Archive for July, 2017

18
Jul
17

Dennis Brown – Crown Prince of Reggae: Singles 1972-1985

As with most of us who are avid music listeners we tend to gravitate towards listening to different genre’s and styles at random and with no particular reason.  Perhaps we are working on a project in our garage, creating some artwork, washing the dishes, or simply looking for some auditory inspiration for cooking a great dish, music tends to help us create that zen for which we thirst.  I’ve got a rather large personal music collection on compact disc, vinyl, and digital media, so at times I randomly choose to re-listen to an artist of genre and find myself addicted for a few weeks on nothing more than just that artist or genre.

Reggae has been my recent lust, and it’s been a month long rekindling of my rediscovering just how much fun this genre is and how vast the assortment of artists can be.  I’ve been working on linoleum prints and illustrating a childrens book for the past year, Reggae has been a constant companion on keeping my motivated and creative.  Of course Bob Marley is a fun artist to listen to and is always a reliable Reggae sound, but other artists such as Horace Andy, Marcia Griffiths, King Tubby, and Dennis Brown have been far more interesting lately.

I’ve always held Dennis Brown as a special Reggae artist and always remembered listening to him in Boston when I was a college student at Boston University.  Emerson College had a radio show called “Rockers” which would play a culmination of well known and obscure Reggae artists; Dennis Brown was always on regular rotation.  Although Dennis Brown may not be a household name for the beginner or novice Reggae listener, he was a heavy hitter in the world of Reggae music recording an astounding 75 albums during his lifetime and career!

A friend recently hooked me up with the 40 song collection of singles he released from 1975 – 1985 called “Crown Prince of Reggae”; it’s a gem for any reggae fan.  Compared to the 3-disc set  released last year entitled “Reggae Royalty” which is more grainy and earthy in its production and sound quality. “Crown Prince of Reggae” is a collection with a more refined sound and a better variety of Brown’s songs.

Reggae is a fun genre to explore, rarely do you find albums you do not like.  For example, I was in a coffee shop in Chelsea (NYC) and heard the Barrington Levy song “Here I Come”, basically his most famous, but I decided to download the album and have not regretted the purchase.  Although reggae has not evolved much in it’s root beats and rhythms, and it really doesn’t have to,  it continues to survive in its own unique style and  genre appealing to new listeners generation after generation.

Dennis Brown is a cornerstone in reggae and should be a required part of any true reggae fans collection, almost every song he put out is amazing and timeless.  Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, or ANY collection of Dennis Brown’s!

17
Jul
17

Beware of Mr. Baker – Fucking Amazing!

beware-mr-bakerGinger Baker, you learn, craves privacy and his personality has morphed from being a crazy rock star, to just a mean old man who wants to be left alone to die. Living on his compound in South Africa, he appears to have intentionally wanted complete anonymity; yet allows this young reporter to live with him and ask revealing and personal questions, over and over, and over. The tension at times is incredibly palpable yet like the details of a violent crime, you are compelled to be curious and learn as much as you can, taking in every detail of this once legendary drummer.

The details of his life is a rollercoaster of excess and insanity, drug addiction, poor business decisions, and ruined relationships. Baker wants nothing to do with the music business, his past, or really his future. Ironically he has a drum set in his house that just sits idol, perhaps reminding him of a different time and life he once had control over, yet he rarely is able to play due to health issues that persist.

I like how the movie narrates his life with various animations that depict stages of his life (negative and positive) where major outside influences made significant impacts with regard to why he played, and how he played. You begin to develop a real sense of how influential Baker was in the music world.

As the movie progresses you learn he is suffering from serious health conditions, but he continues to be a heavy smoker despite the consequences. Baker seems content to just smoke cigarettes and be left alone waiting to die.

The movie is good and incredibly eye opening, but at the end of it all, you can’t get over how much of a grouch this guy really is and how he has lead his life to be so self-destructive..

17
Jul
17

PHISH – Live Bait Vol. 13 FREE!

lb13-cover-artYes, whether you like something or not, “Free” is always good right?  Once again Phish has released another free download of live performance goodies, and this one does not disappoint…again!  So far the band has released 12 prior volumes in the Live Bait series for the masses which is incredibly generous, however, free for a limited time.

This release is called “Baker’s Dozen Edition” due to the 13 night run they will be starting on July 21 at Madison Square Garden in NYC.  Usually before a summer tour the band has released a Live Bait in order to tempt the masses, and warmly received by us all who enjoy the band.

If you are unfamiliar with Phish and want to know what all the buzz is and why this band has survived for the past 25 years, these downloads are a great introduction to how talented these guys are and how much fun 3-hours of your life can actually be.  Don’t slight yourself and download this NOW!

You can access this download and the plethora of tons of past concerts (for a nominal fee) by going to LivePhish.com