the congos

Recent content on Elsewhere by Graham Reid tagged as the congos.

LEE SCRATCH PERRY IN THE 90s: Getting dub'n'reggae through time tuff

LEE SCRATCH PERRY IN THE 90s: Getting dub'n'reggae through time tuff

By the early 90s - a decade on from the death of Bob Marley - the consciousness reggae movement he headed was floundering internationally. In New Zealand, where reggae is one of the bloodlines, it was disappearing from radio and aside from well attended appearances by Judy Mowatt and Ziggy Marley concerts it really was “time tough,”...

Dub Colossus: A Town Called Addis (Real World/Southbound)

Dub Colossus: A Town Called Addis (Real World/Southbound)

Bridging dub, world music, an ethnomusicology project and with a smattering of jazz, this project by UK musician/producer/remixer Nick Page who is Dubulah, aka Dub Colossus (and co-founder of the groundbreaking Trans-Global Underground then Temple of Sound) brings to attention the wonderful music of Ethiopia, but in a very different light....

International Observer: Felt (Dubmission)

International Observer: Felt (Dubmission)

The first thing to note about this new album by producer/dubmeister Tom Bailey is that there are 12 tracks. No noodling around or nodding off going on here, Bailey doesn't let any groove outstay its welcome. And throughout Bailey also adds in interesting elements to keep your attention: Is that a tongue-in-cheek suggestion of Eighties...

GWEN STEFANI of NO DOUBT INTERVIEWED (2001): Style and substance

GWEN STEFANI of NO DOUBT INTERVIEWED (2001): Style and substance

The fact is, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt looks even more gorgeous lounging casually on the couch opposite than she does in her carefully styled photo shoots.  While her magazine image is often that of a distant, pouting, sexually empowered ice-queen -- "Glamazon" is the new description -- in real life she glows naturally, laughs...

The Skatalites: Anthology (Primo/Southbound)

The Skatalites: Anthology (Primo/Southbound)

This 35-track double disc pulls together essential Skatalite material alongside work that appeared under the names of some the group's members (Rolando Alphonso, Baba Brooks, Don Drummond, Tommy McCook) and is a primer on the sound of Jamaican ska in the mid Sixties. The rhythm might be the choppy ska style but over the top you can hear the...

Willi Williams: Right Time (year unknown, mid 70s?)

Willi Williams: Right Time (year unknown, mid 70s?)

Reggae singer/writer Willi Williams is best known as the man who gave the world Armagideon Time which the Clash covered (and which appears on the Tougher Than Tough collection) -- and many other deep roots reggae songs. Always well connected, Williams first worked at Studio One in the mid Sixties, recorded with Jackie Mittoo in Jamaica and...

Mr and Mrs Mattis: I'll Never Move Again (date unknown, 1970s?)

Mr and Mrs Mattis: I'll Never Move Again (date unknown, 1970s?)

Here is a real mystery single: on the Narrow Way Gospel "label" out of Jamaica (crudely hand-printed, with a quote from Isaiah) comes this oddity which is clearly Jamaican singers but has a peculiar Pacific feel to it in the guitars. Another one-off bought in Brixton just simply because it sounds so good -- but whoever Mr and Mrs...

Managers: The Grove St Tapes (Hoi)

Managers: The Grove St Tapes (Hoi)

While it's hardly a tabloid heading -- "Ska band in reggae shock!" -- it is something of a surprise to hear Auckland's long-running and popular live act shift from upbeat ska to downbeat reggae grooves on this four track EP of originals cut from the same cloth as roots reggae of four decades ago. Singer Paul Frewin has a smooth...

BOB MARLEY; RASTAMAN VIBRATION RECONSIDERED: The legacy is music and the message

BOB MARLEY; RASTAMAN VIBRATION RECONSIDERED: The legacy is music and the message

The bassist with Hamilton reggae band Katchafire, Ara Adams-Tamatea, said it: "You go to parties now and they are still playing the same '70s Bob albums 20 and 30 years later. Why is that? Because Bob's message is still alive and the things he was singing about are still relevant." The Bob in question is dread rebel Bob Marley,...

Dub Spencer and Trance Hill: Riding Strange Horses (Echo Beach/Yellow)

Dub Spencer and Trance Hill: Riding Strange Horses (Echo Beach/Yellow)

Those who know their spaghetti westerns and love a bit of dubbery will welcome this new installment from the Swiss band Spencer/Hill (aka bassist Marcel Stalder, guitarist Markus Meier, keyboard player Philipp Greter and drummer Julian Dillier). Opening with Ennio Morricone's harmonica theme (from For a Few Dollars More, I think?) and then a...

JUDY MOWATT INTERVIEWED (1990): The black queen arises

JUDY MOWATT INTERVIEWED (1990): The black queen arises

Judy Mowatt wears her unofficial title “the queen of reggae" easily. A striking figure of regal bearing, she holds her head high, and, as a member of The Twelve Tribes of Israel, talks as easily about the Queen of Sheba in ancient times as she does about Yellowman, and DJ dancehall stars in Jamaica today – and shows a canny...

JAMDOWN, a film by EMMANUEL BONN (MVD DVD)

JAMDOWN, a film by EMMANUEL BONN (MVD DVD)

This unfocused and largely haphazard film -- part travel footage, part film of reggae artists, some political subtext hinted at -- dates from 1980 when French filmmaker Bonn took a camera to Jamaica and the streets of black Britain. There is considerable footage where the camera is looking out the window of a vehicle which travels though the...

THE DREAM GOES ON: Bob Marley's enduring influence, in jazz and elsewhere

THE DREAM GOES ON: Bob Marley's enduring influence, in jazz and elsewhere

Twenty years after the death of its high priest, reggae still informed the vocabulary of music. Reggae had so thoroughly infiltrated pop, rock, hip hop and electronica, we hardly noticed it any more. Still don't. And if it isn’t in the music itself – the bass lines, off-accent drumming, choppy guitars – then it's in...

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Live Forever (Universal)

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Live Forever (Universal)

Some albums are accorded greater cachet because of the circumstances of their creation. Does anyone really think George Harrison would have won a Grammy for his instrumental Marwa Blues if he had been around to collect it? That was a vote driven by sentiment -- and probably regret and embarrassment that his contribution to music post-Beatles...

Bunny Wailer:Amagideon/Armagedon (1976)

Bunny Wailer:Amagideon/Armagedon (1976)

As Bob Marley was advancing a more light-filled, if still serious, face of Rastafarianism into the world, it fell to deep roots groups like Culture, the great Burning Spear and Bob's old bandmate in the original Wailers, Bunny Livingston (aka Bunny Wailer) to deliver the darker and deeper themes. The mighty Spear sang as if he had just been...

Ziggy Marley: Wild and Free (Tuff Gong)

Ziggy Marley: Wild and Free (Tuff Gong)

After a faltering start with the Melody Makers, Ziggy (now 42) uncoupled his music from overly familiar reggae rhythms and incorporated African sounds, hooked up with rap artists, kept a political agenda and all the while didn't veer too far from his father's path and sometimes the classic sound. Here his collaborators include Woody...

Burning Spear, Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost (1975)

Burning Spear, Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost (1975)

In Ted Bafaloukos' '78 film Rockers -- a lightweight comedy but excellent quasi-doco about the world of Jamaican music with a stunning cast of reggae luminaries -- there are any number of remarkable scenes: the lead character is a drummer (played by Leroy "Horsemouth" Brown) who puts a down-payment on a motorbike with the idea of...

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