February 15, 2011 § 3 Comments
It’s quite simply the story of black music in the 20th century, isn’t it? A music style is created and developed. It is ridiculed, ignored and rejected by the industry’s white establishment. It grows in popularity. It is embraced by rebellious white youth. It is co-opted by white musicians. Booyah! It’s suddenly “great sounding music, let’s play some records, shall we?” If you watch the new BBC4 documentary Reggae Britannia, you’ll find that that’s essentially what happened in the UK with the music from Jamaica called reggae. “We completely plundered reggae, without remorse,” admits Stewart Copeland of British rock band The Police, who came to prominence in the mid-70s. But in the 1960s, reggae artists and performers had the darndest time getting any pay for their records, and definitely no play on the radio. “A lot of the deejays had a snobbery towards Jamaican music, and sometimes it bordered on racialism,” says author Steve « Read the rest of this entry »
December 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
Chris Blackwell, founder of the most successful indie label in music history, was at Govinda Gallery in Georgetown yesterday, signing copies of his new book Keep On Running: The Story of Island Records. But one of the most notable signatures he scribbled was not even on that big coffee table book. A copy of the Wailers’ Catch a Fire with the original LP (long play) cover was thrust in front of him by proud owner Cary Scott, who’d found it in near mint condition, stashed in the back of a record store in Washington, DC. Mr. Blackwell was suitably impressed; it is one of only 12 original copies left in the world, and in the best condition he’d ever seen one.