It was July 2, 1988. Late Sunday Night/early Monday Morning. I jumped in my car and drove from my apartment by the University of Utah campus downtown to community radio station KRCL 90.9FM.
Unloaded a suitcase full of CDs and a crate full of LPs. At 3 am on a hot summer night, I cued up Black Uhuru’s “What Is Life” from the album that made me a Reggae fanatic – Anthem.
Drop the needle pon the record and that began a 30 year legacy of Reggae Radio.
<Sunday Night/Monday Morning, July 2, 1988; 3-6AM, debut of 3 o’Clock Roadblock on KRCL; 30 sec.>
I had returned that Sunday afternoon from a massive cratedig in the Bay Area. Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkely, Mill Valley, El Cerrito, Oakland, Santa Cruz.
I was glad my car didn’t break down. It would be bad juju to be late for my debut radio show. Not to mention how would I keep two crates full of vinyl from melting on the side of the road somewhere.
Ronald. Wilson. Reggae. 666 as the Rastas might say. Not I ‘n’ I. I didn’t see eye to eye with Ronnie politically, but I am forever grateful to him as the benefactor of the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives, even if it was a misuse of funds.
The 80’s were a time you could get more student grants than student loans. Tuition was a fraction of what it is today. That left me about $2k left over to front load music for a Radio show. LPs and these recent creations called CDs. I was format agnostic. Good Reggae for the masses.
And I have Ronald Wilson Reagan to thank!
<Ronald Wilson Reagan – benefactor of the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives; 2 min.>
So from July 2, 1988 to July 14, 2018 – 3 o’Clock Roadblock (July 1988-August 1989) to Smile Jamaica (Oct. ’89), let’s celebrate with the Sequel to my 30th Anniversary showcase (cd versions) from 2 weeks ago.
I pay tribute to his legacy in funding the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives through the 80’s student loan program. 30 years ago it was more Pell Grants than 9% Loans.
So I would take the check, put in a savings account and once in the summer and usually once during the Holidays, I would travel to the Bay Area and descend upon the plentiful record stores from Reno to San Jose.
So it is hard not be nostalgic after I have been moving into my 400+ square foot Ark-Ive: 31 sec.
From the Garage:
To the Ark-Ive:
Spent 2k on CD towers to empty out the cardboard boxes and onto shelving. Every Saturday before Smile Jamaica since New Year’s I have prepared for this move.
Now that I am inside the house, I have to make sensi of the entropy. A journey of a thousand miles begins with unloading a single box.
A luta continua – The struggle continues
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: June 24, 2017: Annotated Playlist: 40 sec.
NASA says there is nothing to worry about, “near miss”, they say. I don’t believe them anymore than I believed the Presstitutes that told us Hillary Clinton had a 98.3% chance of winning the Presidency against the Cheetolini. Liar, liar pantsuit on fire
“You’ve got fake news in my alternative facts!”
All our space endeavors are meant for one thing. Planetary defense against Alien vengeance. Ronald Reagan created the Strategic Defense Initiative not to stop Putin’s KGB, but wanted to give the technology to the Soviet Union to coordinate Earth defenses alongside the Americans.
False Flag Alien Attack
So my advice?
Kiss your kids, call your parents, tell them you love them
Don’t pay your VISA bill yet
Say a prayer to the Skygod of your choosing
Ask the dinosaurs how their “near miss” with an Asteroid worked out for them.
<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
Ark-Ive. Here on Smile Jamaica blog; without commercial interruptions
Twitter: SmileJ_KRCL for live alert and stream upload/blog posts
<Smile Jamaica 20+ years of Jah-loween; 60 sec.>
Here are the High-lights of today’s Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive
Your station that rules the nation….
<Don’t touch that dial!>
Peter Tosh Birthday tomorrow. Oct. 19, 1944 marks the birth of Peter Tosh (born Winston Hubert McIntosh).
He was murdered….wait for it…. Sept. 11, 1987. I’m going to tell you a story about how Peter crashed the stock market on the anniversary of his Oct. birthday 5 weeks after his murder. Then we’ll hear him prophesize about it in The Day the Dollar Died. What about WTC Building 7?
<Zombies love the Roots ‘n’ Dubbers; 17 sec.>
Next week is Jah-loween Show. Twenty plus years of ghosts, vampires, witches and zombies. I’ll tell you why I do it 6 days early instead of one day late. (Halloween is Friday this year). Last week I played about 44% of the show. Nuff Jah-loween tunes this week as well! Pick up your cross and follow me! Lee “Scratch” Perry
Ark-Ive. Here on Smile Jamaica blog; without commercial interruptions
Twitter: SmileJ_KRCL for live alert and stream upload/blog posts
Smile Jamaica: The King’s Music, Jamaican Blues, Your College for Musical Knowledge with the Dub Confessor. All killer, no filler. Roots Reggae Sounds for your listening pleasure, 25 years! 10 sec.
Today marks a Quarter of a Century laying down the Roots on Smile Jamaica
Wheel it back 25 years to 1989:
Pete Rose lifetime ban for betting on baseball
Berlin Wall came crumbling down
Bay Area Quake Series. Bad mojo for my beloved Giants
Panama Invasion on my Birthday (Dec. 20)
My radio career at KRCL 90.9FM was late June 1988 til Aug. 1989: 3 AM to 6 AM Sunday Night/Monday Graveyard: 3 O’clock Roadblock. Reggae, World and Ska program.
My listening audience must have consisted of a couple dozen bored 7-11 clerks, insomniacs and cab drivers.
Juggled wax and these new fangled doo-dahs called the Compact Disk through the Alaska Clipper winter of 1988. Twice, that brutal winter, (I hail from the Highline in Northern Montana so I know Winter like I know Roots Reggae), AAA had to jump my crappy Chrysler Cordoba*
You know what a let down doing 3 hours of Reggae in the middle of the dead cold night, drag ass to the car with a crate of Records and 2 suitcases full of CDs, and then hear that telltale click click of a dead battery? Bumba klaat! Fiyah bu’n!
In the immortal words of Ned Flanders, “Son of a Diddly!”
*My Cordoba did not have “rich, Corinthian leather” but pea green crushed velour.
At the end of Summer ’89 I let station management know that I was going to retire from Graveyard Rockers. I had a new girlfriend, it was my last year in college and I couldn’t stagger through Monday and half of Tuesday dead tired from getting home at 7AM as everyone else was Risin’ & Shinin’.
Yeah, and I wasn’t gonna schlep Roots and Vinyl from the University Student Housing on the hill to the Westside of SLC – KRCL’s home – another cold ass winter for a dozen diehards and shift workers marking time. There was no podcast or stream options in ’89.
I had a great time. Hang on tightly, let go lightly. I figured I would just sub on Smile Jamaica from time to time to keep my skills sharp.
The guy who was doing Smile Jamaica was a dude named John “Rutabaga” Reese. Prince Far I sings, “The humble calf suckles the most milk”. That’s how Rutabaga was for me. Salt of the Earth Utah kid, loved his Roots Reggae – he had impeccable taste in good One Drop and Rub a Dub Roots Rasta Reggae. Plus he turned me on to Adrian Sherwood and the ON U Sound I call Mutant Dub when I took over the reins on Saturday Afternoon.
John had a crate in a funky bohemian clothing store on the West side of Salt Lake called Grunts and Postures. Even before I met him through KRCL, I had pulled some gems from that crate: Aswad – Bubblin’ 12″; Bob Marley picture sleeve of Buffalo Soldiers. Some really experimental vinyl from ON U Sound: African Head Charge, Dub Syndicate, Singers & Players, New Age Steppers. Mark Stewart and Tackhead Sound System. Suns of Arqa South Asian trance dub.
I got in to Reggae around Oct. 1986. Someone hyped me to KRCL and Saturday Reggae, early Winter 1987. Back then Smile Jamaica was on at 1pm til 4pm!
I had a listener call me last month and thank me for 25 years and he said that for him, 3 hours of Smile Jamaica was his version of “going to church”.
I told him I knew exactly what he meant because as a “civilian” listener circa 1987, I listened to the Show with the fervor of a Jihadi and the active absorption of Roots Reggae as a University Academic wanna be Undergrad.
I would listen on my Hi Fi in my dorm room with a pad and paper writing down titles that John played and would announce. John played long, half hour sets. Sometimes he didn’t always announce the set list. I learned good quality Roots via Rutabaga’s radio selection.
Ten Random and Essential Rutabaga Reese era Smile Jamaica selections that were a HUGE influence on me:
Don Carlos – Prophecy (Blue Moon)
UB40 – Signing Off (DEP)
Peter Broggs – Rastafari Liveth (RAS)
Burning Spear – Marcus Garvey (Mango)
Benjamin Zephaniah – Rasta (Workers Playtime) – UK dubpoet
Rita Marley – One Draw 12″ extended mix (Shanachie). My favorite Seven Leaf tune Summer of ’88
African Head Charge – Stebeni’s Theme. (ON U Sound). Mutant dub African music with female vox
Alpha Blondy & the Wailers – Jerusalem (Stern’s). The best Sons of Abraham Peace Song sung in French, African, Hebrew and Arabic via Cote d’Ivoire
Culture – Two Sevens Clash (Shanachie); 7/7/77 July 7, 1977 – When the Two Sevens Clash’d. Just another Doomsday
Bunny Wailer – Blackheart Man (Mango). Bought this off the display rack on first sight, cratedigging at the Cosmic Aeroplane, Oct. 1986
I could name a 100 more Rutabaga boomshots and not stop for a breath!
When I got involved at KRCL Summer of ’88, Rutabaga and another dread named Papa Pilgrim were great mentors to me in how to “do” radio. Segues, being on the mic. (Praise Jah, I was so stiff and monotone. I wanted to let the music do the talking. My air check was just the facts about the 4-5 songs per half hour set over a featured dub album for the music never stops.)
Papa Pilgrim did a Wed night show called Nite Roots. His show was as popular mid week as Smile Jamaica was on Saturday Afternoon. Roots Reggae fans in Northern Utah had a dubble dose of great radio. Many towns much bigger than SLC have their Reggae Radio shows in the middle of the Night.
Rutabaga let me “sub in” on a hot summer Saturday, July 1988. I was so nervous laying the needle on the record. Took me 3 attempts to drop the needle and back cue the platter on my Rita Marley 12″. It was the major leagues from my fumbling around late night Sundays mumbling for the Nite Owls. It was great fun and I think half of the show turned out to be requests.
To quote philosopher Sally Field, “You like me! You really, really like me!”. Getting to do Radio of any sort is a pretty rare thing in this country and I got my taste of volunteer broadcast media. Give thanks!
When I gave up the ghost on 3 o’clock Roadblock I figured I would just tag along every now and then on either Saturdays or Wed. 10pm. Great times, both, for Roots Rub a Dub Reggae!
Rutabaga decided he wanted to share Smile Jamaica. I had no problem saying yes. So he and I tag teamed together Radiothon (Oct.) 1989. We alternated sets each Saturday until Spring Radiothon ’90. Then we did every other week until All Star Break July ’90.
<Your Station that Rules the Nation!>
My fellow UFOrian, Ronald Reagan was pretty generous with his Student Loan kasheesh back in the day. I would take a huge chunk of my Sept. loan check and put it in a savings account. Summer that year I would do a full court blitz of Nevada and Northern California cratedigging for quality Roots Reggae.
It was early July 1990 and I had just returned with a trunk full of Roots hauled from Reno, Auburn, Collie-fornya, Sacramento, San Francisco, North Oakland, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, El Cerrito, San Mateo, Mill Valley.
Vinyl: Lps, 10″s, 12″s, 7″s, Cds, Cassettes, Books and magazines. T shirts, badges, stickers. Anything Red Green and Gold down to my shoelaces. Posters, tapestries bumper stickers. Rasta or African necklaces, pendants, charms and pins.
For some reason I remember that it was the night of the 1990 All Star game. I was subbing on a Tuesday Night KRCL rock show rinsing out my favorite non-Reggae delights. Groups like Camper Van Beethoven, The Minutemen, The Replacements. The Clash. The Studio Line rings and it was Rutabaga. After a little chit chat, he offered that he was “retiring” from Smile Jamaica. We weren’t going to alternate weeks. I became solo host of Smile Jamaica the following Saturday and have never looked back for 25 years.Forward ever, backwards never!
I love doing every minute of every show. Some people sing or play instruments or draw. My artistic talent is stitching Reggae and Riddim based musics together in a flow.
Sat. Sept. 20, 2014. 90.9FM. 4-7 PM Mtn. Smile Jamaica Best of 25 Years: Vinyl is V-Ital Selection!
What better way to celebrate 25 years of juggling wax on the Radio? Same day (Saturday). Same time (since 1990 from 4-7PM). Same guy (yours truly). Same station: 90.9FM. Just like the Simpsons Sunday Night, you have Smile Jamaica Saturday Afternoon. Give thanx and praise, let Chalice blaze!
Saturday, 4-7 PM Mountain Time. 90.9FM. Vinyl is V-Ital. I spent this (Sat.) morning in the Ark-Ives harvesting 50 albums I pulled from year one and two of collecting Reggae Music: 1987-1988. Not my all time favorites. But a variety of what I purchased as I learned how to buy quality Reggae and the serendipity of what you find when you leave no crate unturned in a music Mecca that is the Bay Area.
Black Uhuru – Anthem (Mango). The album that started the obsession. On 3 O’clock Roadblock I started every show with a Michael Rose or Jr. Reid Black Uhuru scorching roots gem. 30 sec.
The Congos – Heart of the Congos. The Holy Trinity of Roots: Lee “Scratch” Perry mix, Black Ark brooding sound, Cedric Myton’s beautiful falsetto
Countryman Soundtrack. For Bob Marley’s sublime “Jah Live”
Rare roots cover of Zimmy’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Arthur Louis)
Roots Dawtas: songbirds, toasters, folkies
Seven Leaf Herbal Meditations
Mutant Dub in the last half hour. ON U Sound and the role those Black Wax dub jams meant for my development of quality Mutant Dub*
*Smile Jamaica is the intergalactic portal for what I have been calling Mutant Dub for two plus decades. Therefore, I “discovered” Mutant Dub just like Columbus “discovered” India.
Vinyl is V-Ital, rhymes with Ital!
Smile Jamaica live every Saturday 4-7 PM Mtn. Time:
26 years of Reggae Radio on KRCL: 45 shows avg./year, 3 hours per show for 26 years: 3500+ hours (146 straight days, Selah!)
<26 Years of Reggae Radio: 3500 hours; 50 sec.>
Plus 3 months of Global Gumbo summer of ’89 (30 or so). Plus 9 years of Radioactive (over 400 hourly interviews of Progressive politics). Before KRCL went pro during the daytime I loved to fill in on shows like Breakfast Jam, Roots and Blues and Drive Time. Plus, I kept the chair warm for Reggae Ambassador Wednesday Night stalwart Papa Pilgrim for about six months when he recovered from surgery. Add another 1000 hours. Give thanks!
Too much Tribal War. Driving me crazy. Brother killing brother. Old as Cain and Abel but there are more than a dozen countries in the Middle East, nearly that many in Africa and Ukraine vs. Russia., actively killing and bombing and destroying themselves. Jah-pon is about to re-militarize. WTF? Whatever happened to the Summer of Love?
Armageddon around the corner, I am afraid we are all Fukashima’d.
Here are two songs to fit my bummer mood.
1. Sun Ra Arkestra – Nuclear War
2. Spiritual Rez – Let’s Go Out With a Bang
Either way you’re getting probed! I try to stay positive, but Reggae always points the way. I’m going to play some prophecy, (actually Ska-phecy), from The Special AKA when this happened in the Holy Land 30 years ago.
Bombs to settle arguments, the order of the boot
Can you hear them crying in the rubble of Beirut?I can still see people dying, now who takes the blame?
the numbers are different, the crime is still the sameFrom the graves of Belsen where the innocent were burned
To the genocide in Beirut, Israel was nothing learned?I can still hear people crying, now who takes the blame?
The numbers are different, the crime is still the sameBombs to settle arguments, the order of the boot
From the graves of Belsen, to the ruins of BeirutI can still see people dying, now who takes the blame?
The numbers are different, the crime is still the same