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Archive for the ‘Reggae’ Category

RIP, Lloyd Knibb (May 12, 2011) Longtime Drummer For The Skatalites

Posted by on May 12, 2011

Lloyd Knibb
March 8, 1931 – May 12, 2011

Lloyd Knibb is best remembered as the longtime drummer for influential Jamaican ska band, the Skatalites.  Helping to form the group in 1964, Knibb was their for the early development of ska, a form of Caribbean music that included elements of calypso, mento, American jazz, and R&B that was the foundation of reggae.  The Skatalites’ biggest hit was “Guns Of Navarone.”   Knibb began his career during the 1940s when he played in various Jamaican jazz bands. That lead to session work for legendary producer Coxsone Dodd and recordings for the likes of reggae pioneers, Duke Reid and Prince Buster.  He provided the backbeat for the Skatalites from their inception in 1964 until their break up just a year later, and then from their much heralded 1983 reunion at Reggae Sunsplash until the time of his death.  He performed his last show with the band in April of 2011.  On May 12, 2011, Lloyd Knibb died of liver cancer.  He was 80.

Thanks to Eric Foss at Secret Stash Records

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RIP, Aashid Himons (March 19, 2011) Nashville Reggae Singer

Posted by on March 19, 2011

Aashid Himons (Born Archie Himons)
1942 – March 19, 2011

Aashid Himons was a beloved reggae and world music performer who was a fixture of the Nashville club scene for many years.  Himons’ career stretched as far back as the ’50s when he, under his given name of Archie Himons was performing doo wop and R&B throughout the New York City and Washington DC areas.  For a time, he fronted his own Little Archie & the Majestics.   He eventually settled in Nashville where he fronted Afrikan Dreamland who was reportedly the first reggae group to be played on MTV during its infancy.  It was during that period that he and the group gained much of its popularity thanks in part to heavy play on college radio stations.  On March 19, 2011, Aashid Himons passed away following a long illness.  He was 68.


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RIP, Smiley Culture (March 15, 2011) British Reggae Star

Posted by on March 15, 2011

Smiley Culture (Born David Emmanuel)
DOB Unknown – March 15, 2011

David Emmanuel, known professionally as Smiley Culture was a popular reggae singer and DJ who had several UK hits during the ’80s.  His two most popular were 1984’s “Cockney Translation” and “Police Officer.”  As a DJ for Saxon Studio International sound system, Emmanuel worked with the likes of Maxi Priest and Tippa Irie.  In 1986 he appeared alongside David Bowie, Ray Davies and Sade in the Julien Temple film, Absolute Beginners.  On March 15, 2011, David Emmanuel, age 48, died during a reported police raid on his home.  Early reports indicate he was killed by a self-inflicted stab wound but that a local watchdog group was investigating.  In a twist of irony, his 1984 hit, “Police Officer” told the story of a time he was arrested for marijuana possession but was let go when an officer recognized him as a reggae star.

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RIP, Gregory Isaacs (October 25, 2010) Influential Reggae Singer

Posted by on October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs
July 15, 1951 – October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs was a Jamaican reggae singer who the New York Times once called, “the most exquisite voice in reggae.”    After competing in a slew of talent contests while in his teens, Isaacs began making his first recordings during the late ’60s.  In 1973, he released “My Only Lover” which became a huge hit and has been cited as the birth of the lovers rock sub-genre of reggae.  He went on to work the biggest reggae producers and musicians, releasing several more hit records.  By the end of the decade, Isaacs was one of reggae’s most important figures.  During the ’80s, he released Night Nurse – the album and single of the same name are essential to any legitimate reggae collection.  Sadly however, Isaacs developed a severe drug addiction that took a toll on his voice and lead to a short term in jail. Upon his release, he continued to make many more albums, leading to 2008’s Brand New Me, which some critics were calling a return to form.   Over the course of his 40-year career,  he released upwards of 500 albums.  On October 25, 2010, Gregory Isaacs died of lung cancer.  He was 59.

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Died On This Date (September 1, 2009) Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson / Reggae’s Steely & Clevie

Posted by on September 1, 2010

Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson
DOB Unknown – September 1, 2009

steelySteely Johnson was a keyboardist and noted Jamaican reggae producer who worked with Cleveland Browne as Steely & Clevie.   Formed in the late ’80s while playing on Bob Marley’s Confrontation, the dancehall production team went on to work which such artists as No Doubt, the Specials and Bounty Killer.  Johnson’s first significant gig was playing with Sugar Minott during the ’70s.  He also worked with Augustus Pablo and co-founded the Roots Radics.  Suffering from diabetes and kidney problems, Johnson was in New York seeking treatment.  He died of heart failure at Brookhaven Hospital on September 1, 2009.

Thanks to Stephen Brower for the help

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Died On This Date (August 16, 2008) Johnny “Dizzy” Moore / The Skatalites

Posted by on August 16, 2010

Johnny “Dizzy” Moore
October 5, 1938 – August 16, 2008

mooreJohnny “Dizzy” Moore is best remembered as a founding member of reggae’s the Skatalites, with whom he played the trumpet.  Formed in 1964, the Skatalites were one of ska’s pioneers.  Moore died of colon cancer at the age of 69.

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Died On This Date (August 9, 1971) Leslie Kong / Notable Early Reggae Producer

Posted by on August 9, 2010

Leslie Kong
1933 – August 9, 1971

leslie_kongLeslie Kong was unique in that he was a Chinese Jamaican and therefore seemed an unlikely person to be one of the founding fathers of reggae.  Kong owned a record store in Kingston when he heard a young Jimmy Cliff singing outside in 1961.  Kong had an epiphany and launched his own label, Beverley’s which was instrumental to the early development of ska, rock steady and reggae.  Kong recorded Cliff’s first record as well as Bob Marley’s earliest singles in 1962.  Other key reggae artists that Kong recorded during their early years were Desmond Dekker, Joe Higgs, Toots & The Maytalls, and Derrick Morgan.  Kong has the distinct honor of producing reggae’s first International hit with Dekker’s “007 (Shanty Town)” in 1967.  In August of 1971, Leslie Kong suffered a fatal heart attack.  Many believe it was due to a curse that the Wailers’ Bunny Livingston placed on him after a business dispute.  He was just 38.

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RIP, Sugar Minott (July 10, 2010) Reggae Legend

Posted by on July 10, 2010

Lincoln “Sugar” Minott
May 25, 1956 – July 10, 2010

Sugar Minott was a reggae pioneer who began his career during the late ’60s as a member of the African Brothers.  Their early recordings are noted to have shown the Rastafaris’ influence on the development of reggae music.  Minott soon went to work at Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio One as a back up musician, singer and overall apprentice, eventually branching out to make his first solo records there.  His recordings of the late ’70s and early ’80s are considered some of the biggest influences on reggae’s dancehall scene.  He also released several UK charting roots and lovers rock style records throughout the ’80s.  Meanwhile, Minott operated one of Jamaica’s most popular sound systems which was set up in public parks and afforded countless young reggae artists their first opportunities to perform in front of an audience.  He also produced records by the likes of Daddy Freddy, Horace Andy and Barrington Levy.  Others with which he collaborated were  Sly & Robbie and Mikey Dread, to name a couple.   Sugar Minott was 54 when he died in a Kingston hospital.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at number1albums

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Died On This Date (July 1, 1999) Dennis Brown / Prolific Reggae Star

Posted by on July 1, 2010

Dennis Brown
February 1, 1957 – July 1, 1999

Dennis Brown was a Jamaican reggae star who, over the course of his astonishing 30-year career made over 75 albums. He was much respected by peers and fans the world over for his lovers rock style of reggae. One fan in particular carried tremendous weight within the community, that being Bob Marley, who called Brown “the crown prince of reggae.” Literally growing up in the center of Jamaica’s music scene, the young Brown would witness then and future reggae stars going to and from recording sessions. Bitten by the bug, Brown was just 11 years old when he recorded his first hit, a cover of the Impressions’ “No Man Is An Island,” and by 13, he was releasing his first album. By 1975, Bob Marley was calling him the best reggae singer in the world, and by the time he turned 22, he was already considered a reggae legend the world over. Sadly, ganja wasn’t Brown’s only mind recreation of choice as he developed an addiction to cocaine, perhaps say some, due to the phenomenal recording and performance pace he kept throughout his career. That addiction would prove fatal when he was rushed to the hospital with what turned out to be a collapsed lung. Dying on the operating table on July 1, 1999, many believe the typically non-fatal condition became deadly because of his substance abuse.

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RIP, Oneil Edwards (May 26, 2010) Jamaican Dancehall Group, Voicemail

Posted by on May 26, 2010

Oneil Edwards
DOB Unknown – May 26, 2010

Oneil Edwards was one-third of the popular Jamaican dancehall group, Voicemail.  Brought together at a local talent show in 1999, the group initially included five members, but eventually morphed into a trio which included Edwards, Craig Jackson and Kevin Blaire.  Voicemail began making records around 2003, eventually releasing their debut album, Hey on VP Records.  The group quickly built a loyal following thanks in part to their upbeat and catchy dance tunes.  On May 10, 2010, Oneil Edwards entered his home to find gunmen who shot him and fled.  One suspect was later found dead of a gunshot wound, while a second suspect was apprehended by police.  Edwards was taken to a local hospital where, on May 26, he passed away from his wounds.

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