Monday, December 27, 2004

Hope for the New Year!

Greetings to All,

Another year is about to end. It has been, as always, filled with good and bad which is of course all relative. Some think the fact that George Bush was re-elected was a good thing… others think is was a sad day for our planet. Reality and what’s good and evil is a matter of perspective and opinion – everything depends on point of view. Most of us are quite sure we are RIGHT (as in correct) in our opinions and that the world would be a better place if everyone else agreed with us. But, we can probably all accept that we are not always right about everything. If we believed that the quality of life on this planet and beyond out to a zillion other planets in the Universe was at the mercy of our decisions on a day to day basis, would we take more care with how we lived each day?

If you accept that every action causes a reaction, you will know that every action you take plays a part in creating your future, the future of those around you and the rest of creation. Some of us have been given great power to affect the world with our actions. Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha and lesser know Enlightened Spirits have lived lives that inspired massive transformations in consciousness – unfortunately although most would consider their messages Good, even Godly, their messages have often been subverted to evil purposes and good people have been lead to evil deeds that they were convinced were right, they may even believe they were divinely ordained. It’s all a matter of point of view.

Possibly, in the New Year, more of us can come to realize that we are each an integral part of a world community and that anything that diminishes or harms any of us hurts us all just as every kind word or act helps us all. Possibly we can realize that killing in the name of God is always an abomination, a total corruption of the messages of all of the enlightened beings that have lived among us. Possibly we can realize that while the ends can sometimes justify the means it is a dangerous path to follow and we will be required to pay for the mistakes we make. Every action we take will cause a reaction – we will be blessed as we bless others and we will suffer harm as we harm others – and that goes for all living things and our home, this Earth. It also does not matter whether we believe we are doing right or wrong – the Universe is non-judgmental BUT, there is perfect balance. The Love you get is equal to the Love you give.

Each day you have a chance for a new beginning – each day you can make the world a better place and even your smallest actions start a chain reaction that sends ripples throughout the world. May God bless you with the wisdom and insight to be a blessing to yourself and the world around you through the year ahead and beyond. Have a wonder-filled and Joyous New Year!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Make no mistake, Sizzla ain’t no Rasta, he’s an Imposta.

Have you heard of Sizzla? With such album titles as “Words of Truth” and “Rastafari Teach I Everything” you might think some words of wisdom and a righteous message would fill his music. Unfortunately, he has shown himself to be nothing more than an unenlightened thug. Here’s an excerpt from a London newspaper:

(London) A reggae performer whose music advocates killing gays says he has nothing to apologize for, instead claiming it is gays who must beg forgiveness. "They can't ask me to apologize," Sizzla told BBC radio on Thursday. "They've got to apologize to God because they break God's law." Sizzla, whose real name is Miguel Collins, is one of the largest selling reggae artists in the UK. His hit tune Pump Up has the line “Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom (Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom)”. He has consistently refused calls for an apology and continues to perform the song.

Make no mistake, Sizzla ain’t no Rasta, he’s an imposta.

Let’s get one thing straight - this is not about whether gays are breaking God’s Law or not - it is about another loser claiming God as his authority to promote a philosophy of hate. Sizzla is no different than a turd in the KKK or some neo-nazi. God will do a perfect job at dealing out rewards and penalties for breaking his Law. Anyone espousing a philosophy of hate needs to be rejected and condemned for the false message they carry. It is a shame – Sizzla has produced some great music but now we can only be embarrassed by him and regret that his ego has led him so far from righteousness.

Let's teach compassion to the world. Let's teach understanding. Let's teach Forgiveness - we should even forgive Sizzla for his lack of conciousness but we should never let it go unchallenged.

One Love,
Ras John

Monday, November 08, 2004

A Post at

...Barbra Streisand
Posted on November 8, 2004

In response to the results of the Presidential election last week, I would like to share with you a quote from Thomas Jefferson. Although written in 1798, I feel his words speak perfectly to the strong sentiments of frustration and disappointment 48% of the country feel.

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt......If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Sad State of American Politics

Bush won. Life must go on regardless of the challenges we are forced to deal with. This state of affairs just demands that we work even harder to protect our democracy and freedom because they are under attack. And for those that believe that flying planes into buildings or blowing themselves up will do any good are the biggest fools and dupes of all. George Bush would have still gone into Iraq without 9/11 but it helped him legitimize it. Like Pearl Harbor and the sinking of the Lusitania in previous times, the attack just gave the Bush government a blank check to do exactly what they wanted to anyway – wield a big stick and build their power base. That’s not to say a strict code of non-violence is the right course of action either – unfortunately we have not evolved as a species to the point where freedom and justice can be maintained without occasionally applying force. The danger comes from the threat being used to manipulate people well beyond any rational or responsible use of power. That is where we find ourselves again. John Kerry and millions around the United States stood up to fight this threat – maybe a more dangerous threat than that posed by any terrorist – and fear has won the day. We must not give up. Love conquerors fear. We must not sink in to despair, regret and anger. We must continue to fight for justice and personal freedom because they are under attack and that attack is not from outside, it is being waged from the White House.

Monday, October 25, 2004 Sponsors Talking Computer Program to Endorse John Kerry for President

October 21, 2004 -, one of the leading music websites on the Internet and a top Reggae Music location since 1995, has taken a political stance for the first time. The organization has a history of supporting environmental action groups and relief efforts around the world but has never endorsed a political candidate. This week marks a change in that policy with the endorsement of John Kerry for President of the United States.

A front page concert photo of Bob Marley and The Wailers at Madison Square Garden has been replaced with the statement “After four years of wrong choices by the Bush administration, if you are eligible, please vote for a change: VOTE FOR JOHN KERRY” and a link to the wesite. A recent BLOG entry stated: “ has never endorsed any political candidates but a change in the status quo is essential in the U.S. - we urge you to get registered and VOTE for John Kerry for the next President of The United States. To support the cause, has sponsored a John Kerry for President Special Edition of the Cool C Interactive Speech Software™. A link to a FREE download for Windows XP users can be found on the main page of the site. Also, BE SURE TO GET OUT AND VOTE!

The free Cool C™ John Kerry for President Special Edition of Cool Conversations Interactive Talking Computer software was originally offer on c/net’s where several thousand copies were distributed. A reduced function demo version is currently available from but has sponsored release of a full version of the basic edition of the Cool C program in this special configuration. The program works in conjunction with the Microsoft Speech Engine 5.1 which is included in Windows XP. Once installed, the Cool C talking computer program allows users to have conversations with their computers – in this case, they are able to learn about many of John Kerry’s position on issue from economics to the war in Iraq simply by asking a question. The program also comes with a second database filled with trivia, jokes and historical information to broaden the computers speaking capabilities. Users are also given the ability to make their own additions to the conversation database.

A statement issued by indicated that they are sponsoring the distribution of the free John Kerry Special Edition in the hopes of attracting the interest (and votes) of individuals who have not previously been politically involved. With this unique interactive software users also get an exclusive “broadcast” delivery system. The Cool C program retrieves “broadcast” announcements taken from information distributed by organizations such as and These messages are delivered verbally by each of the computers running the Cool Conversations program. The program also includes a verbal “Reminder” system. plans on distributing a version of the program that will actually speak some Jamaican Patois along with the American English used by the Special John Kerry Edition. “This is the future… Cool Conversations has demonstrated how far speech recognition has come and is clearly setting the standard for the future” said a spokesperson. For more information, visit or

Wednesday, October 20, 2004 Endorses John Kerry for President has never endorsed any political candidates but a change in the status quo is essential in the U.S. - we urge you to get registered and VOTE for John Kerry for the next President of The United States. To support the cause, has sponsored a “John Kerry for President” Special Edition of the Cool C Interactive Speech Software. A link to a FREE download for Windows XP users can be found on the main page of the site. NOTE: If you have a version of Cool C already installed on your computer, uninstall the existing version prior to installing the John Kerry Special Edition. Also, BE SURE TO GET OUT AND VOTE ! (unless you think you might vote for George Bush - in that case, well, hopefully you will examine the facts and make the right decision)

One Love,
Reggae Road Crew

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

George Soros On The Upcoming U.S. Elections has not previously taken any partisan position, having chosen to speak to all with a message of tolerance and love. We have made the decision to alter our previous course because we believe a change in Washington is crucial. The current administration has consistently spread half truths and worse to reinforce an arrogant self-righteous commandeering of the American system of values and liberties.

Published on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 by
Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush
by George Soros

Prepared text of speech delivered September 28, 2004
National Press Club
Washington, DC,

This is the most important election of my lifetime. I have never been heavily involved in partisan politics but these are not normal times. President Bush is endangering our safety, hurting our vital interests and undermining American values. That is why I am sending you this message. I have been demonized by the Bush campaign but I hope you will give me a hearing.

President Bush ran on the platform of a "humble" foreign policy in 2000. If we re-elect him now, we endorse the Bush doctrine of preemptive action and the invasion of Iraq, and we will have to live with the consequences. As I shall try to show, we are facing a vicious circle of escalating violence with no end in sight. But if we repudiate the Bush policies at the polls, we shall have a better chance to regain the respect and support of the world and to break the vicious circle.

I grew up in Hungary, lived through fascism and the Holocaust, and then had a foretaste of communism. I learned at an early age how important it is what kind of government prevails. I chose America as my home because I value freedom and democracy, civil liberties and an open society.

When I had made more money than I needed for myself and my family, I set up a foundation to promote the values and principles of a free and open society. I started in South Africa in 1979 and established a foundation in my native country, Hungary, in 1984 when it was still under communist rule. China, Poland and the Soviet Union followed in 1987. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, I established foundations in practically all the countries of the former Soviet empire and later in other parts of the world and in the United States. These foundations today spend about 450 million dollars a year to promote democracy and open society around the world.

When George W. Bush was elected president, and particularly after September 11, I saw that the values and principles of open society needed to be defended at home. September 11 led to a suspension of the critical process so essential to a democracy - a full and fair discussion of the issues. President Bush silenced all criticism by calling it unpatriotic. When he said that "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," I heard alarm bells ringing. I am afraid that he is leading us in a very dangerous direction. We are losing the values that have made America great.

There is a lot more to be said on the subject and I have said it in my book, The Bubble of American Supremacy, now available in paperback. I hope you will read it. You can download the chapter on the Iraqi quagmire free from

If you find my arguments worth considering, please share this message with your friends.

I would welcome your comments at . I am eager to engage in a critical discussion because the stakes are so high.

The above has been shortened - please visit for more. We encourage everyone to do some fact checking and research on your own... no President is going to make everyone happy all the time and make all the right decisions but we can sure do better than we have been doing during the last 4 years.

Jah Guide and Protect!
One Love,
Ras John


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Here's a Message from a Funny Man Who Also Has A Lot of Wisdom

I could not say it better... A wonderful Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have
taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider
freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more,
but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have
bigger houses and smaller families, more
conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees
but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment,
more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but
less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too
recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get
too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read
too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our
values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate
too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We've added years to life not life to years. We've
been all the way to the moon and back, but have
trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've
done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We
write more, but learn less. We plan more, but
accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to
wait. We build more computers to hold more
information, to produce more copies than ever, but
we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow
digestion, big men and small character, steep
profits and shallow relationships. These are the
days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier
houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick
trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one
night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do
everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a
time when there is much in the showroom window and
nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can
bring this letter to you, and a time when you can
choose either to share this insight, or to just hit

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones,
because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to
you in awe, because that little person soon will
grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you,
because that is the only treasure you can give with
your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and
your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and
an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep
inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for
someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak,! and give time
to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we
take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

If you don't send this to at least 8 people....

who cares?

George Carlin

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Reaching Out To Lend A Helping Hand

Struggle and the overcoming of challenges and obstacles is part of our everyday life. This is school for the Spirit and making the effort to see the beauty and goodness all around, even in the midst of trauma is vital. There is much horror in the world but it is illusion. Don’t get I wrong – it is very real but only in a limited dimension where your small self lives so don’t let your true nature, your radiant Spirit get sucked up in it.

On the totally physical plane, suffering is very real and it is the responsibility of each of us to work to ease that suffering. There are many who have recently been hit by both natural and manmade disasters. The natural disasters will always be with us and, sadly, so may the manmade ones. It is unfortunate that after all of the lessons humankind has had that people can still preach and believe in philosophies of hatred. But, let us do what we can. Storms have recently done much damage throughout the Caribbean and Florida. Pawns of hatred and fear have committed vile acts in Russia, the Sudan, Indonesia and elsewhere. Today is the anniversary of the day when sick, misguided minds crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City. Many of us have been personally affected by one or more of these events. We must stand strong against these forces by living with hope and love. We must also reach out in what ever ways we can to assist those who have suffered from these forces. Positive Prayers, sending strength and love, DO help. You can also help by contributing your support to organizations like, and Together we can ease the pain and help people survive the trauma.

The fight begins with you. Fear and hate are mind killers and they diminish your Spirit’s Power to influence the nature of people and events that you draw into your life. Each day you can fight the evils of fear and hate with your love, compassion and prayers. You can also make a stand as a Peaceful Warrior by reaching out to others with positive encouragement and good works. God has given us dominion over a beautiful world and it is our responsibility to be its caretakers, nurturing and respecting the sanctity of the environment and all living things. Let your life be an example for others to follow as best you can. Work each day to be a bright light of healing and joy to the world around you and never give in to the evils of fear and hatred.

One Love,
Ras John

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Big Up to RAS Records!

There are a few companies that specialize in Reggae Music. VP Records gets most of the attention with their long history and roots in JA but in terms of solid new releases, RAS Records is right there with them. In particular, we want to direct your attention to some recent releases from RAS.

A couple of these have been mentioned previously on the site: Reggae On The River LIVE (CD and DVD) and our current Featured Release, African Holocaust by Steel Pulse. The Reggae on the River release is about the best concert compilation you can find for Reggae Music. The performances and the production values are excellent from start to finish – you can check out the details in an earlier BLOG posting. Then Steel Pulse… these guys have been cranking out hits and great songs (not always simultaneously) for a lot of years. Along with Aswad and a few others they have been the British Reggae Ambassadors. The Ultimate Collection release that has been issued is a great collection for anyone that does not own their catalog – there are plenty of missing gems but it will give you a good start. Most of the material on the Ultimate Collection and the big hits from the band were in the 70’s – that’s not to say they have not stayed strong through the 80’s and 90’s but what a pleasure to have them deliver a disc like African Holocaust in 2004. So thank you RAS Records for backing them up and helping to get this album out – it is a winner – it could even end up a Grammy winner and we will sure be giving it our vote in next years ReggaeSoca Music Awards.

Next we have a RAS solo artist for whom we can deliver the same message: Gregory Isaacs. This is a man with years of hits – a Godfather of Reggae Music and he sure isn’t stopping now! The Ultimate Collection release for Gregory is also very good if you don’t have a lot of his music already but, do not miss Open The Door, his new release on RAS. It is Gregory at his best, a killer band backing him up and we think it’s one of the best releases he has ever had. Get it! You will not be disappointed if you are a fan of smooth voices and laid back riddums – he is a Master.

Finally, we have the Doctor Dread produced release “Is It Rolling Bob?” a Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan. Dylan is one of the all time “conscious” message artists in contemporary music. He has inspired musicians from genres and places near and far. His music and words have been a cultural force, particularly in the U.S. but like Bob Marley, his music and vision has transcended the man. On this disc, 14 top Reggae artists including Toots, Beres Hammond, Luciano, Sizzla, and J.C. Lodge have re-invented his songs with their own artistry to present a powerful tribute that is certain to please most any Reggae fan and hopefully will make some new fans for Reggae music like the two Reggae Tributes to the Grateful Dead did. All of the artists throws themselves into the material with passion and energy and RAS and Dr. Dread deliver a wonderfully produced and engineered disc to make it a vital disc. It says Volume 1 on the cover – we’ll sure be looking forward to Volumes 2 and beyond!
Big up to RAS! Keep up the Irie Vibe and Jah Bless!

For more go to

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Monterey Bay Reggaefest 2004

If you are going to be on the West Coast Labor Day Weekend, you should head over to Monterey Bay for a couple of great days of righteous Reggae Music!

A&P Productions is proud to announce the return of the Monterey Bay Reggaefest 2004! The 2-day celebration will take place on Labor Day weekend--Sunday and Monday, SEPTEMBER 5-6, 2004 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California.

This year's stellar line-up includes the hottest reggae and dancehall acts around including Beenie Man, Anthony B, Bushman, Israel Vibration, Morgan Heritage, Sister Carol, The Abyssinians, Yami Bolo, Ras Michael, Prezident Brown, and much, much more.

Look forward to over twenty performances on two stages, a deejay party and full bar (21+) in the Reggae Lounge, a play area for kids, and a Rastafari Arts & Culture Museum.

The Monterey Bay Reggaefest is in its 9th year. Hailed as one of the best reggae festivals in Northern California, the event offers activities and enjoyment for the entire family and off-site camping. Tickets are priced very low so everyone can attend: a two-day ticket is $70 in advance; a single day ticket is $40 in advance. Tickets will be sold the day of the show for $45/day. Kids under 12 are $10, and toddlers under 3 are free.

Tickets are available at
Sporting Event tickets at TicketsNow

MONTEREY: Quick Stop, 2407 Fremont Blvd.
SEASIDE: Quik Stop, 1098 Broadway Ave.
SANTA CRUZ: Streetlight Records, 939 Pacific Ave.
SAN JOSE: Streetlight Records, 980 S. Bascom Ave.

For more information, please visit

The Monterey County Fairgrounds are located at 2004 Fairground Road, ½ mile from the Casa Verde exit off of Highway 1 in Monterey. The fairgrounds are home to the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Monterey County Fair, and other large concerts and agricultural events.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Reggae On The River 2004

Tomorrow kicks off the 21st installment of Reggae On The River taking place in Northern California along the Eel River, at French's Camp in Piercy, California. That's approximately 200 miles North of San Francisco, 75 miles South of Eureka. It's an event that had humble beginnings and a positive mission of raising money for a local community center. About 1200 people made the trek out into the countryside the first year - enough to plant the seeds for what has become an internationally known annual event attracting fans and top performers from all over the world. Here's this year's line-up:

*** FRIDAY (August 6)***
Bunny Wailer, Ozomatli, Messenger Showcase featuring Luciano and special guests Dean Fraser, Mikey General and Jah Messenjah Band, Kekele, Daude, Nasio Fontaine, Quinto Sol, Leon and the Peoples, Soul Majestic w/ special guest Prince Rastan, Loco Bloco, Native American Opening Ceremony

*** SATURDAY (August 7)***
Capleton, Bounty Killer, Barrington Levy, Morgan Heritage, Mr. Vegas, Warrior King, Detour Posse, Wisdom featuring Radio Active, Thicker Than Thieves, Groundation, NPK

*** SUNDAY (August 8)***
Steel Pulse, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Midnite, Easy Star All-Stars, Crazy, 3Suns, Tanya Stephens, Bayanga, Abdel Wright, The I-Deals

It's sure to be three days filled with upful and bright music... I'd really like to catch the Easy Star All-Stars doing Dub Side of the Moon LIVE... Bunny, Morgan Heritage, Groundation and so much more!!!!

Wish you could be there? If you are going, send us a note after the show. If you can't be there, here's the good news: This past weekend I got the chance to enjoy the 20th Anniversary edition on the DVD that was just released - big screen with a great sound system - I can tell you that it is without question the best Reggae Festival video ever released. The two disc package puts it right up there with Woodstock and The Last Waltz as far as concert videos go. The production quality and sound quality leave little to be desired. Don't miss it - I'm sorry I didn't get to see a theatrical release. You can read more about the DVD and CD in an earlier BLOG entry. If you are not familiar with all of the artists on the track list, don't let it hold you back from getting it - there is not a weak cut in the mix.

BIG UP to the whole Reggae On The River crew - we send Jah Love and Blessings your way this weekend from everyone at - may Joy and PositiVibes abound!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Burning Spear LIVE at The Culture Club

Last Thursday Night (July 29, 2004), Winston Rodney's Burning Spear played at The Culture Club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Culture Club only holds a few hundred people and by 10:30pm when the show started, it was a very (overly) packed house. If it had been any other kind of show, fights would have broken out all over since you could hardly move. A couple of people I came with wanted to leave because they couldn't take it. Leaving was not an option for me though. I've been lucky enough to see Burning Spear a few times - in fact, The Burning Brass (featured on the "Live in Paris, Zenith '88" CD/video/DVD) played at my wedding. Maybe we'll write a piece on that sometime but for now, you can read a little more background on Winston Rodney and Burning Spear in an earlier BLOG entry - we will have a Burning Spear Artist page at soon.

Anyway, over packed house or not, I was there to see Winston and Burning Spear. If you end up against the back wall in front of the sound board where I decided to stand, you're only about 20-30 feet from the stage. I figured that was as good a spot as any and the sound mix at that spot couldn't have been better. By the second song, Winston and the band were already locking into a solid groove. In the small room and packed house (that was, Thank Jah, well air-conditioned) Burning Spear was awesome. Winston and band are consumate pros and deliver solid perfomances, show after show, but seeing them in a small club is a lot more powerful than seeing them at a big festival. Winston worked in new and old tunes in a mesmerizing mix. Even without a good spliff the flow of sound from the stage could easily transport you beyond the wall to wall press of people. My revelry was occasionally interrupted by someone moving by aggressively trying to reach the rest rooms but I spent most of the show on a different plane. Maybe it was just the very intimate nature of the night but I don’t think I have ever heard Burning Spear so Roots Rock solid. All I can say is if you ever have a chance to see Spear, particularly in a club setting like this was, DON’T MISS IT!!

Want to tell us about a show you’ve been blessed to see, email us at:

For more go to

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Vital REGGAE Edition from RELIX

RELIX REGGAE Issue August 2004Many of you may not be familiar with RELIX Magazine. It got started in the early 70’s with a focus on The Grateful Dead and other bands like New Riders of the Purple Sage and Quick Silver Messenger Service. It was an underground magazine of sorts, chronicling the exploits of the bands and their fans. A whole community grew around this music and RELIX was a primary source of this community’s news. The whole Grateful Dead tape trading network that archived virtually every concert the band performed was pretty much a RELIX creation. As Reggae began to emerge onto the world scene, the soothing, vibrant sounds of Roots Reggae with clouds of Jah Righteous Herb billowing around turntables as discs spun these new riddums, had an immediate appeal for the RELIX audience. The 80’s saw RELIX try to be more of everything to everybody, even having a brief fling with Heavy Metal but while most of the core fans hung in there and a few new ones may have been attracted to the magazine, the base was with the complex riddums of the Dead-style jam bands. From early on in the 70's, RELIX was one of the first magazines to bring word of Reggae Music to the primarily white audience of The Dead and other bands that expanded the genre like Phish. Thanks in no small degree to RELIX, Reggae Music has gotten legions of new fans from this audience and it is not unusual for a Reggae beat to be mixed into the sounds of the genres main artists. The influence has come full circle with releases like the two excellent Reggae Celebrates The Grateful Dead discs and the upcoming Reggae tribute to Bob Dylan “Is It Rolling Bob?”.

It’s a VITAL Reggae issue of RELIX – it hits news stands on August 3, so don’t miss it! If you can’t find it, go to . Here are some highlights of what you’ll find in the issue:

The August reggae issue is about to hit the newsstands on the 3rd. There is an article by Stephen Davis about Bob Marley that has never been published in America, or in English. It is about Bob and his relationship to women throughout his life. The seven page feature offers an insightful look into the reggae legend from a different angle.

There is also a three page article that demonstrates the lasting effects Bob Marley has had on the world. His music has inspired the plight of Australia’s original inhabitants against their oppressive Government; France’s booming reggae industry, and the continual library of music that is being produced by his children.
There is a lot more inside the issue that relates to the reggae world. Here is a link for you to check out the full interview with Rita Marley online,

RELIX caught up with legend Frederick "Toots" Hibbert-the man whose song "Do the Reggay" gave the genre its name-to get the full story on his latest, star-studded retrospective effort, True Love

RELIX most comprehensive reggae coverage ever, this guide packs as much info as a typical Jamaican joint does weed. Reggae historian Roger Steffens waxes about Marley’s legacy (p. 58) while longtime contributor John Adamian sounds off about dub’s resounding influence and history (p. 62). Elsewhere, Damon C. Williams compares the young lions of today’s roots reggae movement while reggae authority and radioman Postman Roger Gillies delivers two Top 25 lists which we guarantee you’ve never read before.

There’s more plus lot’s of great photos… BIG UP to RELIX for the Vital REGGAE issue!

Friday, July 23, 2004

Burning Spear keeps the Reggae Fire Burning

Winston Rodney aka Burning Spear is on the road again this summer. If real Roots Reggae brightens your Soul, don't miss a chance to catch Spear LIVE! If you can't be there, try

Here's an article from the Tallahassee Democrat @ TALLAHASSEE.COM

The trademark dreadlocks may flow from a wiry nimbus of gray hair. And the bristling beard may sport more salt than pepper.

But Burning Spear's energy is as vigorous and potent as it was when he was a youth looking to put his musical stamp on Jamaica's nascent reggae scene. His voice is as rich, resonant and compelling as it was back then. And Spear continues to use it to express the socially conscious values rooted in the teachings of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey.

The 59-year-old Spear - born Winston Rodney in the parish of St. Ann's Bay, the same rural region that Garvey and the late Bob Marley called home - has kept the roots-reggae blaze crackling for 35 years. He's celebrating with characteristic verve by bringing his message-laden music to the masses on a summer tour that includes stops at both festivals and clubs. Spear's path wends through Tallahassee this week for a show with his nine-piece Burning Band.

"When I-man look back from where I'm coming from and where I am today, I think I was a singer who got started with a lot of patience," Spear said in a phone interview. "There were lots of times when I could have lost my patience and walked away (from the business). But I had focus and tried to discipline myself.

"You got to try to be in control and keep your mind in line. Don't get carried away and don't get stressed out. Patience is something you work with and it work with you. It doesn't come overnight."

That spirit of forbearance has helped Spear build one of the most prolific and respected careers in reggae. His first recordings in 1969 with fabled producer Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd at Kingston's Studio One - "Burning Spear" and "Rocking Time" - are heralded today as groundbreaking. When they were released in the late '60s and early '70s, they were golden pebbles dropped in an already roiling reggae pool.

"It was different recording back then (at Studio One)," Spear said. "There wasn't a lot of modern equipment. Everything was done live in one take. You had to give it your best one shot. It was fun.

"That was good for learning (how to work in the studio). In this time today, there are more modern machines, but I still take the same approach. I don't program or recycle the music. I try to be creative."

Spear cemented his place in the reggae pantheon with a trio of remarkable records made with producer Lawrence "Jack Ruby" Lindo for Island Records - "Marcus Garvey," its dub-version twin "Garvey's Ghost" and "Man in the Hills." A ferocious live album recorded in England and featuring Aswad as his backing band came next, followed by an appearance in the reggae film "Rockers" (1978) performing a standout a-capella rendition of "Jah No Dead."

'Clean Roots and Culture'
Spear left Island Records and skipped from label to label to make one acclaimed album after another. Unlike other reggae artists who changed their music to suit the whims of technology-obsessed producers with an eye on the profit margin, Spear's melodic, rhythmic and uplifting sound has remained the same.

"I have no choice about that," he said. "There's not a second sound like that sound. It's the foundation of the reggae sound .... There are no changes and no turning away from it."

New trends in reggae - hip-hop and electronic elements, more aggressive lyrics and artists whose focus is more on their bank balances than their message - have made much contemporary reggae sound synthetic and removed from its rootsy origins, Spear said.

"Young people start to learn a different way of dealing with the music," he said. It's like a fast-food thing - who can sell the most fast food and which company has the biggest reputation. People don't take time to do the right thing.

"In the '70s, companies and producers and promoters cared about the artists and the music. You don't have that no more. It's all based on the money.

"But that's not going to interfere with the original sound, with clean roots and culture. We need music all the people can listen to and get some understanding about what it's saying. We need more people involved in that kind of reggae music."

Spear is doing his part to see that happens. In 2002, he and wife and business partner Sonia Rodney launched Burning Spear Records, the first label owned by a reggae artist since Marley's famous Tuff Gong Records. The label has two releases to its credit - "Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival 2001" and the aptly named and excellent "Free Man." After he wraps the current tour, Spear goes into the studio to start recording a new disc for release in 2005.

"Free Man" features Spear in fine vintage-reggae fettle, singing about such timeless topics as trust, pride, acceptance and Garvey's principles of self-determination and self-reliance.

"Now is the time when the people need teachers like (Garvey)," Spear said. "People need to know more about how to go about dealing with things, how to speak up for themselves.

"If the teachings of Marcus Garvey and other great men like Martin Luther King Jr. are publicly told, people won't be so indifferent."

"I wish that people can be cheerful to each other and exercise a little more love and unity, regardless of race or belief," Spear said. "I believe the only medication to solve the problems in this time is for everyone to come in peace.

"If we talk about love and unity and justice and we're not living it, it's not going to happen."

Spear hopes to continue to continue his musical mission for many years to come.

"What I looking for in the future is to make sure I always be in the best of health and live as long as I can," he said. "I just want to enjoy myself and be happy. What more could anybody want for the future?"

Listen to House of Reggae from Burning Spear
Big UP to the Tallahassee Democrat @ TALLAHASSEE.COM and writer Kati Schardl for this great article. Stay in touch with all the BIG TINGS A GWON at Ras John's the web's #1 Reggae site!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Reggae On The River Festival Releases DVD/CD Anniversary Package

Includes Live Performances From Ben Harper, Toots & The Maytals, Israel Vibration, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and Julian, Damian and Stephen Marley as well as many others

Reggae On The River is Internationally acclaimed as three days of "the best Reggae and World music experience to be found" and for the first time is celebrating its history and the music with the release of a 2-DVD set as well as a companion CD featuring live performances from many of the artists that performed at the 2003 event. The DVD package also includes a documentary on the festival with interviews with the organizers and some of the artists as well as an archival photo gallery culled from shows over the past two decades. The 2-DVD set and the companion CD are sold separately, both include powerful songs from acts such as Toots and the Maytals, Third World, Ben Harper, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Israel Vibration and Bob Marley heirs Julian, Damian and Stephen to name a few. Both the DVD and the CD will be released on July 27th, through Sanctuary / RAS.

Set on the banks of Northern California¹s picturesque Eel River, the festival first began in 1984 as an ambitious fundraiser to help rebuild the local Mateel Community Center, which had been destroyed by an arsonist. It has since evolved into a three-day event that over the years has drawn more than 280,000 fans thus far, while continuing to benefit the center. Each summer dozens of world-class performers, representing all genres of reggae and world music trek to the small town 200 miles north of San Francisco to perform.

Performances on the DVD and CD were recorded live during last year¹s 20th Anniversary show, and include classics such as Toots and the Maytals' "54-46; That¹s My Number," Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths' poignant version of "Redemption Song", and Julian Marley's haunting rendition of his father's "Exodus" (available only on the DVD). Reflecting the festival¹s musical diversity, the discs also feature experimentalist David Lindley (with his band El Rayo-X), the unassuming Ben Harper, and Zimbabwe¹s Oliver Mtukudzi.

In addition to the concert DVD, a second DVD in the set takes a deeper look into the festival itself; it¹s humble beginnings, and the cooperative tradition that it has grown into. Set against the amazing backdrop of the river shores in the midst of an ancient redwood forest, Reggae On The River has become known as the "preeminent reggae festival in the world."



1. Third World - "96 Degrees In The Shade"
2. Culture - "International Herb"
3. Toots & The Maytals ­ "54-46 Was My Number"
4. Michael Franti & Spearhead ­ "We Don¹t Stop"
5. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley ­ "Mr. Marley"
6. Machael Montano ­ "All Pretty Girls/Animal Farm"
7. Oliver Mtukudzi ­ "Hear Me Lord"
8. Israel Vibration ­ "Vultures"
9. David Lindley & El Rayo-X ­ "High Rollers"
10. Anthony B ­ "Raid The Barn"
11. Israel Vibration ­ "Same Song"
12. Beres Hammond ­ "She Loves Me Now/Step Aside"
13. Judy Mowatt & Marcia Griffiths ­ "Redemption Song"
14. Anthony B ­ "Good Life"
15. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals ­ "With My Own Two Hands"
16. Stephen & Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley ­ "It Was Written (Book of Life)"

Julian Marley ­ "Exodus"


An in-depth documentary about the Reggae On The River experience, featuring interviews with the artists and organizers who have made this the premiere reggae event of the past 20 years.
Click HERE to get the DVD -->



1. Anthony B ­ "Raid the Barn"
2. Beres Hammond ­ "She Loves Me/Step Aside"
3. Michael Franti & Spearhead ­ "We Don¹t Stop"
4. Culture ­ "International Herb"
5. Third World - "96 Degrees In The Shade"
6. Oliver Mtukudzi ­ "Hear Me Lord"
7. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals ­ "With My Own Two Hands"
8. Judy Mowatt & Marcia Griffiths ­ "Redemption Song"
9. Israel Vibration ­ "Same Song"
10. Stephen & Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley ­ "It Was Written (Book of Life)"
11. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley ­ "Mr. Marley"
12. Toots & The Maytals ­ "54-46 Was My Number"
13. David Lindley & El Rayo-X ­ "Quarter of A Man"

To get the CD version... check this link!

Monday, July 19, 2004

Unique and Other-Worldly Reggae World Music Mix

BamJimba - I Love (a worthy addition to your music collection)

On first listen, we were not sure what to make of this CD but it really grows in appeal and power with each listen like lots of good Dub discs. It's an instrumental, DUB oriented mix of tracks that are unique and inventive. There is definitely some application for the Club Scene in these tracks as well. Plus, it is helping raise money for a good cause. Get it and give it a few spins - it's a jam in the Name of The Lord so you will find it nourishing. - Ras John.

BamJimba is "a one-man band comprising about twenty musicians and one brilliant producer / engineer!", a description that might cause some confusion as this seemingly isn't very logical. BamJimba actually is a one-shot project, organized specifically to produce an album titled "I Love", which is a tribute to the late reggae promoter Papa Wade McKinney. All the musicians involved have given their time and talent for free, so that all proceeds can go to the Sickle Cell Society.

Papa Wade was a true rastaman, full of faith and courage. He was a writer, broadcaster, musician, and relentless reggae promoter. From the Carribean he settled in New Providence, Bahamas. Latterly he organised the Z.N.S. Entertainment Jam, a radio programme and festival of music. He died from Sickle Cell Disorder complications in November 1999.

What's S.C.D.?Sickle Cell Disorders are a group of genetic diseases that affect the red blood cells of people with the condition. They can cause bouts of extreme pain and can cause permanent damage to many different organs.

The Sickle Cell Society was first set up as a registered charity in 1979. It was formed by a group of patients, parents and health professionals who were all concerned about the lack of understanding and the inadequacy of treatment for sufferers of sickle cell disorders in the UK. Their vision is to be the most successful sickle cell organisation in the UK with a wide network of well-informed, committed and active supporters working at local, national and international levels. Then they will be better able to empower and assist people with sickle cell disorders to achieve their full economic and social potential.

More information about the Sickle Cell Society can be found on their website : Sickle Cell Society

To ORDER the CD, go to

Visit Ras John's

Photo & Text courtesy of Bamjimba & Sickle Cell Society.

Reggae SumFest Rocks MoBay Again This Week


Montego Bay, Jamaica:— Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest, world’s premier reggae festival, will be held at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay Jamaica, July 18-24. Montego Bay, the island’s second city, has been the home of the famed Reggae Sunsplash and is now the permanent home of the Reggae Sumfest festival.

Although patrons will be dancing under the stars of the friendly city at night, they can also partake of what this wonderful city has to offer during the day. Montego Bay has been named as one of the top tourist locations in Jamaica, boasting white sand beaches, crystal blue waters and a hip strip that promises more enjoyment than one can handle.

The famed Doctor’s Cave Bathing Club is located in the middle of the Hip Strip and visitors are encouraged to relax, unwind and sunbathe in the therapeutic waters or take a chance on the wild side with the wide variety of watersports that are offered. For those who want to visit Mobay’s colourful underwater world, there are several companies that offer this service such as Cool Aqua Divers. Located at the Rose Hall Beach, they offer scuba diving and snorkeling.

Montego Bay is also a very historical town; the Rose Hall Great House is one of Jamaica’s premier historical attractions. This restored great house takes you back in time to the English Planter days, the ghost of the former mistress Annie Palmer is still said to roam the halls. For the ultimate music lover, there is the Bob Marley Experience located at the Half Moon Village, which features a theatre with a special multi media presentation about the reggae superstar.

For those who want a true taste of Montego Bay, visit the city’s top rated restaurants. Pier 1 On The Waterfront is a must for seafood lovers, overlooking Montego Bay’s harbour, visitors will love the ambience this restaurant offers. Authentic Jamaican food is the order of the day at the Native restaurant where visitors can sample the famed rice and peas and jerk chicken. Also located on the hip strip is the Pelican Restaurant, which specializes in international and Jamaica cuisine.

After a hard night on the town, visitors can relax at the all-inclusive Holiday Inn Resort or at the ultra exclusive Half Moon Hotel. Both resorts boast prime beaches and wonderful cuisine. Overall Montego Bay is the optimal location for the young and the young at heart, with activities ranging from horseback riding to scuba diving, one will never lack having fun.

Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest is offering special travel packages which include hotel accommodation and round trip airport and hotel transfers. For more information on the friendly city, check out the website
Check out Ras John's Report on SumFest '95 in the Events Section at Ras John's

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Ernest "Drummie Zeb" Williams Playing With The Band

Special Feature Report for from Marc Shapiro

It’s a reggae dream-come-true. After paying dues to the scene for over a decade, the opportunity came to play for the definitive reggae band, the band that helped put Bob Marley on the map: The Legendary Wailers.

Ernest “Drummie Zeb” Williams is now living out this dream by drumming for The Wailers. “All of the songs are a dream to play. They’re all jewels, special in their own way,” said Zeb. “The whole library is dreamy.” Zeb didn’t just wake up one day and find himself a member of The Wailers. He’s been playing drums for 30 years and has been playing in reggae bands for 20 years, joining the scene when he was 19 years old. Zeb has played with Israel Vibration, Eek A Mouse, Frankie Paul, Louie Rankin, Gregory Issacs and The Razor Posse. The event that really set things up for Zeb to join The Wailers came when he was playing with Awareness Art Ensemble on the same bill as The Wailers. He sat in on sound check with them, playing alongside Aston “Family Man” Barrett, the original bassist of The Wailers who produced, arranged and wrote much of the band’s legendary catalog.

Zeb ended up playing on the same bill as The Wailers two or three times a year, maintaining his relationship with Family Man. Six years ago, an Awareness Art Ensemble manager who had also worked with The Wailers heard that The Wailers needed a drummer. Shortly after that, Zeb found himself playing in the most internationally renowned reggae band.

“I started listening to Marley in the 70s and I knew that was the next big thing,” recalled Zeb of his first impression of Bob Marley and The Wailers. Zeb unfortunately never got to see the legend himself in concert. But now he gets to perform the music of that legend. “I breathe with 11 members on stage,” said Zeb about being the drummer. “Once I have everyone’s heart with mine, I breathe with 1000 people,” he said about connecting with the audience.

The Wailers play songs to cater to the mood of the crowd, often making up set lists on the spot. “Everybody takes a ride, including us,” he said.
It is very important not to water down the music because, according to Zeb, reggae is a very direct, positive music. “You can use it to be vulgar or talk funky, but you can really use it to get a message across,” said Zeb about the power of reggae music.

His concept of reggae is embodied by his favorite Bob Marley and The Wailers song “War.” The song’s lyrics are directly taken from a speech given to United Nations by Haile Selassie about human rights. “If you can’t humble yourself and deal with these words something is wrong,” said Zeb. Much like those lyrics, he places a lot of importance on people uniting together. “If people are so into loving God, why can’t they embrace each other?” asked Zeb. “I can reason with everyone 360. If we can reason and reach the heights then we can all get along.” Despite this lack of man-to-man understanding Zeb discusses, he has a lot of faith in what he calls the “One Love Generation,” the young adults of today. He feels that the world is going to change once this unified generation gets into power politically. “Everyone can go to the same jam. There’s some kind of similar energy, it’s not as separated as it was 20 years ago,” said Zeb.

Twenty years ago is not only when Zeb entered the reggae scene, it was also when he took up Rastafarianism. For Zeb, Rastafarianism is a way of life, not a man-made religion. “It teaches you some real high level thinking,” said Zeb. “It’s a window of information.” Zeb added that Rastafarian is about controlling your body rather than your body controlling you. He does martial arts to keep his body in tune. He also places importance on “smoking the herb” in moderation, maybe even taking month-long breaks if needed, to stay in control of your body.

“It’s about praising God. The Rastaman is giving thanks, just like communion in church,” said Zeb about “smoking the herb.” He does caution, however, that Babylon is all around. “It’s the system that was set up to oppress,” said Zeb. “The reggae lovers need to be safe because Babylon is everywhere.” While Zeb and The Wailers embody the ethos of Rastafarians everyday, they are also touring tirelessly and doing what they can to continue to spread reggae music. A new studio album is currently in the works for The Wailers. The Razor Posse, another band that Zeb plays drums for, will be releasing a new album on Ras Records due out in June. The first single, “Serve Somebody,” will be on a Bob Dylan reggae tribute album due out this summer.

Marc Shapiro

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Jamaican Sunrise Festival in France - August 3-6, 2004

I allow myself to transmit some news of the Jamaican Sunrise Festival, you will find attached a press release in english.

This is one of the biggest openair reggae festival held in france, for about the last three years this has been the event of the summer and it's getting bigger & growing towards an hights whereas europeen reggae fans are coming in thousands from all parts of europe. Please don't miss this one & don't forget to tell your friends around the world that Jamaican Sunrise is alive & kicking
real hard this summer.

We thank you for your kind attention.

To check out all the info on the show select this link:

From: Marie-Eve Beerens et Virginie Deniel of Kaya Production

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ras John's Blog Begins

Greetings to I and I and may Jah Blessings fill your life! Here at Ras John's BLOG we will share ideas that will hopefully provide Blessings for your Life. We'll also update you on REGGAE News and Events. To start, here are some words to Bless eash of your days.

A Daily Affirmation for your Path of Power

I am a warrior of Spirit.
I exist in a world of sacred balance.
I balance with one foot in the physical world
of material substance,
and one foot in the dimensions of spirit and sacred life.
My course is set by my ally - the winds of time.
Mother Earth gives me life force -
the life blood of my sacred body.

The plants give me nourishment and healing
as I ride the windhorse of my intent -
my sacred warrior's transport of buoyant joy -
into a new and unknown world of harmony.
I am truly a new warrior,
a spirit being of light.

My weapons are the shields of awareness,
the symbols of ancient truth.
Like the angels that surround me,
few see me for who I really am.
People learn from me through example,
because of the integrity of my own life and spirit.

I move into the world with confidence and wisdom.
I am always open and learning tools of knowledge,
and I share these tools with my sisters and brothers.
I am a warrior of the light,
and I live the integrity of that with pure goodness -
the embodiment of the peaceful soul.
I walk with confidence
the path of heart and personal power.

One Love, Ras John