For those of you who are regular followers of the MIDNIGHT RAVER BLOG, odds are you are going to get your fill of early Junior Reid. Well it’s no secret that I am a Black Uhuru devotee. But let’s be honest. In terms of vocal ability, live performance, sound system battling, and the ability to ride a hard-diving beat seamlessly, very few could match Junior Reid in his prime. Barrington Levy comes to mind. Maybe Tappa Zukie. Michael Rose.
One thing is fi sure: Waterhouse Pen in West Kingtson, is not hurting for talented reggae musicians. Here is one of my favorite examples of Junior’s talent. Rhyming over Prince Jammy’s “Higgler” riddim. Interesting but useless fact, the “Higgler” riddim was created by Jammy’s just for Junior Reid and it has been used only for one other tune since 1983: 2007′s “Love of Rasta” by Natural Black. I have ass tons of nuggets like that floating around. A product of spending my formative years in my bedroom reading liner notes and Reggae Report…
Big up every time to Roger Steffens who shared with me an interview with Junior Reid by Chuck Foster that was published in THE BEAT.
1. “Higgler Move”
2. “Higgler Dub”
Prince Jammy’s killer dub track to Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic” which is included on the landmark dub album to Black Uhuru’s ‘Love Crisis’ – Jammies In A Lion Dub Style (1977).
And with those words, the ‘Waterhouse assassin’ Junior Reid staked his claim as the ‘Original Foreign Mind.’ Perhaps the greatest storyteller to ever emerge from the notorious West Kingston ghetto, Reid transcended the high bar set by fellow Waterhouse legends like Don Carlos, Michael Palmer, and Sugar Minott, setting a new standard for songwriting and singing. In 1985, after releasing several successful singles for Sugar Minott, Junior Reid ushers in a new era for Waterhouse reggae singers with the release of Boom Shacka Lack with Jammys and Original Foreign Mind with Sugar Minott. His partnership with Jammy’s would produce a string of electrically charged singles that will place Junior Reid on top of the charts in both Jamaica and the UK, eventually leading to Duckie Simpson recruiting him as lead singer for Black Uhuru upon Michael Rose’s departure.
“Row Your Boat” is vintage Junior Reid. The tune is as a hard-driving and heavy anthem which describes the poverty faced by many in his neighborhood, and across the island. As you can hear, backed by the Hi-Times Band, Reid rides a hard-driving Jammy’s riddim like no one before or after…
So I’ve been listening to a lot of Hugh Mundell lately and it pains me to think what could have been of this great talent. All the great inspiration we are missing out on over what? Why do they take the good and leave the bad? Answers to these questions can be found only in the “Book of Life” (another genius Mundell tune).
This is the rarest of the rare. Junior Reid and Hugh Mundell live at Junjo Lawes’ Volcano 1983. Killer vibes…