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!

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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:

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