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:
Domestic bliss on board. I-tal forever puts Painesville, Ohio on the reggae map with their premium debut, the majestic & soaring “Rockers” contained herein. Burning Spear is about to make his west coast debut in San Francisco so 33 years ahead Midnight Dread drops the foot long forty five of his masterwork “Civilized Reggae” to spark the show brightly. The Mexicano gets the dready Eddy Grant treatment in his “Trial By Television” 12″ while Channel One Bunny Control King Tubby. Scarce selections from Black Slate, Johnny Osbourne, Roland Al, The Specials, Wailing Souls round out the curation. Largely unheard ever since its original dreadcast here’s its online resurrection, freshly digitized & mastered. Another outstanding conscious time capsule live & positive from a few weeks before a crucial Jamaican election set for Oct. 30th 1980 & the Carter/Reagan showdown a week later stateside. Bob Marley, still alive, sings “Real Situation” and exclaims “Bye bye” just before it fades. Stevie Wonder’s “Masterblaster Dub” 12″ gets a Midnight Dread mashup at midnight. Reggae music from the US heartland is joined by M. Al Azeem leading Session in Oakland CA backed by Sly Dunbar in a fiery track “Tell Me” from their initial album just out that month:
Nor Cal legends Phone Bill appear in this 33 years ahead complete Midnight Dread program and play twelve top ranking/scorching and scarce live tracks, including three when they backed The Mighty Diamonds in their local debut June 5th 1980 at the Coconut Grove in Santa Cruz. The bulk of the Phone Bill selections are from an amazing live show in Monterey, California August 2nd 1980 when they presented their massive ‘review style’ production in full flower. Two of Phone Bill’s principals, leader Kuumba Rhymer from Ghana and yardie vocalist John Cornelius (aka Raskidu or Ras Kiddus) are interviewed and speak on the history of roots reggae & Jamaican musicians living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s. Highlighted are a mighty version of Bob Marley’s “Happiness (Hurting Inside)” and “Battles Never Done” both featuring the top flight vocals of ‘Phone Bill’s Daughters’. The week’s Reggae Calendar includes a double bill of Burning Spear & The Titans live at The Old Waldorf in San Francisco, The English Beat & Talking Heads at Zellerbach Auditorium across the bay on the campus at UC Berkeley and elsewhere, as well as Earl Zero’s ‘final repeat command performance’ at Berkeley Square (with KTIM DJs Doug Wendt and David Bassin) before Z leaves on tour. M Al’s reggae sound studio in Oakland unveils their first album, Session’s SEE UP AZEEM at the end of the show. Hear these and many more outstanding ripples of reggaemylitis infecting the bay music scene. Here’s a 1985 photo taken in Japan of The Mighty Diamonds (Tabby, Bunny, & Judge) with their manager Turk Arsenault of Strictly Rockers International, who was determined to break the group world-wide:
Ras Kiddus (above) does some spontaneous voice-overs on a couple tracks. Other members of his then backing group Phone Bill besides founder Kuumba include Tanya Cotton, Kim, Brett & Bruce Harmon, Larry Batiste, Clay Tovan, Ihinza, Del on git, Chris on trumpet and Maxi Bowman on keyboards. Joe Higgs also gets a couple plays as he’s scheduled to appear with Phone Bill the next month. Behind the scenes Midnight Dread and others are reeling from the news parlayed by Roger Steffens that week that Bob Marley has taken ill and may only have days to live so “Redemption Song” is played in hopes such rumors prove false. There is some problem with the KTIM MD 120 minute aircheck master as the studio cassette recorder gets all jiggy on part of side one with some spooky slip slackin’ random take-up distortion on a couple tracks (intermittent mainly between the 30 and 44 minute or so marks) that kinds of adds to the approaching October pre-Halloween flavor. Don Weir’s Music City has a weird ad mentioning Iran’s Ayatollah reminding us of the looming Reagan/Carter Presidential election just weeks away. Here’s a couple very rare Bay Area posters from the era including an African-American produced ‘Olufunmi Presents’ poster illustrating the strong 1980 live show connection between punk and reggae in a series of legendary presentations at the American Indian Center in San Francisco:
plus this historic flyer for Phone Bill’s ground-breaking appearance at S.F.’s Mission High School which really forwarded the reggae vibe to the teenage youth of the day:
33 Years ahead Midnight Dread uncorks another scorchin’ set of chunes with this education through music around the reggae world in 80 minutes segment from late September 1980. Mention is made of Bob Marley still being expected to be out on tour with Stevie Wonder in a coupla weeks as news of Skip’s sudden debilitating illness remains fairly well hidden. From Scotty’s “Sesame Street” to Petah’s “You Can’t Blame The Youth”, The Mighty Diamonds “No Opportunity For The Youth”, & Jimmy Riley’s fierce “Tell The Youths The Truth” backbeat sounds take no prisoners only lovers. The Heptones are on the “Road Of Life” with Bob Marley providing “Work” as Desmond Dekker joins in a well charged “Workout” with The Pioneers. Along the way Bunny Wailer serves up his recent singed singles “Tugawar Game” & “Crucial” while I & Neville’s eye keep getting dreader than dreader:
Bim! Listen up for King Perry, Upsetters, Lyn Taitt & The Jets, a new single from Nadine Sutherland, a wicked youthful 16 year old Scientist fresh dub-out, a Living Dub from Winston Rodney the Burning Spear, Dillinger live in London in 1978 performing “Woody Woodpecker” plus The Overnight Players off their Babylon Destruction album hailing up “Toussaint L’Ouverture” arriving like an atomic blast; all adding up shots of inoculation for a very lively-upped time machine riddim parade. Gone clear without any apology.
This Burning Spear 12″ could not be more relevant. They don’t make truly authentic leaders like they used to – martyrs who were willing to give their lives for the cause. Men like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela. Today, we have lightweights like Barak Obama, Al Sharpton, George W. Bush…the list of ineffectual phonies is endless.