Island Head drops new video!

Check Island Head’s blistering performance of “Burnin’ & Lootin'” from their outstanding Punky Reggae Party LP.


Live Show info:
DATE: Friday July 18, 2014    
PLACE: A Place 2 Go (Jamaican Restaurant)       
273 North Ave, New Rochelle, NY         
WEBSITE LINK:   AplaceWebLink    

Phone: (914) 365-252
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2014          
PLACE:  Treme     553 Main St, Islip, NY   
WEBSITE LINK: TremeLink      

Phone: (631) 277-2008
DATE:  Thursday August 28, 2014      
PLACE: The Lackawaxen Inn    
188 Scenic Drive, Lackawaxen, PA.      
PHONE: 570-685-7061


Island Head Live at Cutting Room, NYC

Our good friend Bill Messinetti, drummer for Island Head reggae band, just sent me the following clips from their recent performance in NYC.  Their album PUNKY REGGAE PARTY made MIDNIGHT RAVER’S BEST OF 2013 due to their musicianship and jazz/reggae fusion versions of popular Bob Marley classics, each of which they play with an unparalleled passion and skill.

“I Shot The Sheriff”

“So Much Trouble In The World”

Midnight Ravers review:

Reggae Central interview:

Ten Things You Did Not Know About Sly and Robbie

MIDNIGHT RAVER is currently working on a feature about Sly and Robbie, who are responsible for five Grammy-worthy albums in 2013.  They were nominated for their album SLY AND ROBBIE & THE JAM MASTERS NEW LEGEND.  However, I feel that the albums BITTY MCLEAN:  THE TAXI SESSIONS and STEPPER TAKES THE TAXI are two of the better albums I’ve heard in several years.  I have placed links to purchase these albums in the sidebar.

As part of this planned multi-media feature, Dermot Hussey will interview Sly Dunbar and I have interviewed Robbie Shakespeare, Guillaume “Stepper” Briard, and my friend and producer Guillaume Bougard.  We are attempting to get Bitty McLean as well.  I’m shooting for this feature to be the very first post of 2014!

So here are ten things you might not know about the ‘RIDDIM TWINS:’

1.  Sly Dunbar’s earliest influence as a drummer was Skatalites drummer Lloyd Knibb.
2.  Sly Dunbar received his first drum kit while working for the Tit Tat Club’s House Band Skin, Flesh and Bones.
3.  The first song Sly did was at 15 years old; a song called “Night Doctor” for Ansel Collins. It came out as ‘The Upsetters,’ but it was really produced by Anthony Collins. The second song he did was a million-plus seller, Dave and Ansel Collins’ “Double Barrell.”
4.  These “Rhythm Killers” first met when Sly was 20 and Robbie was 19.  Sly was playing at the Tit Tat Club and Robbie at Evil People.  Both clubs were walking distance apart on Red Hills Road in Kingston.
5.  Their first collaboration was under the name “The Aggrovators.”  They later formed the riddim section of Channel One’s session group “The Revolutionaries.”
6.  Their first hit single as a duo was “Soon Forward.”  With the riddim laid down, the duo asked a friend named Gregory Isaacs to come to the studio and sing over it.  The tune was a keeper, spending eight weeks on top of the JA music charts.
7.  Sly Dunbar played drums on Bob Marley’s “Punky Reggae Party” which was produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry.  He also played drums on Junior Murvins “Police and Thieves.”
8.  Sly & Robbie crafted the grooves on Black Uhuru’s 1984 album titled ANTHEM.  The album was the first reggae album ever to win a Grammy.
9.  As Black Uhuru, they were nominated for the Grammy once again in 1986 for the Jim Fox-engineered BRUTAL DUB, however, the Grammy committee snatched away the nomination when they learned that dub was a music without lyrics!
10.  The Sly & Robbie “sound” first gelled on the Mighty Diamonds RIGHT TIME album.  The album was so successful that it opened many doors for the duo, now a verifiable riddim section.

Photo: Lee Jaffe
Photo: Lee Jaffe

The Friday Riff w/ Dermot Hussey, August 2, 2013


THE FRIDAY RIFF 8/2, 7 pm EST:  MAJOR LAZER’S Production “flash” and dub step, JAH NO PARTIAL.  Lee Perry, the producer of Bob Marley’s PUNKY REGGAE PARTY, features in THE REMIXED VERSION. Meta and Damian Marley ‘ ‘BELOVED AFRICA’.  The great Harmony Group, THE MELODIANS  with a brand new album.

Produced and Presented by Dermot Hussey



Babylon By Bus

Babylon by Bus is probably the most well-known and influential live reggae album.  Unlike Kaya, ‘Babylon By Bus’ is aggressive – very aggressive, in fact.  The tunes are played with a passion, fervor, and speed that reminds me of The Wailers earlier performances at Sundown, Edmonton and Leeds Polytechnic.  On “Punky Reggae Party” Tyrone Downie goes progressive funk, expertly placing the percussive clavinet notes so that they vibe perfectly with Family Man’s bassline to create a sound and vibe that is more Parliament/Funkadelic than Bob Marley and the Wailers.

I believe “Punky Reggae Party” was recorded live in Paris, France, 1977.

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Amazing album, especially if you are new to Bob Marley and the Wailers.  Here is the original poster album insert, which I still have in near mint condition.


Island Head’s ‘Punky Reggae Party’ still raging

So I just finished listening to the new Island Head album called ‘Punky Reggae Party.’  They were recently interviewed on Dermot’s show and I had to give them a listen.  Many thanks to Billy Messinetti of Island Head for getting me a copy of the album “with the quickness.”
The album “Punky Reggae Party” by Island Head is composed primarily of Bob Marley compositions. It is fundamentally reggae but, it is all instrumental with a unique approach. The melodies are shared by trumpet, sax, guitar and keyboard.
The first thing that struck me when I looked at the track listing was that they included some heavy Bob Marley and the Wailers tunes.  You expect to see a “One Love” or “Three Little Birds” when a band seeks to cover Marley songs.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they selected some of my favorite Marley tunes like “So Much Trouble In The World,” “Wake Up and Live,” “Punky Reggae Party,” and “Burnin’ and Lootin.'”  This should be interesting…Covering Marley is a daunting task.  No, let me rephrase that.  For seasoned musicians, covering Marley may not be that hard, however, pulling it off is a wholedifferent story.  These songs carry a heavy vibe.  A vibe that each of us has carried with us for many years.  It is therefore very difficult to pull off playing these songs and having them sound, and feel, authentic.
The next thing that catches the eye is the names of the I sland Head musicians.  The two guitarists are legendary reggae players – Andy Bassford (Toots & The Maytals) and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung (Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru). Neil Jason (bass) was in John Lennon’s band and David Frank (keys) played on many hits such as “Sussudio” and “Higher Love”. Tim Cappello (sax) is famous from his years with Tina Turner and Don Harris (trumpet) played with the Allman Brothers, Tower of Power and Nile Rodgers & Chic.
According to Billy Messinetti percussionist “a passion for reggae and love for musicians interacting and jamming are why Island Head was created. The album was recorded live and allows the musicians a chance to step out, yet it is very listenable. It was mixed by Grammy award winning engineer/producer Dave O’Donnell at Germano Studios, NYC.”
I can tell you this.  These musicians can play.  They not only know the songs inside and out, they feel this music.  The authenticity of this album bled right through my Sennheisers, into my ears, and I felt these songs through and through.  This is no Delixx take on Marley.  It is different.  It has a jazzy vibe to it.  However, the strength of the songs, the talent of these musicians, and the organic connection they share with eachother, keeps this album standing strong inna Babylon!
“So Much Trouble in the World” is currently in regular rotation on SiriusXM The Joint. Pat McKay, program director said;
“Island Head is an important project to reggae. It’s always great to have substantive, high art. This work contributes to reggae’s growth. Reminds others of what it really is and what is still possible. I feel so especially blessed to share this brilliant work with our audience.”
The entire album has been featured in Jamaica on the show ‘Riffin’ by our good friend and legendary radio host Dermot Hussey and on a Philadelphia radio show “Sounds of the Caribbean.”


iTunes link:
CD Baby:





The Wailers Play Plaza De Toros, Ibiza, June 28, 1978


JUNE 28, 1978. The old bullring of Ibiza was rammed to the rafters with people coming to dance to the reggae beats of Bob Marley & The Wailers.  Today, 34 years later, there are still many Ibicencos who remember the sight of Marley’s dreadlocks shaking around on stage and dancing to the sound of a music that welcomed them to party. Three decades on the bullring has been demolished and, in its place, a parking lot and small square have recently been built. Now the neighbours of the Es Pratet area want to name the square after Bob Marley, in honour of the legendary concert. For them, it was the most relevant event that took place there in all those years.

“I was there and I remember being amazed by the amount of people that gathered there, the vibe, the music that I didn’t know,” says Carmen Cárcel, president of the Es Pratet Neighbour Association who was just 15 years old when Marley played in Ibiza.

 “I will never forget that moment. We felt blessed to be there.”

Today, Cárcel is one of the promoters of the initiative to name the square after the singer.

“We had to fight hard to get the old structures demolished – the place was in a real state of disrepair. We have finally gotten the authorities to clean it up, which has meant a great improve-ment for the area.”

In the last few years the area had become a dusty plot that operated as an improvised parking lot and was also occupied by the homeless.

“We have proposed to the town hall to name the square after Bob Marley, and they think it is a great idea. We are very excited. We still love reggae – it is always played at our street festivals.”

Bob Marley has also recently been one of the main protagonists of an itinerant exhibition in Formentera by Francesc Fàbregas, a photographer who has followed great rock stars over the years. Fàbregas is also responsible for the iconic photograph of the great Jamaican singer exiting Ibiza airport, an image that has been reproduced around the world.

If anyone is aware of an audio recording without the station I.D.s, please let me know!

Bob Marley and the Wailers
Live at Plaza De Toros
Ibiza, Spain
June 28, 1978

1. “Positive Vibration”
   2. “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)”
   3. “Concrete Jungle”
   4. “Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Roadblock)”
   5. “War” -> “No More Trouble”
   6. “Running Away” -> “Crazy Baldhead”
   7. “Crisis”
   8. “I Shot The Sheriff”
   9. “No Woman, No Cry”
  10. “Is This Love?”
  11. “Jammin'”
  12. “Get Up, Stand Up”
  13. “Exodus” -> “Punky Reggae Party”


Extremely rare video footage of Bob Marley and the Wailers performing “Is This Love” and “No Woman, No Cry” in Ibiza, Spain.

More rare video footage from Ibiza, Spain 1978.  Includes interview with Bob Marley.


Bob Marley and the Wailers: County Showground, Staffordshire, London

There is very little information available regarding Bob Marley and the Wailers’ performance at County Showground, Staffordshire, London on June 22, 1978.  The show was originally slated to be held at Bingley Hall in Staffordshire, however based on the accounts given by several people who attended the show, it was actually held at the County Showground.

I have compiled what is, in my opinion, the most comprehensive profile of the show on the web.  I have included a concert review by Penny Reel, published in NME on July 1, 1978.  I have also included a detailed profile of the show wriiten by British DJ Chris Poppin and originally published at

The show is announced in the April 29, 1978 issue of the Melody Maker as “the only UK show” on the Kaya tour.

Melody Maker April 29, 1978

There exists an audio file which circulates as New Bingley Hall, Staffordshire.  The problem with the recording is that it may actually contain audio from a different performance altogether.  It is my understanding that the Staffordshire show has been mislabeled for years, and traders are not fully confident that the audio is representative of the show.  I have therefore decided not to include it as one of the goals of this blog is to present historically and factually accurate information and labeled media.

Bob Marley: Bingley Hall, Stafford

By Penny Reel, NME, 1 July 1978

BETWEEN I AND I, a writer’s relationship with his reader is a balance of equal power: the former dictates terms, but only at the latter’s discretion – where a page may be turned at any moment’s whim.

In the presentation of this particular review, I might abuse this premise with inclusion of any number of irrelevancies. I could, for instance, recount that the three coaches detailed for the record company’s guests – press, photographers, and EMI reps – departed Island’s St. Peter’s Square HQ at 5.30 pm and, due to the consistencies of the rush hour traffic, had crawled no further north than Watford some two long hours on.

To which would be added that only two of these arrived at their destination; the third, the one carrying the hapless EMI reps, disgruntedly gave up the ghost.

And furthermore, those two that completed the journey only made it at the expense of Steel Pulse’s 40 minute set – leaving one cynical observer to remark that Island were, perhaps, releasing the Brum Klanners from their contract (No we’re not – Island Records) – and midway through Marley’s own stage act.

Less than an hour later, it would be added, the same pair of charabancs were heading back to the capital for the small hours disembarcation of their respective passengers.

By way of further embellishment and finer detail, a summary description would be given of the more rowdy jounalistic element in concerted lament of King Sounds’ ‘Spend One Night In A Babylon (And You’ll See What I See)’ by way of comment on the travelling arrangements – although, it must be confessed, the exact relationship twixt this honourable record company and the harlot of the Ancients was never made fully clear, at least not to the understanding of this reporter.

Neither forgetting to mention the want, nay need, of one particular scribe on a rival music publication for such pain-relieving aid as a Phensic could reasonably administer, and the chemical consumption of same to the delight of his fellow travellers.

Nor that, on arriving at Bingley Hall, in the wasteland of a deserted countryside, we witnessed those other Babylonian ravens – the British Police – in descent on individuals of darkskinned hue for the purpose of fairly thorough and totally insulting search, curse them.

Such, I say, could quite easily form the bulk of my copy in lieu of a concert of which I saw a mere portion, but of such I will forsake exposition for the sake of my readers’ patience.

I arrived midway through Bob’s performance of ‘Heathen’, and made my way backstage for the introduction of ‘No Woman No Cry’, ‘Lively Up Yourself’, ‘Jamming, and by way of a single encore, ‘Get Up Stand Up’.

Never has a lyric been more appropriate; “You can fool some people sometime, but you can’t fool all the people all the time” and “Now you see the light stand up for your right.”

This was followed by a brief chorus or two of ‘Exodus’/’Punky Reggae Party‘ to the self absorbed posturing accompaniment of the I Three by way of extra farce, and the Natty One hopping off stage for the last time, leaving behind the voluminous cascade of applause.

And then, finally, yes me frien’ me de pan street – or rather field – again; and the depressing interminable journey back to London. Spend one night in a Babylon yard and you’ll see what I see – Positive Vibrations!

© Penny Reel, 1978

Please click HERE to read a detailed profile of the show by British DJ Chris Poppin, who attended the show.


Big thanks to the folks at and for their previous research on this show.



Jah Punk: New Wave Digs Reggae by Vivien Goldman

As a bookend to an exciting week of Marley-related posts, I leave you with one of my favorite articles by noted journalist and Wailers superfan and biographer Vivien Goldman“Jah Punk: New Wave Digs Reggae” was published in Sounds on September 3, 1977-the year of the punk.  It discusses the relationship between the Rasta and punk movements-a relationship that was first documented in song by both Bob Marley and UK poet/musician Linton Kwesi Johnson.  By 1977, the punk movement in the UK was in full effect and Marley memorialized the movement in the song Punky Reggae Party.

“Punky Reggae Party” did not appear on any studio album.  It was released as the b-side to the Jammin’ single in some countries and was later released as a live single on Babylon by Bus. Subsequently, it appeared on a number of compilations and ‘Best of’ albums as well as the Deluxe Edition of Exodus and the 2002 CD Reissue of Legend.

The song was written by Bob Marley as a positive response to the release of a cover version of Junior Murvin‘s “Police and Thieves” by English punk band The Clash, on their first LP.  Referring to the party of the title of the song, the lyrics mention several punk and reggae groups: “The Wailers will be there, The Damned, The Jam, The Clash – Maytals will be there, Dr. Feelgood too.”

The song was referred to in the Sublime song “Garden Grove” and the Robyn Hitchcock song “Antwoman.”

In addition to providing this rare article, I have included several versions of “Punky Reggae Party” and a documentary titled Exodus 1977, which chronicles this volatile year through the music of Exodus.. Enjoy!

Click here to read on Issuu.

Jah Punk: New Wave Digs Reggae
Vivien Goldman, Sounds, 3 September 1977

‘We’re gonna have a punky reggae party…the Wailers will be there, the Slits, the Feelgoods, and the Clash…’

‘Black people are being supressed and we are being supressed, we’ve got something in common’


‘It’s the first white movement that I can relate to as a black man’


‘We’re not given a chance. The record companies just pussy foot around instead of investing’


IT WAS the red, green and gold Patti Smith button that clinched it for me. I was walking in to the lumbering grey Hackney Town Hall for the Rock Against Racism gig with Generation X and the Cimarons on the same bill, and there was this regulation blue-haired punk with the abovementioned button on, and there was Dennis Morris, the Jamaican photographer, formerly reggae-pix-a-speciality, fresh from snapping Scandinavia with the Sex Pistols walking into this punky reggae party with me, and…

One of those divine flashed where all the energy line’s fuse and the outlines stand crystal clears. It goes something like this:

1. Basic premise: Jamaican music is to punk music what r’n’b music was to 60’s beat groups. The Rolling Stones cut the Valentinos’ ‘It’s All Over Now’, the Beatles cut Barrett Strong’s ‘Money’, the Clash cut Junior Murvin’s ‘Police And Thieves’, and Generation X do a reggae-style dub version of their own song ‘Listen’ on the John Peel show, guitars showering in shattered fragments on the airwaves.

2. Yet more evidence. Patti Smith bouncing around clapping her hands in excitement in her bedroom at Blakes Hotel when Lenny Kaye walks in the room to say they’ve tracked down their favourite reggae toaster Tapper Zukie and he’s gonna come and visit ’em backstage for their second night at the Hammersmith Odeon. In the event, Tapper joins them onstage and toasts along with ’em, with Don Letts, rasta DJ at the Roxy, the original punk club, helping out on drums. Later, Patti and Lenny fly Tapper out to New York to be a kind of roots consultant for their projected revival of the Mer label.

Don Letts and Bob Marley

The Clash go into the CBS studios with Lee Perry, the magical mystery Jamaican producer, whose crystalline star war productions are impossible to reproduce, and cut ‘Complete Control’.

That same week Bob Marley’s in town recovering from yet another football injury to his big toe. I walk into the room carrying a copy of the Clash album with their Westway rocka ‘Police And Thieves’ on it – remember, Lee Perry (let’s call him Scratch) not only worked with Marley but also cut the original version of ‘Police And Thieves’ with falsetto-swooping Junior Murvin.

Markey grunts, clocking the long player and my newly bleached hair. “Wha’ appen, Viveen? You turn into punk-rocka?” he teases, inference being it couldn’t be more uncouth. “You shoulda change your hair to red, green and gold!”

That’s next week, Jah B. Now, just check these sounds awhile…Marley and Scratch are both surprised. Impressed. “It good, t’raas claat!”

And the week after that I’m in a listening room at Basing Street Studios, and Bob’s voice is rolling in magical command out of the huge speakers: “We’re gonna have a party, and we hope it will be hearty, it’s a punky reggae party…the Wailers will be there, the Slits, the Feelgoods and the Clash…rejected by society, treated with impunity, protected by their dignity, it’s a punky reggae party…”

I’m not sure how many punks, in it to have fun, would recognise themselves in Marley’s typically emotion/politics charged description, but it sums up the crucial reason why punk and reggae are linked – when you get right down to it, punks and dreadlocks are on the same side of the fence.

Bluntly, who gets picked up in the street by the police? Answer: those natty dreads and crazy baldheads. Girl choruses syncopate behind Marley’s throbbing, dangerous lead vocals “new wave, new craze, Jah Punk…” Thanks for the title, Bob.

Bob Marley and Lee Perry both said it, sitting in the thick white carpeted luxury of Basing Street. “The punks are the outcasts from society. So are the rastas. So they are bound to defend what we defend,” Marley paused, flexing his arms. He’s wearing a bright blue tracksuit, and he’d just finished telling us why he wears just tracksuits and faded denims onstage. It’s because he doesn’t want to wear flash clothes that the youth will admire, envy, and feel frustrated ‘cos they can’t have.

Remember all those declarations in the early days of punk that echo his sentiments? Anti-chic, poor people’s fashions, dustbin liner chic. If you can’t afford a packet of safety-pins, you can pick ’em up in the street…

“In a way, me like see them safety-pins and t’ing,” Marley continued. “Me no like do it myself, y’understand, but me like see a man can suffer pain without crying.”