While Freddie McGregor is most widely known for his lovers rock albums produced by Doctor Dread for RAS Records, he started his career singing deep roots & culture heavily steeped in the tenets of Rastafari. In fact, he is a foundation roots reggae artist who’s albums Bobby Babylon (Studio One) and Mr. McGregor (Observer) are as heavy as they come.
If you have never heard Freddie McGregor’s early roots material, CLICK HERE.
My favorite Freddie tune is a timeless treasure called “Jogging” which was released as a 7″ single in 1980 on the 56 Hope Road label. This tune was recorded at Tuff Gong and features backing vocals by the I-Three. The tune was co-written by Freddie’s then-girlfriend Judy Mowatt who came up with the idea while the two were doing their regular morning jogs on the beach. In a recent interview with Sir David Rodigan, Freddie recalled recording the track at Tuff Gong and consulting with Bob Marley on the vocals and arrangement. According to Freddie, Bob absolutely loved the track.
Here are two vintage press articles from New Musical Express that talk about the single. To read, right-click and save.
Included here is the Melody Makers very first single titled “Trodding.” Written by Bob Marley, produced by Rita Marley, and engineered by the great Errol Brown at Tuff Gong, the single was released on the Tuff Gong imprint circa 1985/86. The 7″ record is contained in a picture sleeve, which is displayed below.
Here is a neat little LP that was released by Tuff Gong some years back. It features Neville Willoughby’s interviews with Bob in 1973/78 backed with some of Bob’s finest songs. I shared this interview several months ago HERE, however this is a high quality vinyl transfer directly from my LP. It’s a great and informative listen.
Confrontation released posthumously in May 1983, two years after Marley’s death. The songs on this album were compiled from unreleased material and singles recorded during Marley’s lifetime. Many of the tracks were built up from demos, most notably “Jump Nyabinghi” where vocals from the I-Threes were added to the track, which was released on a dubplate in 1979. While the original harmony vocals for “Blackman Redemption” and “Rastaman Live Up” were performed by the Meditations on the original singles, they are replaced by harmony vocals by I-Three in order to maintain a consistent sound throughout the album. The most famous track on the album is “Buffalo Soldier,” a terribly overhyped and overplayed tune written about black soldiers fighting white wars.
It was Marley’s wish that “I Know” be released as a single after his death, and that is what you have here. “I Know,” pressed to a Tuff Gong 12″ is different from any other track on the album in that it is basically a funk tune featuring Tyrone Downie at his very best on keys. In my opinion, it is the only glimmer of light on an otherwise miserable experiment. It is my opinion that Confrontation should never have been released as a Bob Marley and the Wailers album. It is a horribly uninspired end to an otherwise impossibly brilliant and unparalleled reggae discography. Uprising would have been a much better bookend to that discography.
Even if you know the song, it is still worth a listen because this 12″ extended mix is markedly different that the album version.
Inside the album sleeve is an artist’s depiction of the Battle of Adowa where Ethiopian forces defeated Italy in 1896. The cover of Confrontation is a reference to the story of St. George and the Dragon. The dragon on the cover represents Babylon, which is being slain by Bob Marley via his music. The cover was designed by the great Neville Garrick, percussionist and self-proclaimed “decorator of the music,” who is responsible for more excellent and deeply thoughtful reggae album covers than you can imagine.
The “I Know” 12″ comes in a very nicely styled picture sleeve which was lithographed by Stephensons of Jamaica. On the back cover it includes the line “Tuff Gong a de best in reggae music!”
CORRECTION: According to Tanatik of the great website www.bob-marley.es, this single was released prior to May 11, 1981 and not in 1983. Many thanks for the great info.
Our friends over at Tuff Gong Television posted this. Featuring the great Carl Gayle, Fatman Sound System, and more!