<Thanks for the positive feedback spinning Reggae Radio for 27 years! bless, robt; 17 sec.>
I have been fortunate enough to do Reggae Radio for 27 years now. July 1988-Aug. 1989 Graveyard stylee on 3 o’clock Roadblock (3 to 6am) Then by pure good luck of timing I moved over to Saturday Afternoons with Smile Jamaica (4 to 7 pm.) Oct. 1989-
<Much love to Juan Verde – John Greene. Who hired me to work for free on KRCL way back in 1988; 44 sec.>
I got accepted into grad school at UCLA but didn’t get a fellowship so I stayed put in Utah. Worked my way into the U of U’s academic library about the same time as I did Smile Jamaica.
Planted my flag and never left both institutions. Last week I decided to celebrate that legacy with a stroll down musical memory lane. Tried to recreate my first show. Being a Librarian I put all my faves into some semblance of chronological order. Pretty much from 1970-1979 for 3 hours.
Had lots of great listener feedback. Thanking me for 27 years of service and killer music selection. When you have something in the neighborhood of 10,000 pieces of Reggae. 30 songs out of that Ark-Ive are are hard as diamond.
But I didn’t get into Reggae until 1986. So my contemporary absorption of Reggae would have been the 80’s era.
This week’s Podcast Ark-Ive celebrates that era.
Bob Marley died 1981
Yellowman became King of Reggae: slackness began to ascend while Roots started to wobble when Edward CIA-ga, the right wing Ronald Reagan fan took over Jamaica. The Socialists fell away and the Rastas lost their power base.
Cocaine took over for Ganja
Like all genres in the 80’s synthesized music began to replace traditional drum and bass.
Dancehall eclipsed Roots Reggae
I was alienated by modern dancehall. My contemporary fix was more into Mutant Dub. I paint a rather bleak picture!
But there was some great Roots Reggae even if the riddims started to blend traditional Reggae with digital drum and bass. This show fixates on the best of the 80’s Reggae that I collected alongside Reggae Revives and 70’s rarities.
I learned from the deejay on Smile Jamaica when I was a civilian listener, John “Rutabaga” Reese. He had the best Roots Reggae instincts of anyone around. I used to listen like the student I was, notebook in hand, jotting down names and titles of killer shots. One after another. Then I would take my list to the Bay Area and spend my student loan money building my Roots Collection; 22 sec.
Here’s what’s on tap for the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: July 18, 2015 – Best of 27 Years Version 2: Favorite 80’s: 1980-1988; 1 min. 52 sec.
Black Uhuru – Party Next Door; Anthem (Island) ‘84
<During 3 O’Clock Roadblock I led off each show with a Black Uhuru jam; 29 sec.>
Jah Shaka Meets Aswad – Addis Ababa; In Addis Ababa (Jah Shaka) ’84 Dub Album of the Week
Peter Tosh – Reggaemyelitis; Wanted Dread & Alive (EMI America) ’81
<My first reggae LP; Xmas ‘81. Thanks Mom!; 15 sec.>
The Beat (aka The English Beat) – Tears of a Clown; I Just Can’t Stop It (Go Feet) ’80; 2 Tone Ska; Smokey Robinson cover
<The Beat called English Beat in US to avoid confusion over SoCal new wave/power pop group; 27 sec.>
John Holt – Police in Helicopter; Police in Helicopter (Greensleeves) ’82; 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
<John Holt – You burn down our weed fields, we’ll burn down your sugar cane and cassava fields; 31 sec.>
Black Slate – Reggae Music; Amigo (bbr) ’80 UK
Michael Prophet – Help Them Please; Gunman (Greensleeves) ‘80
<Reggaemyelitis – There is no cure!; 25 sec.>
Bob Marley & the Wailers – Coming in From the Cold; Uprising (Tuff Gong) ‘80
Ranking Roger & Blue Riddim – America and Russia/Selective Service System (Nancy Goes to Moscow); 12” (ORA) La Habra, CA
Linton Kwesi Johnson – Street 66; Bass Culture (Mango) ’80 UK dub poet
The Selecter – Three Minute Hero; Too Much Pressure (2 Tone) ’80 UK; 2 Tone ska
Dennis Brown – If I Had the World; Foul Play (A & M) ‘81
Aswad – Back to Africa; Showcase (Mango) ’81 UK
Rastafarians – Hold on Jah Jah Children; Orthodox (Makasound) ’81 Santa Cruz, CA
Steel Pulse – Ravers; True Democracy (Elektra) ’82 UK
Peter Broggs – Rastafari Liveth!; Rastafari Liveth! (RAS) ‘82
Fab 5 – Ooh! Ahh!; Countryman (Mango) ’82 sountrack
Gregory Isaacs – Night Nurse; Night Nurse (Mango) ‘82
<Jah’s Heavenly Choir: The Crown Prince of Reggae and his bredrin The Cool Ruler; 11 sec.>
Twinkle Brothers – Since I Throw the Comb Away; Live at Reggae Sunsplash (Genes) Aug. 7, 1982 Montego Bay, JA
<Since I Throw the Comb Away – lost my job, my family and my girl; 27 sec.>
Mutabaruka – Everytime A Ear de Soun; Check It! (Alligator) ’83 dub poet
Prince Far I – Survival; Umkhonto we Sizwe – Spear of the Nation (Tamoki Wambesi) ’83
<Prince Far I: You know a rude bwoy by the way he wears his cap; 34 sec.>
Bad Brains – Rally Round Jah Throne; Rock For Light (Caroline) ’83 DC Rasta punks do reggae
<Bad Brains produced by The Cars – Ric Ocasek; 19 sec.>
Aisha – Prophecy; High Priestess (Ariwa) ’88; Faybiane Miranda cover
Is Reggae music gospel music? Yes and no. What attracted me to Reggae back in the mid 80s was certainly the Rastafari themed music from stalwarts (pronounced stal-a-watt in Jamaica) like Marley, Tosh and Spear.
Of course there is plenty of non-religious Reggae: love songs, pop and soul covers.
I doubt Reggae would have had such cultural saturation in the West on the backs of novelty hits like “Fattie Boom Boom” and “Israelites” or AM covers with a shuffle beat. Something about Reggae’s heavenly message attracted interested Westerners looking for something exotic and non-mainstream.
In the 70s lots of people in the West opted out of Christianity, (especially Catholicism and Judaism), and went for something new. Some went to cults. Others went for Reggae: Movement of Jah People while also protesting against the “system.” Or the corrupt and greedy “shit-stem” as Peter Tosh called it. Socialism with a small “s”.
You don’t have to be a Rasta to sing or enjoy Reggae. But the conventional wisdom is that Reggae is identified as a counter cultural exploration of worship of His Imperial Majesty as a Black Jesus. West Africans ripped from the continent, put down in Jamaica in bondage and expected to worship their master’s white god.
Rebelling against that physical and mental slavery, while still preserving Christian traditions, led to Rastafari in Jamaica: Look to a black king crowned in East Africa. The return of Jesus who will lead blacks out of “Babylon” (The West, Jamaica, UK, America, etc.) to “Zion” (Africa or better still Ethiopia.)
I’m not a Rasta. My roots are in Northern Europe and Iran. I consider myself a Rastafari empathizer. Someone who understands and appreciates the religion as a devoted observer. Not a devotee.
I grew up a twice a year Methodist: Christmas Eve and Easter. The only time the Nelson family really went to weekly Sunday service was the two years my Dad was on the City Council in Fort Benton Montana.
Not that I haven’t been trying to be a “missionary” for the secular consumption of Reggae music. I celebrate Jah for the inspiration in thousands of Reggae tunes that fill my soul with joy. But I am careful not to endorse HIM out of respect for true believers. I don’t want to be a part of what Jacob Miller complained about: Too much commercialization of Rastafari!
The reason I bring this up: I had an interview with Jamaican Reggae singer Etana. So I do what I normally do before a phone interview: go on Wikipedia and read up on the artist’s entry.
Her album I Rise starts off with a gospel cover of a brilliant Bob Marley cover tune: Selassie is the Chapel. Itself an update of an old American gospel tune. Covered by Elvis.
Etana’s entry mentioned her recording genres thusly: Reggae, Gospel.
While introducing her to the radio listeners, I casually mentioned Etana was a Reggae and Gospel artist coming to town. She interrupted me and corrected me. She was most certainly NOT a Gospel singer. Her music was not geared to religiosity.
No worries. I did political interviews for 9 years. You don’t have to agree with me to have a conversation.
But when you lead off your album with a Rasta cover of a full on gospel song you can see where I might have been mistaken!; 21 sec.
By the way, I am not religious either. What earthlings worshipped as Skygods were Ancient Aliens colonizing Earth to mine gold to take back to their homeworld, Nibiru, beyond our galaxy.
Set your I watch alarm to 2900AD. That’s when the Anunnaki return to Earth.
In fact Etana the Reggae Singer, meet Etana the Sumerian King
Etana was an ancient Sumerian king of the city of Kish. According to the Sumerian King List, he reigned after the deluge. The list also calls Etana “the shepherd, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries”, and states that he ruled 1560 years.
Ascended to Heaven in a Chariot of the Gods (Erich Von Daniken)
Here is what I have for you during the next 3 hours of Roots Reggae, Dubwize and Gospel; 18 sec.
Annotated Playlist (photos, captions, Reggae History Lessons, soundbytes)
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: May 30, 3015:
Wayne Jarrett – Saturday Night Jamboree; 12” (Dub Irator) ‘80
Bullwackies All Stars – Recording Connection; Black World (Wackies) ’79 Dub Album of the Week
Winter in Utah. Great for the skiiers. Not so great in the Valley. Bad air was killing all my friends: asthma, bronchitis, flu shot was a dud. I got a massive head cold sitting on the tarmac in Jah-buquerque trying to get home. Decongestant nah work. Maybe a cordless drill in my ear canal will free up some earway.
<Winter in the Salt Lake Valley: Chunky Style air; 12 sec.>
Tis the season of the Hazy Shade of Winter. If your breathing is wrecked or the flu has you down for the count, just spin last week’s Smile Jamaica. Best way to complement your sick leave
Best of Smile Jamaica 25 Years: The Reagan Year (1988) radio debut; 15 sec.
Wailers Family Tree: The Wailers Duo (Bob + Peter) Live at Leeds; 11/23/73. Tosh harangue that nearly got him killed after the One Love Peace Concert; 4/22/78 Kingston, JA. Introducing Bunny Wailer’s album Liberation ’88. Judy Mowatt classic Black Woman
Dub Album of the Week: Bullwackie’s All Stars – Free For All (Wackies). Heavy urban dub JA via NY.
Seven Leaf: Junior Dan, Mike Brooks, Aldubb
<4 down, 46 to go!>
Vinyl is V-Ital midway
Jamaican Jukebox: 7″ vinyl rarities
Disco Mix: Extended mix vox and dubwize vinyl
Roots Dawtas: Aisha lovers rock, The Selecter 2 Tone ska, Judy Mowatt, Mutant Dubstress Molara, Iskeeda, Alpha & Omega trance dub
Mutant Dub: UFOria skywatching soundtrack; last half hour
Horace Andy – Tune in to the Airwaves; Don’t Stop (Island in the Sun) ’85 NY vinyl
Bullwackies All Stars – Free For All; Free for All (Wackies) Dub Album of the Week
Prince Far I & the Arabs – Foggy Road; Message From the King (Virgin Front Line) ‘78
The Selecter – Selling Out Your Future; Celebrate the Bullet (Chrysalis) ’81 UK 2 Tone ska feat. Pauline Black
Junior Dan – Sligoville Tobacco; 10” (Hi-Try) 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement (melodica instrumental)
<Reggae History Lesson: Sligoville Jamaica Rastas; 46 sec.>
Mike Brooks – Rhum (sic) Drinker – Classical Anthology (Teams) ’75; best of; herbtune
<You know me as a Rum Drinker, yah I’m a Sensi Smoker; 12 sec.>
The Wailers – Burnin’ & Lootin’; Burnin’ (Deluxe Edition) (Tuff Gong); Live at Leeds UK; 11/23/73; 28 sec.
<Live at Leeds: Bunny stays home: England cold; 28 sec.>
Aisha – It’s Not Right; True Roots (Ariwa) ’94 UK
Eric “Rebel Lion” Bubbles – Roots of Black People (Progressive International) ‘79
Set 3: Best of Smile Jamaica: 25 Years
Austin Campbell – the Hotter the Battle; Babylon a Fall Down (Trojan); Best of 25 Years Set (1988-1990)
The Morwells – Educate Your Mind; Bingy Bunny: Kingston 12 Toughie (RAS) ‘75
Judy Mowatt – Put It On; Black Woman (Shanachie) ’76; Wailers cover
Singers & Players – Thing Called Love (Don’t Fight); Revenge of the Underdog (ON U Sound) ’82 mutant dub
Set 4: Peter Tosh: harangue + Legalize It/Get Up Stand Up; 46 sec.
Peter Tosh – Speech + Legalize It/Get Up Stand Up; Talking Revolution (Pressure Sounds) 4/22/78: One Love Peace Concert; Kingston JA
Set 5: Vinyl is V-Ital
Dean Fraser – Sensimilia; Christmas Sting (Thunder Bolt) Vinyl is Vital Set; over Hallelujah Choir riddim JA
Basement 5 – Paranoiaclaustrophobia Dub; Basement in Dub (Island) ’80 UK Mutant Dub; future members part of Big Audio Dynamite
<Jurassic era Mutant Dub. Big Audio Dynamite; 39 sec.>
Bim Sherman – Haunting Ground; Haunting Ground (Revolver) ’86 UK best of
Mystic Youth feat/ I-Skeeda & the Irie-Ites – Save the Roaches; Best Wishes (Sunship) female singer; junior high Bay Area reggae group; 52 sec.
Set 6: Jamaican Jukebox of 7″ 45s; 33 sec.
General Echo – Love Bump; 7” (Jah Man) ’80 JA; 7”
Augustus Pablo & Lloyd Young – Our Man Flint; 7” (Black Art)
Lanford Graham – Where You Come From; 7” (Jungle Rock)
Delroy Gordon – Dizzy Spell; 7” (Portland)
Bunny Wailer – Rise and Shine; Liberation (Shanachie) ‘88
Read below for the Weekly High-lights of the 3 hour show!
Be sure to tune in next Saturday. (9/20). 4-7 PM. Mountain Time. Live celebrating 25 years in the chair laying down Roots, Dub and your college for musical knowledge. “Don’t be a faka, listen to Smile Jamaica!”
My favorite Vinyl from 1986-87 when I became a Reggae Fanatic. Been strolling through the Ark-Ives. Letters A and B and I already pulled 50+. An average Smile Jamaica is about 33-35 songs.
<Smile Jamaica 25 Years of Vinyl: 9/20/14; 30 sec.>
Annotated Playlist: History Lessons, sound bytes, photos & captions.
Reggae/Cannabis History Lessons
Sleng Teng, the Birth of Dancehall (Computerised) Reggae
Marley Anti-War (NO WAR IN SYRIA!)
Marley biography. Bob in Germany
Operation Eradication: Anti-marijuana crop burning imposed on Jamaica by Reagan for monetary/trade assistance. Neoliberal war on the poor
The Middle Passage: African Slavery
High-Lights of 9/13/14 Smile Jamaica:
Dub Album of the Week: Skatalites Jazz-Frican drums & horns
Wailers Family Tree: Bob Live ’80; Peter Jah-loween preview, Bunny ’87
Vinyl is V-Ital: Lps black wax, 7″ Jamaican Jukebox, 10″ Disco Mix
Roots Dawtas: Euro Dubstresses, Sister Carol does Bob Andy, 2 Tone ska, Collie-rado dubhoppers
Mutant Dub World Tour: Jah-cago, UK, Fr., Collie-rado