RGR TIMES WITH HOWARD CAMPBELL

Glen Washington eyes the charts  

A singer in the true Jamaican sense, Glen Washington is rarely out of the recording studio. He is always looking for that big hit song. 

Washington is banking on "Finally", his latest song, to climb the charts. 

"Yuh can know it, always feel it (a hit song). Di lyrics, di vibes, di good feelings stay with yuh...is like a new baby born," said the Tampa-based singer. 

"Finally", produced by Kelly Tucker, was released in late September. 

Washington is no stranger to the charts. The raspy-toned artist has been a fixture on reggae tables in Jamaica, North America and the United Kingdom since 1996 when he recorded the hit-laden album, "Brother to Brother", for legendary producer Clement "Coxson" Dodd. 

That set was a massive success in reggae circles, thanks to songs like the title track and "A Change is Gonna Come". It made Washington --- a former drummer who switched to vocals while working on the hotel circuit in Jamaica --- a star 23 years after he recorded his first song. 

He followed-up with "Kindness For Sweetness" and "Rise And Shine" for producer Lloyd Campbell which helped make him popular on the live show scene. 

"I'm Livin Well", Washington's previous album, was released in 2020.

Written By Howard Campbell

A tribute to John Holt at The Garden  

South Florida was a happy stomping ground for John Holt. In fact, the singer lived in the area for several years and considered it home. 

On October 23, his spirit will hover over The Garden in Fort Lauderdale where 'A Tribute to Reggae Legend John Holt' takes place. 

The show is organized by his son Junior Holt and grandson Bamm Holt. They will also perform alongside Freddie McGregor and his son, Chino. 

'A Tribute' is a big deal for Bamm who had a close relationship with his grandfather, arguably reggae's greatest singer, who died in October, 2014 at age 67. 

"It's important to keep his legacy alive because the Volts need to keep burning. There are a lot of milestones my grandfather accomplish and I just feel the world need to recognize John Holt for the icon that he is," said Bamm. 

He and his father have launched several initiatives to maintain interest in Holt, including the Volts of Holt Foundation which oversees educational projects in Jamaica. They have also covered some of his songs like "Police in Helicopter" and "Tribal War", adding a contemporary flavor to attract a new generation of fans. 

Holt's smooth vocal style influenced lovers rock exponents like Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs. He recorded countless songs in a career that began in the late 1950's. 

As a member of rock steady trio The Paragons and as a solo act, Holt cut a string of hit songs including "Wear You to The Ball", "On The Beach", "Stick by Me", "Stranger in Love" and  "Strange Things".

Written By Howard Campbell

Trudii Harrison tells true stories  

Unlike most artists just entering the music business, Trudii Harrison prefers to write her own songs rather than cover popular pop singles. She composed the 11 tracks on “True Story”, her debut album which was released in August. 

  

Produced by Cliff Manswell for his CKM Infinity Studio label, it contains “Black Voice”, her hard-hitting debut song which came out in the summer of 2020. 

  

“The most satisfying aspect of recording my album is the fact that people everywhere will get to hear my music and how I express myself through my lyrics. Most, if not all, were inspired by actual events whether it be something I went through, or something I see happening around me or in the world at large,” Harrison explained. 

  

“Fed Up”, “I Cried” and “Ride You” are other songs from “True Story”. 

  

“Black Voice” was inspired by the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota in May, 2020. The African-American’s controversial death --- suffocated when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes --- sparked international outrage and angered Harrison who is from St. Ann parish in northern Jamaica. 

  

Harrison met Manswell last year through a mutual friend. The Trinidadian musician was impressed with her vocals and songwriting skills to record “Black Voice” for “The Message”, a compilation album featuring songs by Anthony B, Prezident Brown and Marlon Asher. 

Written By Howard Campbell

Welcome back, ATF Band  

The ATF Band made quite an entrance two years ago with “Yardie”, a humorous song that took jabs at stereotypes of Jamaicans abroad. They keep the patriotic vibe going with their new song, “Welcome to my Land”. 

Released in late September, the self-produced track projects a resilient Jamaica despite the challenges of COVID-19 which has claimed over 2,000 lives in the Caribbean country. 

“’Welcome to my Land’ had been finished about two months ago, but we decided now would be a good time to release it as Xmas is around the corner. We would like to drop another single before end of the year as music is what we love and especially in these times, music helps to heal and bring people together,” said Stephen Lee, the quartet’s drummer. 

Like “Yardie”, “Welcome to my Land” is boosted by a promotional video. The latest visual shows Jamaica’s beautiful landscape which before Covid-19, attracted over one million visitors annually. 

The pandemic prevented The ATF Band from promoting their EP, “Yardie”, which was released last year. It forced Lee and band-mates Herbie Harris (keyboards), Courtland White (guitar) and Lyndon Webb (bass) to put live and recording dates on hold for much of 2021. 

Lee does not see that situation changing anytime soon, but says he and his colleagues will be ready when it does. 

“The band has been doing studio work and putting some ideas together for when live shows will be allowed again,” he said. 

Written By Howard Campbell

Keturah Hamilton eyes the big time  

As an actress still finding her way in Hollywood, Keturah Hamilton looks to legends of the silver screen for inspiration. They include Cicely Tyson, Meryl  Streep, Morgan Freeman and Al Pacino.  

"I admire these actors, because they have extraordinary talent, they are stage-trained, they are hardworking, and they walk in with gravitas.  You see their souls and humanity in their work," she said.  

Hamilton, who describes herself as "a proud Jamaican", is eyeing the big time with appearances in two major projects --- "Gaslit" and "The Nanny". 

Both are expected to open in 2022.  

"Gaslit" is a series to be aired on the Starz cable channel. Based on the Watergate Scandal of the 1970's that forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon, it stars Julia Roberts and Sean Penn. 

Nanny is a movie that stars groundbreaking African American actress Leslie Uggams and Phylicia Rashad of The Cosby Show fame. 

Hamilton plays a Jamaican domestic helper in both. And though she does not share screen time with the stars, sees the projects as potential breakthroughs. 

"It is a privilege to be a part of these projects and an honor to book these roles. Even though my scenes weren’t with these legends, my name and my likeness is attached to these projects.  No one can take these credits and experiences away," she said. 

Hamilton is from St. Catherine parish in Jamaica. She migrated to Chicago in her early teens and started her career as a model before making the transition to acting. 

Her credits include the movie, "Redemption of  Paradise" and the play, "The Motherf.ucker With The Hat". 

Recently, she has appeared in the films, "In The Defense of Tyranny" and "Stand Up".

Written By Howard Campbell

George Headley Robinson, one of the people integral to Bob Marley's legend, died in Kingston, Jamaica on October 6. He was 89. 

Known as Georgie, he is immortalized in No Woman No Cry, Marley's powerful song about life in a squalid tenement in Trench Town, Kingston. 

He inspired the lines, "Said I remember when we use to sit inna government yard in Trench Town And then Georgie would make the fire light As it was logwood burnin’ through the night…” 

In a statement, the Bob Marley Foundation said it "regrets to announce the death of George Robinson, fondly called ‘Georgie’ by family and friends." 

It continued: "The Marley family is deeply saddened by Georgie’s passing as he was a lifelong friend of Bob Marley. He will be deeply missed. Rest well Georgie." 

Georgie was a regular at the Marley Museum in Kingston. He was a popular figure, with tourists eager to hear his stories of Marley and The Wailers' early years in Trench Town. 

In recent years, Georgie resided at a nursing home where he died. 

Bob Marley died in May, 1981 at age 36. In March, Bunny Wailer, another of the original Wailers, died at age 73.

Written By Howard Campbell

Derrick Scott continues his Mission  

Derrick Scott returns to the Unity New Testament Church of God in Lauderdale Lakes on November 13 for the sixth staging of his Gospel Mission Concert. 

Last year's event was held virtually because of the Coronavirus, but through strong support for the Federal government's vaccine program, Scott and his team decided it was safe to make a comeback at the church where he has worshipped for many years. 

Scott said he gets a spiritual lift out of Gospel Mission which he insists has never been about financial gain. 

“The people love the music and what I’m doing. Even when I go home without any money in my pocket I still feel satisfied,” he said. 

Gospel Mission was first held in 2015  when Scott launched his album, Preacher Nowadays. The congregation's reaction was so enthusiastic, he decided to make it an annual event. 

From rural St. Catherine parish in Jamaica, Scott has lived in South Florida for nearly 30 years. He has released four albums to date; his previous effort, Mission Ablaze, captured him in concert at the 2018 Gospel Mission. 

Written By Howard Campbell

 

Clinton Lindsay turns 45!  

Clinton Lindsay, a giant of Caribbean radio in the United States, celebrates his 45th anniversary as a broadcaster in October. Lindsay actually made his radio debut on October 12, 1976 on WTNY. 

He is currently principal of Foundation Radio Network which broadcasts on Reggae Global Radio three times a week. 

Lindsay was arguably the leading name on West Indian radio in New York during the 1990’s when he helped introduce an energetic new sound from Kingston’s dancehalls to fans in the Big Apple. 

“Before me, dancehall music was barely embraced by others on radio. My first public broadcast was on WHBI (later WNWK 105.9 FM) on October 7, 1982, and from there I made it my mission to give dancehall music and its components a platform,” he told the Jamaica Observer in 2018. 

Originally from Spanish Town (a community on the outskirts of Kingston), Lindsay built on the foundation laid by pioneer Disc Jockeys Ken Williams and Gil Bailey in the 1970’s. He doubled as a show promoter, staging shows featuring a number of hot acts including Frankie Paul, General Trees, Sanchez, Shabba Ranks, Admiral Bailey and Chaka Demus and Pliers in New York City. 

Lindsay was involved with promoting Jamaican and West Indian culture since his years as a student at the New York Institute of Technology where he was editor of Scopes, the college newspaper. Among the events he covered for that publication were Bob Marley’s six shows at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem in October, 1978. 

Since 2002, Clinton Lindsay has operated the Foundation Radio Network out of South Florida. It produces his longrunning weekly music charts covering South Florida and New York City. 

Written By Howard Campbell

J’can stalwart Buddy Pouyat dies at 90  

Buddy Pouyat, an impresario who helped organize the 1971 musical bandwagon that brought Michael Manley to power in Jamaica, died September 29 in Kingston at age 90. 

Pouyat was a giant of the Jamaican arts scene, excelling as a dancer, actor and director of plays. He was a contemporary of legendary Jamaican actors Charles Hyatt and Leonie Forbes. 

Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaica’s entertainment and culture minister, lavished praise on Pouyat. 

“He played a key role in the creation of the Ward Theatre Season of Excellence which featured theatre performances, big band music and dance. He was among those responsible for the staging of the first Labour Day Concert. With Buddy’s passing another of our cultural icons has left us with a void that will be difficult to fill,” she said in a statement. 

Pouyat was an established theater figure in 1971 when he was drafted by the Manley team to boost the candidate’s campaign for prime minister. He and producer/singer Clancy Eccles recruited a number of firebrand artists including Junior Byles, Ken Boothe, Max Romeo and Inner Circle (who were the backing band) that helped sway youths to vote for Manley who ran on a message of social change. 

Manley’s People’s National Party won the general election in February, 1972 by a landslide. The bandwagon is acknowledged as one of the campaign’s turning points. 

Buddy Pouyat is survived by his wife Cissy, son Michael and grandchildren.

Written By Howard Campbell

Tony Roots asks How Much Longer 

Fans are not accustomed to Tony Roots yearning for his queen, but the singer shows his romantic side on “How Much Longer”, a ballad released by his Ras Guerilla label on September 13. 

Like his previous releases, the Florida-based artist collaborated with The Firehouse Crew on a song co-produced by that band’s drummer Melbourne “Dusty” Miller and his Jahbari Miller. 

“As a youth mi used to listen to people like Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs an’ some Pat Kelly. Dem man dey have di sweetest melodies, an’ for me it’s always good to show yuh versatility as a artist,” said Tony Roots. 

The Firehouse Crew’s patented roots sound were evident on “I Can’t Breathe” and “Digi-Human”, Tony Roots’ recent songs which were released in late 2020 and early this year, respectively. 

“How Much Longer” has a different feel than those singles as well as the roots songs Tony Roots has recorded for most of his 30-year career. Songs like “Gift of Life” and “Lion King” earned him a strong following in the United Kingdom where he lived for many years. 

Tony Roots is from Manchester parish in rural Jamaica. It’s where he developed an appreciation for Rasta and grassroots music, listening to homegrown sound systems such as Destiny Outernational, which helped lay the foundation for the careers of Garnet Silk and Tony Rebel, who are also from Manchester. 

He moved to the United Kingdom in the late 1980’s and recorded several strong message-oriented albums and songs for independent companies like Jet Star Records.

Written By Howard Campbell