Tag Archives: Village Music

Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Jah-ly 2, 2022 – 34 Years of Reggae Vinyl!


Imagine a time long ago. Before Facebook, Netflix and Itunes. Ronald Wilson Reagan in the White House.

Last Sunday of June 1988. Salt Lake City, Utah. Hot summer. Middle of the Night. A callow youth from Montana debuted on the late night airwaves of community radio station KRCL.

The show was called: 3 O’clock Roadblock – after the Bob Marley tune.  Reggae with a mix of Ska and World Beat.

I ‘n’ I had been doing a little Reggae show on the Univ. of  Utah campus  station called Positive Vibrations (also Bob Marley). My roommate and I were in the Pie Pizzeria and they had KRCL on the Hi Fi. We heard a call out for new volunteers. And they were looking for a late night Reggae mix show. I ‘n’ I was selected, six weeks of trainings and started fumbling on the airwaves for late night insomniacs, cab drivers, graveyard shifters, cat burglars and night owls.

Thirty four years later. Trodding on prime time with Smile Jamaica

<34 Years of Reggae Radio: on KRCL; 2 min.>

I ‘n’ I had discovered the gem that  is KRCL. Non commercial music. No commercials. No slick presentation. (Early 1987). And the station had two really great  Reggae shows: Smile Jamaica, with my mentor, Rutabaga Reese. And Nite Roots with Papa Pilgrim. I ‘n’ I would listen intently, especially on Saturdays (1 to 4pm in those days; not 4-7). Great roots gems spun by Rutabaga. He taught I ‘n I about ON U Sound – What I ‘n’ I re-invented as the music genre Mutant Dub.

I ‘n’ I would keep a notebook of classic albums to fill up my collection before I could ever think of committing to a weekly radio show.

<Reggae Radio mentors at KRCL; 40  sec.>

The original KRCL radio Reggae thank you gift

Fall 1986 I moved from Bozeman, MT to SLC to attend the Univ. of Utah. I ‘n’ I had always been a music collector. And in 1986 I discovered the compact disk.

In the dorms I met a Jewish engineering student named Neal. He had a rich kid’s stereo and in the concrete block dorm rooms, sound really reverberated. We traded disks back and forth. One night we listened to the group Black Uhuru.

Heavy electronic 80’s era Sly & Robbie; Michael Rose’s Afro-Arab vocals and balanced harmonies: Puma Jones (roots dawta) and Ducky Simpson (Rasta dread.)

I ‘n’ I had about a dozen Reggae CDs but Black Uhuru “Anthem” was the epiphany moment. I became a Reggae obsessive after that!

In gratitude to Black Uhuru, I used to start each late night 3 O’clock  Roadblock with a Black Uhuru tune.

<Black Uhuru and Reggae Fanaticism; 63 sec.>

Not the first Reggae album for I ‘n’ I. But THE one that made me a Reggae Fanatic for life.

Now that I ‘n’ I had the show, I needed to expand my Reggae collection through the unintended, and probably unwilling President at the time:



Reagan – 666 as the Rastas say.

<Funder of the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives Ronald Wilson Reagan; 37 sec.>

Not quite: Ronald Wilson Reggae – 666

Hey, I ‘n I bear no grudges against the man. Back in the mid 80’s there were more grants that loans. I would take a big fat Ronnie check and deposit into savings. Then either around the Holidays or Summer I would scour the Bay Area record shops. Dozens of them, large and small, back before digital killed the record hut.

  • San Francisco
  • East Bay: Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito
  • Mill Valley – Marin county
  • Sacramento and Reno if I ‘n’ I was driving.

<Bay Area cratedig circuit; 44 sec.>

Village Music – Mill Walley, CA. North on the Golden Gate Bridge

I used to stay at a Travelodge on Columbus and Bay. Right across from the Tower Records. Or couch surf at an Aunt’s apartment over by San Francisco State U.

I would descend like a plague of locusts in the shops. CDs (new). LPs bargains as people sold vinyl for the CDs. Cheap and plentiful.

$4 dollar records cast off in 1989 can go for hundreds today on Ebay and Discogs.

<That effort became the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives; 51 sec>

Jews have the Wailing Wall. Muslims have the Kaaba. I ‘n’ I had Tower Records San Francisco

Salt Lake City was well represented in good record stores, before digital set in, during the mid 80’s. I used to deliver mail and had to use my own car. So the gas reimbursement was usually enough to buy two new disks every two weeks at the late lamented Smokey’s Records. Other gems at places like Randy’s (still in business) and Cosmic Aeroplane, Raspberry Records and Mad Platter (all gone to that record hut in the sky)

Quick Smokey’s story: Near the end of the store’s life, the owner Smokey Koelsch,  started giving me the hairy eyeball. Why? Thieves kept breaking to Smokey’s shop to steal all the Reggae cds.

And those are the stories I ‘n’ I collect and share for 34 years.

Forward ever, backwards never1

bless, Bobbylon

<Cratedigging in SLC; 47 sec.>

Used to spend my Post Office gas reimbursement here, Summer 1987

Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: July 2, 2022 – 34 Years of Reggae Radio (Vinyl)

Set 1

  • Prince Far I & the Arabs – The Message; Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Chapter 1 (ROIR) ’78 Dub album of the hour
  • Black Uhuru – Party Next Door; Anthem (Island) ’84 US
  • I Roy – Deck of Love Many Moods of I Roy (Trojan0 ’74 UK
  • Inner Circle – Burial; Blame It on the Sun (Trojan) ’75 UK Peter Tosh Cover
  • Arthur Louis – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door; This Is Reggae Music vol. 2 (Island) ’75 US comp.
  • Burning Spear – Lion; Man in the Hills (Mango) ’76 US
  • Rita Marley – One Draw; 12″ (Shanachie) ’82 US – 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
Teacher Rita schooled about the One Draw by students: Herbie, Smokey, Little Milla (as in Sensimilla!)

Set 2:

  • Marcia Griffiths – Feel Like Jumping; Feel Like Jumping (Receiver) ’68 UK comp.
  • The Heptones – Cool Rasta; Cool Rasta (Trojan) ’76 UK
  • Lion Zion – Gas Guzzler; Reggae in America (House of Natty) ’76 Oakland; Lee “Scratch” Perry prod’n
  • Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus – Rasta Liveth; Tribute to the Emperor (Trojan) ’76 UK
  • Bob Marley & the Wailers – Punky Reggae Party; 12″ (Tuff Gong) ’77 JA
No boring old farts at the Punky Reggae Party

Set 3:

  • Judy Mowatt – Mr. Dee Jay; Mr. Dee Jay (Ashandan) ’75 JA
  • Big Youth – Hurting Inside;  Progress (Nichola Delita) ’78 JA Bob Marley cover
  • Dennis Brown – Malcolm X; Visions (Blue Moon) ’78 UK
  • Keith Hudson – Musicology; Rasta Communication (Greensleeves) ’78
  • The Gayladds – Little Candle; Love & Understanding (Ballistic) ’79 UK
Autobiographical – Mr. Dee-J for 34 years!

Set 4:

  • Matumbi – Music in the Air; Seven Seals (Harvest) ’79 UK green vinyl
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson – Inglan Is a Bitch; Bass Culture
  • Soul Syndicate – There’s a Fire; Was, Is & Always (Epiphany) ’80 Santa Cruz, CA; Gaylads cover
  • African Princess – Jah Children Cry; Hits From the House of Shaka (Jah Shaka) ’85 UK


Set 5:

  • Bunny Wailer – Mellow Mood; Sings the Wailers (Mango) ’80 US – rock steady covers
  • Desmond Dekker – Moving On; Black & Dekker (Stiff) ’81 UK
  • Akimbo – So Long Trouble; So Long Trouble EP (Forward Sounds) ’85 UK
  • Johnnie Osbourne – Love Comes and Goes; Reggae on Broadway (Cha Cha) ’81 UK

Set 6:

  • Peter Tosh – Reggae Myelitis; Wanted, Dread & Alive (EMI America) ’81 US
  • Toots & the Maytals – Beautiful Woman; Knock Out! (Mango) ’81 US
  • Casselberry & DuPree – Take It to the Limit; City Down (Icebergg) ’86 Milwaukee, Wi; two women cover the Eagles
Very first addition to the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Xmas ’81. Thanks Mom!

Set 7:

  • Singers & Players feat. Prince Far I – Quante Jubila; War of Words (ON U Sound) ’81 UK
  • Twinkle Brothers – Since I Threw the Comb Away (Sunsplash) 8/7/82 Montego Bay
  • Don Carlos – Lazer Beam; Spread Out (Burning Sounds) ’83 UK
  • Lilian Allen – Conditions Critical; Conditions Critical (Redwood) ’87 Emeryville, CA; Toronto dub poet
Reggae mentor Rutabaga Reese hyped me to Adrian Sherwood/ON U Sound. The dub/electronic crossover I started calling Mutant Dub

Set 8:

  • Singers & Players feat. Sister P – Holy Scripture; Vacuum Pumping (ON U Sound) ’88 UK
  • Caribbean All Stars – Snake in de Grass; Live & Direct (Raw Life) ’84 Oakland
  • Krieger-Densmore Reggae Bonanza – Get Up Stand Up; 12″ (Rhino) ’83 US Wailers cover
  • Ruffy & Tuffy – Third World War Is a Must; Climax (Black Star) ’88 Finland
First live Reggae concert: Summer 1987. Caribbean Allstars open for Third World

Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: May 31, 2014: 25th Anniversary Vinyl is Vital Show (Stream + Playlist)

Happy Anniversary to Me! 25 years playing tasty Vinyl on Smile Jamaica!


Mixcloud hosts my Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive Streams. If you don’t want to read my vinyl cratedigging story below, just go deh!: May 31, 2014

I don’t know why last week was different, but I hit 3 charts on Mixcloud’s weekly uploads

  • 5th in the Vinyl chart
  • 15th in the Dub chart
  • 17th in the Reggae chart

Yes I! Give thanks and praise to you if you made it a priority to listen to Smile Jamaica  so it could chart. Maybe it was the cannabinally (did I just invent a word?) inspired Milton Glaser photo of birthday boy Bob Dylan:

Milton Glaser’s famous Bob Dylan poster mock-up

So I was very happy with that and decided to celebrate the next week’s Smile Jamaica edition with an All Vinyl Show. Been committed to vinyl from Day 1 on KRCL 90.9FM. I have relentlessly championed vinyl for 25 years now. It is a rare show that I don’t play at least a set of black wax or a dozen vinyl records in 7″, 10″, 12″ and LP format spread over 3 hours.

Every once in a while I get asked how much longer I plan on programming Smile Jamaica. 25 five years every Saturday afternoon. Quite a significant time commitment, eh? I answer the same each time: “When the station de-commissions the two turntables, I will retire.”

I doubt that will happen, but without being able to play Vinyl, it would be like listening to your Hi Fi with only 1 speaker working.

Smile Jamaica: Your Jamaican Jukebox

I feel fortunate that I have been able to apply my cratedigging for a Radio purpose. Most record collector addicts either don’t have a media outlet for their archives or disseminate their artifacts with other collectors. Like trading baseball cards.

In my case, the lion’s share of my record haul was funded via student loan easy money from Uncle Ronnie (it took me 15 years to pay off my 80’s record haul plus 3 University degrees.)

The period from about 1985-1995 coincided with a period of cheap Vinyl titles being sold in brick and mortar record stores to clear space* and gain seed money for these new fangled thingees called the Compact Disc.

*Did you know the size of the CD was made to exact specifications: 2 CDs could sit, perfectly,  side by side for every record bin. Thus, doubling the potential inventory.

I would drive to the Bay Area from Utah and scour San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, El Cerrito, Hayward, San Mateo, Carmel/Monterey, Santa Cruz and dig for Reggae Vinyl.

If I couldn’t couch surf with a relative for ten days, I would stay at the Travelodge across the street from the San Francisco Tower Records within walking distance of North Beach, Chinatown and the Bay.

This looks a lot like my living room at the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives World HQ

I would make a special trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to shop at the excellent roots music store: Village Music in Mill Valley. I found some really rare Reggae 45’s and the first five years of The Beat*magazine there once. Once you get a nice cache, it’s worth the drive and I will make the time to dig in the crates. Village Music was my favorite Bay Area store on my circuit. I was really bummed when I read they went out of business in 2007.

*The primary Reggae and World music magazine published in the US. I wrote Mutant Dub reviews for them for about 5 years. They didn’t survive the digital era either when ad revenue dried up as Reggae labels went out of business.

Village Music; Mill Valley, Collie-fornya: casualty of the digital era.

On the return drive, I would hit Auburn Collie-fornya (the old state capitol; home of Cherry Records), Sacramento vicinity and Reno. I have even stopped and perused the Yellow Pages in Winnemucca and Elko Nevada looking for a little record shack.

The good times came to an end. Ebay and Amazon dried up the source records for inventory as collectors could piece out their rarities for top coin, one title at a time.

Chain stores like Mall Wart, Beast Buy and Circus Shitty stocked a boring, narrow selection of titles. They would purposely  undercut the sales markup as a loss leader to get you in to buy a toaster or computer. The indie stores couldn’t buy on that volume to get the wholesale price break much less afford to sell titles for less than cost.

With digital preferences, iTunes legit, tube sites and outright online theft, the other shoe dropped on the physical record (and video) stores and more than 3000 have gone out of business in the past decade. The biggest of them being Tower Records, Virgin Records and HMV. Brutal.

It’s really depressing for a professional cratedigger like me when I pull into a town and see my familiar haunt closed or replaced by some sort of Dollar Store or Title Loan company.

RIP: Columbus and Bay location; San Francisco. Spent thousands of dollars here over a decade of shopping

So please do some cratedigging so your pal Robert has a place to find new artifacts for ‘rinsing out’ on Smile Jamaica.

Thanks for listening to these Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive streams and, by all means, puff, puff pass the links to anyone you think might like the cool breeze of musical rotation inna Irie meditation at 33 and 1/3 and 45 RPMs! Vinyl snack crackle and pop is real. Digital is just a figment of your reality.

Playlist below the Mixcloud embed

bless, robt

  • Dillinger – Reggae Beat; Badder Than Then (A & M) ’81 US; All Vinyl Show
  • UB40 – Present Arms in Dub; Present Arms in Dub (DEP) ’81; Dub Album of the Week
  • Chalawa – Jah Collie Weed; Capture Land (Green Weenie) ’78 Jah-tario, Canada; 420 Seven Leaf Set
  • Crucial Bee – Cocaine; Just a Sting (All Starr) US Virgin Islands
  • Tinga Stewart – Give Me a Puff; Key to Your Heart (Calabash) ’83 Florida
  • Toyan – Chalice; Toyan (Channel One) ’82 JA
  • Sugar Minott – International Herb; 12” (Hammah) ‘83***End of Set 1
Jah-ntario, Canada. Green Weenie label
  • Sophia George – Girlie, Girlie; Fresh (Winner) ’86 JA; version galore (1)
  • Charlie Chaplin – Boyie, Boyie; 12” (Winner)’85 JA; version galore (2)
  • Barry Brown – Come On Natty Roots Man; Stand Firm (Justice) ‘78 JA
  • Natural Roots – Influence; Natural Roots (Only Roots) ’84 FR***End of Set 2
A huge hit Year 1 Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives (circa 1988)
  • Casselberry – DuPree’ – Positive Vibrations; City Down (Iceberg) Jah-waukee, Wisconsin; ’86 female folk duo on Marley
  • Peter Ranking & General Lucky – Farmer; Jah Stand Over Me (Razor Sound) ’82 JA
  • ***Interview with NRG Rising; Maori reggae family out of New Zealand
  • NRG Rising – Journey; From Darkness to Light***End of Set 3
NRG Rising – New Zealand Maori Reggae mother and dawtas
  • Mikey Dread – Heavyweight Style; 10” (Dread at the Controls) ’82 UK
  • Sena – Natural Woman + Strictly Woman; Juvenile Delinquent (Clappers) ’81 Brooklyn***End of Set 4
Aston Barrett - Juvenile Delinquent  -=[ Vinyl   [Front]
Familyman Barrett produces sublime female roots singers
  • Cornell Campbell – No Mans (sic) Land; Yes I Will (Micron) ’79 Can.; Up Park Camp riddim
  • Jah Glen – Save Our Nation; 10” (South East Music) UK Lambsbread riddim
  • Eclipse Band – Corrupted Society; Inner Reggae Rhythm (Only Roots) ’78 FR
  • Lillian Allen – Conditions Critical; Conditions Critical (Redwood) ’87 Emeryville, Collie-fornya; Canadian dub poet***End of Set 5
Canadian female dub poet. From Year 1 Smile Jamaica (circa 1988)
  • Sister Carol – Black Woman; Liberation For Africa (Serious Gold) ’83 NYC
  • Enforcer – Bad Boy; 10” (Narrows) ‘80
  • Roots Uprising – No Doney (Get High); Beautiful Music (Top Ranking) ’81 FL***End of Set 6
Paid $50 for this record in Washington DC ’98. Worth every penny!
  • Solo Banton – Chalice Haffe Blaze; 10” (Reality Shock) 2011 UK mutant dub herb tune
  • Idred Natura & Seventh Sense – Sip a Cup; 12” (Jah Works) 2007 mutant dub herb tune***End of Set 7
Smile Jamaica’s Holy Trinity: Mutant dub, Vinyl, herb tunes
  • Singers & Players feat. Brent Dowe – These Eyes; Vacuum Pumping (ON U Sound) ’88; Melodians singer on The Guess Who tune; mutant dub vinyl set
  • Basement 5 – Immigration; 1965-1980 (Island) ’80 UK; members went out to Big Audio Dynamite
  • Bim Sherman & Lion Youth – Happiness; Hits From the House of Shaka (Jah Shaka) UK ‘85
  • New Age Steppers feat. Ari Up – Some Love; Foundation Steppers (ON U Sound) UK ’83; feat lead singer of The Slits
Smile Jamaica’s vision of The Afterlife


Some content on this page was disabled on January 16, 2018 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Frank Gossner. You can learn more about the DMCA here: