International and New Zealand reggae and dub; interviews, overviews and profiles.

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)

25 Apr 2022  |  <1 min read

At 71, the great reggae singer Horace Andy needs no House-like rediscovery because he always been active, most familiarly through guest appearances on Massive Attack albums. He brought his stentorian style to their One Love (on Blue Lines) but he also possesses a gentle lovers’ rock style which burnishes his harder edge. Although he has released dozens of albums since his... > Read more

Various Artists: Sub Signals Vol 2; Selected and Mixed by Gaudi

19 Dec 2021  |  <1 min read

Using material by the likes of Pitch Black, David Harrow, The Orb, African Head Charge and Subset among others -- plus two tracks of his own featuring Groove Armada and Steel Pulse – Italian-born, London-based dub master/producer Daniele Gaudi here delivers 18 deep cuts of echo, subterranean bass (the cover bears the warning “Woofer Advisory, Explicit Bass”), cavernous space... > Read more

Passing Through, by Aux25

BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS, CATCH A FIRE REVISITED (2021): Two trains on parallel tracks

8 Mar 2021  |  6 min read

There are two versions of the Catch A Fire album of '73, and both are essential. And the fact that each of these were made and released is a story in itself. The second version – fine tweaked for the international market by Island Records' Chris Blackwell with Marley's approval – might not have sold in the numbers everyone concerned hoped for (#171 in the US, nothing in the... > Read more

Concrete Jungle (Jamaican version)

BUNNY WAILER, REMEMBERED (2021): The last of the Kingston trio

4 Mar 2021  |  2 min read

The death of Neville Livingston at 73 – better known as Bunny Wailer – means there are now no surviving members of the famous Jamaican trio the Wailers. Bob Marley died in 1981 and Peter Tosh in '87. Bunny, as we will call him, grew up in the same village -- Nine Mile in the parish of St Ann -- as Bob Marley and they were not just childhood friends but later Wailer's father... > Read more

Lost Tribe Aotearoa: LTA (digital outlets)

1 May 2020  |  2 min read

The release last year of the album Holy Colony Burning Acres by Troy Kingi and the Upperclass wasn't just a landmark in local reggae. It reminded – in this land where the genre has devolved into benign and Teflon barbecue reggae – that this music was once (and in the right hands, like Kingi's, still is) the vehicle for messages from the socially disenfranchised, angry... > Read more

My Roots Master

BOB MARLEY: SONGS OF FREEDOM, AND MORE (1992): The iron lion on the way to Zion

1 Jan 2020  |  4 min read  |  1

Bob Marley was quite a man . . . nobody seems to have a bad word to say about him. Oh sure, a few wacko reactionaries got het up over the dope thing and tossed him into the Godless Heathen Corrupting Our Youth basket. But here was one spliff smoker who would run 10km before breakfast, was always keen to play a game of soccer and knew more scripture than most Anglicans. Interesting... > Read more

Soul Rebel

Lee Scratch Perry: Heavy Rain (On U Sound through Border)

8 Dec 2019  |  <1 min read

If the renegade Perry's Rainford album of earlier this year – produced by Adrian Sherwood – seemed to signal some final statement from the dub master then it was yet another piece of misdirection. Because he has just released another album (the dub-heavy Life of Plants) and now this, a reworking of Rainford material and other snippets and... > Read more

Troy Kingi and the Upperclass: Holy Colony Burning Acres (digital outlets/Border)

26 Jul 2019  |  2 min read

If Troy Kingi's impressive double album debut Guitar Party at Uncle's Bach announced a singer/guitarist and songwriter of considerable breadth and accomplishment, the follow-up Shaky Your Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron was a largely shapeless psychedelic journey which, while enjoyably self-indulgent, never quite gripped – unless perhaps you were very stoned. This new one however... > Read more

Glass Eel

Lee Scratch Perry: Rainford (On U through Border)

5 Jun 2019  |  1 min read

On his 1986 album Battle of Armagideon, the great producer/mixer/ dub magician and studio alchemist Lee “Scratch” Perry opened with Introducing Myself. By that time he hardly needed to, for more than a decade he had been legendary for his approach to a recording studio and had delivered early classic Bob Marley albums, Max Romeo's essential War ina Babylon and Heart of the... > Read more

Let It Rain

David Harrow: Dub Journeys Vol 1 OICHO (Dubmissions/digital services)

17 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

Dubheads rarely need a second invitation because they know approximately what they are getting with a dub album. And the pedigree of David Harrow (aka OICHO) is impeccable: witness his work with Lee Perry, Bim Sherman, Jah Wobble, Salmonella Dub and the Headless Chickens locally, African Headcharge and many more. These 10 deep, synth-heavy tracks – very astute sound collages... > Read more


Black Uhuru: As the World Turns (digital outlets)

24 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

In the late Seventies and early Eighties Black Uhuru out of Jamaica were one of the most important and convincing reggae outfits on the planet, delivering righteous albums on Island Records and spoken of in the same breadth as Bob Marley while bringing an edge of electronics into the genre with Sly'n'Robbie. The classic line-up was Michael Rose, Puma Jones and the band's founder Duckie... > Read more


Katchafire: Legacy (Universal)

1 Jun 2018  |  2 min read

Many contemporary writers with long memories or those with a decent understanding of music history quite rightly point out that when reggae emerged out of the poorest areas of Jamaica it was the rebels' and outsiders' music. And as such was frequently freighted with righteous, indignant and heavily socio-political messages. It had global appeal for the angry, disenfranchised and... > Read more


10 SOMEWHAT RARE REGGAE ALBUMS I'M PROUD TO OWN (2017): Some ire feelings from iStory

3 Jul 2017  |  11 min read

Strange as it may seem, reggae albums – and some pretty rare ones – were not that difficult to find in New Zealand from the late Seventies and throughout the Eighties. British labels were picking up Black British reggae bands like Steel Pulse, Matumbi, Aswad and others; the likes of Linton Kwesi Johnson, Black Uhuru and Culture were on Island Records (Bob Marley's label);... > Read more

BOB MARLEY REMEMBERED IN NEW ZEALAND (2009): The symmetry of commemorations

6 Feb 2017  |  3 min read

Summertime in the late Nineties and I am walking in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Around the corner come two Maori guys who greet me with eyebrow flashes and a hefty, "Kia ora." We run down a quick exchange: "Do you live here?" "Nah, just over for a few days ..." And so on. Finally I ask: "How d'you know I was from New Zealand?"... > Read more

Bob Marley: Them Belly Full

Dub Inc : So What (

16 Jan 2017  |  <1 min read

This French outfit – who do exactly what their band name claims – appeared in New Zealand at the 2014 Womad and were rightly acclaimed . . . although selling reggae to a Kiwi audience isn't exactly a stretch. What sets the ensemble apart from many other practitioners in the good-vibe groove is how they co-opt gruff-voiced ragga, sometimes aggressive percussion, allusions... > Read more

Mache becife

Mixed Culture: Movement in Roots/Moving in Dub (Jah Youth)

25 Nov 2016  |  1 min read

No sentient being could doubt the global reach of reggae which we have essayed previously . . . but it is rarely better evidenced than the existence of this double CD: one disc of the rootsy songs; the other of dub versions. The family of this group's founder, Cisco Lagomarcina, returned to their homeland Peru from New Jersey in the Nineties where he discovered roots reggae (music from... > Read more


AOTEAROA PAYS TRIBUTE TO BOB MARLEY (2016): The music and man heard in New Zealand

3 Nov 2016  |  4 min read  |  1

Some months ago when Universal Music wanted to commission New Zeaand artists to interpret songs from Bob Marley's catalogue, I was invited to write the proposal to be presented to the musicians. The musicians responded quickly and a few weeks ago I was invited to listen to a collection of these interpretations and, if I liked what I heard, write a press release and the album's liner... > Read more

Could You Be Loved, by Aaradhna

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Peter Tosh; Legalize It (Sony Legacy)

31 Oct 2016  |  <1 min read

This expanded-to-double-vinyl edition re-presents the '76 debut by the former Wailer who carried a number from that band into the sessions. While Bob Marley delivered the serious Rastaman Vibration and Bunny Wailer dropped the exceptional, dark and roots Blackheart Man the same year, Tosh hit the middle ground, pushed pleasure over the political (although that's here too) and in the... > Read more

Burial (dub version #1)

Unity Pacific: Blackbirder Dread (Moving/Rhythmethod)

27 Jun 2016  |  1 min read

Reggae musician and Rastafarian Tigi Ness -- who helms this long-running band into it's third album -- is a man who walks with the past as his close companion. On Unity Pacific's debut album From Street to Sky he referred back to Springbok tour and the Red Squad, and his faith allows him to take a Biblical long view. But he also knows the sufferings of his contemporary world and one of the... > Read more

We Are All Palestinians

Augustus Pablo: This is Augustus Pablo (Southbound)

25 Apr 2016  |  <1 min read

In the mid-Seventies the hypnotic sound of Augustus Pablo pulled 95bFM listeners close to their radio, because host Duncan Campbell used a Pablo piece (the leisurely Up Wareika Hill) as the theme to his groundbreaking roots reggae programme. Campbell's show was appointment listening and if you heard it the memories will flood back with the reissue of this classic album from '73 where... > Read more