Ark-Ive. Here on Smile Jamaica blog; without commercial interruptions
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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: