986. Moved from Bozeman, Montana to SLC for University. Met a guy in the dorms from Baltimore with a kick ass stereo. CDs were new. I was looking for a new music form (mid 80’s synthesizers weren’t cutting it for I ‘n’ I). Dabbled in blues and world looking for a sound.
Neal my music pal, played for me a tough looking Reggae group called Black Uhuru. Anthem was the name of the album. On his massive stereo in the cinder block dorm rooms it was like an epiphany.
That’s the sound I am looking for! Went out and bought the LP the next day. (Couldn’t find the CD locally.) That lit the fuse to 29 years of Reggae Radio. 66 sec.
Wheel it forward to Spring of 1988. The local community radio station ran ads looking for late night volunteers. My roommate and I were in the Pie Pizzeria near the U of U campus. We had both been doing little shows running in the Student Union on something called K-UTE. My show was called Positive Vibration (after the Bob song.)
Roomie wanted to do 80’s indie. KRCL had plenty of that. But accepted me for late Sunday/early Monday – 3 o’Clock Roadblock (Also Bobness.) Six weeks of training before I debuted July 2, 1988. 84 sec.
Once I got the show, it gave me a reason to begin expanding the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives. Jah forbid, I play the same album two weeks in a row. So I would take my student loan check, thanks Ronald Reagan, bank it in a savings account. And then once or twice a year, drive or fly to the Bay Area and scour the plentiful record stores.
The secret? CDs are half as wide as an LP. So you could fit twice as many, at nearly double the cost, in each rack.
As consumers started selling vinyl for seed cash for CDs, I swooped in and vacuumed up all the great Reggae for dirty cheap. I would get UK albums that sell for $100 on Ebay in 2017 for around $4. I rarely paid more than $10 for an album.
That’s how you get to this three decades later….
<Smile Jamaica’s Cratedig itinerary: Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, El Cerrito, Mill Valley; 26 sec.>
So on July 1, 2017 – I celebrate 29 years of juggling black wax!
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Annotated Playlist July 1, 2017 – 29th Anniversary All Vinyl Showcase; 85 sec.
- Zap Pow – This Is Reggae Music; Reggae Rules! (Rhino) ’80 US
- Alien Dread – Firstlight; Cosmic Dub Clash (Log On) 2009 UK Dub Album of the Hour
- The Meditations – There Must Be a First Time; Message From the Meditations (United Artists) ’76 US – Lee Perry prod’n
- ILive – Natty Dread on the Mountain Top; Jah Guide (Out of Many, One) ’90 San Fran female singer
- Crutches & D. Brown – Wackie Fence Skank; Java Java Dub (Impact!) ’72 UK studio labrish
- Desi Roots – Weedfields; Weedfields (Hawkeye) ’80 UK 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
<Burning the weed fields killed the Jamaican middle class; 25 sec.>
- Kojak & Liza – Black Skin; Showcase (Nigger Kojak) ’80 JA
- Soul Syndicate – King’s Highway; High Times All Star Explosion (Alligator) ’85 Chicago blues label
- I Roy – Commandment II; Ten Commandments (Virgin) ’80 UK yellow, picture sleeve – to Bob Marley’s Heathen
- Sister Carol – Spidla-Ding; Black Cinderella (Jah Life) ’84 Brooklyn singjay
- Freddie McGregor – Strange Things; Freddie McGregor (High Times) ’82 John Holt cover
- Azeem & Session – Sing a Song; Dreadfly (Joe Gibbs) ’82 Miami
- Bob Marley & the Wailers – Redemption Song; Uprising; Island Vinyl Box Set (Island) 3484 of 10,000 = 9 albums
<Amoeba Records: Berkeley, CA; 90 sec.>
- Sly Dunbar feat. Althia & Donna – Dance and Shake Your Tambourine; Simply Sly Man (Virgin) ’78 UK
- Chalice – Ital Love; Crossfire (CTS) ‘86 JA
- The Melodians – Get Up and Dance; Irie Feeling (RAS) ’83 DC – reunion
- In Crowd – Riding High; Roots, Rock, Reggae (Creole) ’78 Fr.
- Bullwackie’s All Stars – Recording Connection; Black World Dub (Wackies) ’79 Dub Album of the Hour
- Inner Circle – 80,000 Careless Ethiopians; Reggae Thing (Capitol) ’76
<Ethiopian Communists overthrow Haile Selassie; 29 sec.>
- Dillinger – Three Piece Suit and Thing; King Pharaoh (Blue Moon) ’84 Fr.
- Eek a Mouse – Do You Remember; Skidip (Greensleeves) ’81 UK
- Elaine Taylor – Have a Good Time; Age of Reggae (Twinkle) ’84 UK
- Black Uhuru – Solidarity; 12″ EP (4th & Broadway) ’83 US – Little Steven cover
- Horace Ferguson – Tranquilizer; Sensi Addict (Prince Jazzbo Music) ’87 JA
- Purpleman – The King on His Way; Laserbeam (World Enterprize) ’83 Brooklyn
- The Mellows + Gladstone Star Band; Pray to Jah + Give Thanks and Pray; Rite Sound Reggae Story (Jah Live) Fr.
- Lone Ranger – UFO; Barnabas in Collins Wood (GG) ’79 JA
<Roswell 70th Anniversary of the UFO crash>
- Icarus – Talking Words; State of Mind (Russian Roulette) ’82 UK
- Three Dimension – Undertaker; Roadblock (Nubian) ’89 UK
- Nicodemus – Boneman Connection; Sleeping Bag’s Reggae Dancehall Classics (Sleeping Bag) ’80
- Delixx – Coming in from the Cold Dub; Uprising Dub (Micron) ’80 Dub Album of the Hour: trumpet for Bob’s vox
- Azanyah – Praise; “The One” (Path of Light) ’87 Atlanta jazz/nyah hybrid
- Winston Reedy – Message to Father; Dim the Light (Inner Light) ’83 UK
- Sandra Cross – Children of the Night; Lovers Delight (Ariwa) 52nd Street soul cover
- Dub Syndicate – Walking Jerusalem; Echomania (ON U Sound) ’93 UK
- The Paragons – Man Next Door; Sly & Robbie: Raiders of the Lost Dub (Mango) ’81 dub set
- New Age Steppers feat. Bim Sherman – Misplaced Love; Foundation Steppers (ON U Sound) ’83 UK
- Clint Eastwood – It Wasn’t Rasta; Love & Happiness (Burning Sounds) ’79 UK
- Time Unlmited – African Woman; Devil’s Angel (Live Wire) ’84 JA
- Exuma – Roller Reggae; Universal (Cat Island) ’82 Bahamian singer
Words of Wisdom: