Another unheard & never aired since its original broadcast newly mastered digitized edition of Midnight Dread. Rita Marley’s hot new Tuff Gong album Who Feels It Knows It has just been issued from which both “The Beauty of God’s Plan” & “Jah Jah Don’t Want” get played in this program. Also hear Karen Jahlight, “Rasta Reggae” DJ from Santa Barbara California’s KTYD, interviewed just after midnight, representing the growing US radio scene. NYC-based Lloyd ‘Bullwackie’ Barnes’ Nature’s Dub title track gets a 12am rave-up inna Midnight dread-bit laden what-a-hit fashion:
So many classics premiere in this program including Trinity’s spine-tingling news report via vinyl on the recent Eventide invalid Home arson fire with an horrific dub, plus Scientist “Saved By The Bell”, and a fresh foot long remix of Pablo Moses:
Burning Spear lights up live with “The Sun” from his concert at The Coconut Grove in Santa Cruz from a couple nights earlier this same week. The Black Eagles new single via Tuff Gong singes the airwaves with the sound of the hills:
Near the top of the show Joe Higgs, Jimmy Cliff & The Jamaican Experience new single spins, back to back vocal & version sides, reggae at its heights. Country man. City sight, seen:
1979. Black Uhuru, now a trio featuring Michael Rose, Duckie Simpson, and Errol Wilson, recorded “Rent Man” and “Wood For My Fire” for Dennis Brown’s DEB label in 1980. These sessions were Michael’s very first with Uhuru. An album with DEB was planned but never recorded. The trio instead emerged with the “Observe Life” single and the Sinsemilla album, their Island/Mango debut, in July 1980. The B-side version of “Rent Man” features melodica throughout the track. The single had several different versions depending on which 7″ you purchased. It has been long-rumored that it is Augustus Pablo playing melodica on the track, however, I find this highly unlikely. It is most likely a member of the DEB Music Players on melodica here.
Junior Delgado is a relative unknown when he signs to the DEB label in 1975. His first single for the label, the Earl “Chinna” Smith-produced “Tition” made him a household name in Jamaica. He recorded this Heptones cover in 1977.
Here is Dennis Brown’s “Want To Be No General” 7″ with an absolutely murderous version. Do not miss the version! Released on the DEB Music label in 1980.
Since we included the only two tunes that Black Uhuru ever published for Dennis Brown, here is a great piece on the trio which was featured in Roots Magazine 1981.
Fresh from two weeks of filming Lee Perry for Island Records and in San Francisco scouting possible locations for his ‘political satire’ modern western “Dread At The Control” with mini-cabs instead of horses, foundational 1970s music filmmaker Don Letts visits Midnight Dread to reason on his films & the UK scene. Don was the original legendary DJ around 1977 at London’s Roxy Club where he shot Super 8mm films of many acts some of which became fodder for his widely distributed “The Punk Rock Movie” followed by “Rankin” featuring reggae-fied artists. The last two years Letts upgraded to 16mm as he worked closely with The Clash producing both their “London Calling” and “Bank Robber” promotional videos as well as documenting their White Riot Tour with The Slits, a fantastic female rock reggae group Don managed & engineered. Don mentioned his JA father’s UK sound system as instrumental in his love for Jamaican music. Letts plays several pre-release tracks off an advanced cassette he brought over from England including the first ever play of General Echo. The conversation moves on to many other English music movies and when asked about the plethora of UK reggae groups selects Aswad as the one currently “carrying the swing”:
Midnight Dread’s first show at the start of its second year on air begins with its first airing of the amazing dub side of Stevie Wonder’s “Masterblaster (Jammin’)”, his Hotter Than July 45 which has just broken into the US Top Ten singles charts this week. It’s followed by Bob Marley’s “Jammin” foreshadowing the hoped for shortly upcoming Wonder/Marley tour finales. An ad for “Rude Boy” the Michael White movie on The Clash airs during one voice break. Bunny Wailer’s new 45 “Cease Fire” gets all skippy from the shrapnel in the air. Don Letts also refers to recent shoots he did for Black Uhuru for a 90 minute film centered around their recent concert in Jamaica at Zinc Fence and their life there as well as an hour on Toots & The Maytals. He also reveals that Creation Rebel’s Starship Africa lp is not an actual soundtrack as it says on its cover but merely wild sounds looking for the capital to make a movie around. A finished film called Babylon stars Brinsley Forde from Aswad while showcasing about their best instrumental ever, the flim’s fiery “Warrior Charge” featuring heavy horns men Tromie & Bami:
33 years ahead sounds from sun up to sundown as Midnight Dread plays Desmond in the marketplace along with enough rock steady and one of the last great tracks ever recorded at Lee Perry’s Black Ark Washington Garden studios in Jamaica possibly portending its coming demise, the haunting cry of the perpetrated “Who Killed The Chicken”, final cow moans and all. Life goes on with life savers from John, Paul, George & Ringo as Desmond puts on his pretty face with an all-time “More We Live” medley others chime in with “That’s Life” & its toast “Facts Of Life” before Bob Andy attacks “Life” with vital vigor “so if we never use the brain, then only carcass would remain” amidst some of reggae’s most profound lyrics ever. Toots shines all kinda light with sun, moon, & star beams a plenty into Burning Spear callin’ on you whenever “The Sun” goes down. A chilling classic “Speak The Truth” cauterizes the wounds by combining the amazing talents of Ranking Reuben with the Daughters of Negus & The Sons of Jah. A quick sidetrack into the rock news of the day includes more examples of the genre’s decline & decadence just as John Lennon returns from years of governmental repression disguised as domesticity while Patty Hearst goes Surf Punks with Jack Nicholson & Mick Jagger, all potential ‘Best Dressed Chickens In Town’ inna Jollywood Babylon.
Then it’s rockin’ steady judgment with The Defenders setting them free along with some skinhead stompin’ and what smells like “Teenage Ska” with Baba Brooks & band. Nicky Thomas live from a Trojan Reggae Party does an especially scorchin’ version at the stroke of 12 am of Wilson Pickett’s “Midnight Hour” joined with Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” slippin’ into rockin’ it with I and I on the trains that come, choo choo steady, and then climb their way to Montreal’s World Exposition in 1967. All aboard. Your ticket to ride is powerfully pre-punched!
Triumphantly back on the air 2 weeks after gloom hung over the last program Midnight Dread soldiers on, invigorated by an earlier time slot and a seemingly never ending supply of crucial new roots music plus fresh wrapped dub, ska & rock steady. Midnight is now the actual center of the show and therefore takes on an even dreader than dread position. Mikey Dread has just issued his masterpiece World War III which gets plenty play for decades and kingdom come. Still steamin’ Bob Marley’s Uprising “Could You Be Loved’ gets its first ever MD spin, Desmond Dekker gets Rumored, a Prince gets natural wild radio mixin’, I Roy goes with his given name Roy Reid, Big Youth deeply ruminates on New York City, USA, UK & beyond, & Light Of Saba create perfection with “Words Of Wisdom”. “Israel Stylee” off Mikey Dread’s World War III booms atomic sound barriers in warning of musical attack:
Strictly Rockers, Crisp Like Crackers, In California, In Mississippi, In Canada, Scat & Spread out all over the world: