Rico Rodriguez, trombonist, was part of the backbone to the development of reggae music, ever since the genre itself was in its earliest stage as Blue Beat and Ska. His style derived from the Jazz music that was coming out of the USA.
We are delighted and proud that we encountered an experience with this individual, when he performed on trombone, along with “Satch” (trumpet) and Dick Cuthrie (saxophone), on our Tribute To The Martyrs album. This album has always been recognised by our hardcore fans as being one of our best efforts.
To our fans out there, Rico, a student at the Alpha Boys Music School, in Kingston JA, was born in1934, in Havanna, Cuba.
A big up to the UB40 crew, too. Rico, a Ras that no one could separate from his spiff, once said to me that the first time he every received any decent and consistent money in this business was when he teamed up and went on tour with UB40. He said, “The man dem a look after me good, Dread!! The man dem a look after me good!”
So to the “Man from Wareika,” Jah guidances through your transition. A milestone!
Yesterday was also the 60th anniversary of his death. Sixty years on and very little has changed in the Deep South of the US.
Emmitt, then aged 14, was taken out of the house of his relatives in the middle of the night while on vacation in Mississippi. Reason? It was said that he made some kind of pass to a white woman earlier that day. His corpse was later found with his face badly mutilated. When the body was return back to his home town, Chicago, his mother had him paraded in an open casket for the whole world to see.
Yes, August 28, 1955 was a sad day in America’s history.
Now, with the more recent death of Trayvon Martin and the never-ending stream of homicides of young black youths at the hands of a militarized police, we have tension once again in the streets.
This question is to each and everyone: are we witnessing the compound aftermath and effects of slavery and colonialism in today’s society?
As Dr Martin Luther King, who we respect for being an advocate that brought about the voting rights for Afro Americans, 50 years ago, this month, would say, “Let Freedom Ring.”
“Violence is black children going to school for 12 years and receiving 6 years’ worth of education.
“Any time someone carries a picket sign in front of the White House, that is the First Amendment in action.
“The war in Iraq has as much to do with terrorism as the administration has to do with compassion.
“As legal slavery passed, we entered into a permanent period of unemployment and underemployment from which we have yet to emerge.
“The First Amendment means everything to me.
- Julian Bond
There we were last night performing “Let Freedom Ring,” in honour of Dr Martin Luther King, in Costa Mesa to celebrate the 50th anniversary this month, where documents were signed that declared all African Americans the legitimate right to vote, yet not being aware that one of the most prolific activist of the Civil Rights Movement leaders, Julian Bond, had passed.
Horace Julian Bond, born 14 January 1940, transition 15 August 2015. I first recognised Julian back in 1986, doing an interview on national TV. It immediately struck me how eloquent and articulate he was on getting his message across. He remain a solid and focused figure in my eyes from then on.
Julian, at least you were around long enough to witness that 50 year milestone of progress in American history. You will be sadly missed by those that knew you.
Although this is the last day of July, I would like you take some time and join me to pay tribute to Medgar Evers, because it was in this month, the 2nd of July to be precise, he would have turned 90 years old.
For the many world wide who is unfamiliar, Medgar Evers was the leader of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement for Coloured People), based in Jackson Mississippi. He was cut down while leaving his parked car, walking towards his home and family, on June 12th 1963.
Although Medgar was not internationally known as Dr Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his role as a Freedom Fighter and activist was easily on par with the others. As a matter of fact, I personally consider him to be the most courageous of them all due to the fact that he was against all the odds, residing in the most racist zones in the US at that time, unprotected by the law or an entourage of friends and well-wishers.
I present another painting of mine, once again, unfinished in honour of such an icon. Medgar, may you continue to make your friends, family and mankind, proud.
Been flying around today, so please forgive me for not blogging this sooner. The “livication” continues for Dr Martin Luther King, who this day 50 years ago, started what would be the march that became a success, from Selma to Montgomery, in Alabama. After a series of attempts previous to this historical event where all the protestors gathered on the Edmund Pettis Bridge, the march was completed 4 days later in Montgomery. The protestors had travelled on an average of 12 miles a day and took refuge and shelter wherever they could along the way.
We Steel Pulse, tip our crowns out of maximum respect for those who courageously conducted their moral duties during that episode. Thank you for moving the world a few steps closer to civilisation.
As we are into our 40th year of existence as a band, we give thanks for each and every moment for the opportunity that was given to us by the Most High. Because we are totally aware that if it was not for H.I.M, there would never be a “Steel Pulse.”
Our first recognition on ‘centre stage,’ was our debut album, “Handsworth Revolution” (1978), which came at time when the UK was facing absolute turmoil in regards to the policies that were very much disenfranchising the first generation of blacks of post colonialism, stationed throughout the many pocketed communities in Britain. Already plagued with unemployment, there were laws and socially political issues that were not working in our favour. Having our limited outlets of entertainment under constant surveillance, along with the youths no longer accepting the “back seat” (so to speak), that was offered and accepted by our parents, and to top it all, the occasional police brutality…. it was only a matter of time for the lid to have been blown off that pressure cooker.
Steel Pulse predicted the sentiments of Handsworth Revolution at leastthree years before the very first riots kicked off in Bristol, back in 1981. HR became a landmark, a milestone; call it what you may, in the history and development of ‘Black Culture,’ in Britain. As a result the band played a significant role among the punk and new wave music that was sweeping across the country. Our lyrics and stance became part and parcel to the issues that the punks were lashing out against. it was at a time when being left winged and being an anarchist, was at its heights.
Today, we can see clearly how current and relevant those lyrics and ideologies of yesteryear have become. Now, do you see why I started out this blog by thanking the Most High, in the first place? In all honesty, the band never dreamed that the whole HR experience would have taken such a stronghold throughout the rest of the world. We could barely play our instruments when all this happened. Yet, we were eager to make a difference in our lives that we had hoped, would in turn, influence others.
We are looking forward to returning to the shores of England, after a very long hiatus to deliver this same album that created us, “live” in its entirety to the nation that was first in line to bear witness to such an enlightening experience. We sincerely hope that you can be present to join the masses that will be attending this walk down memory lane.
Today is one of the most significant day in American history, better known as “Bloody Sunday.” Exactly fifty years ago today, roughly three hundred people, mostly comprised of African Americans, made a desperate attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama. It was on the terms of a peaceful protest in favour of a bill of voting rights to be passed by the United States government. The march, that was spearheaded that day by activist John Lewis, was rudely interrupted by a sea of police under the order of Jim “Crow” Clark, who was the head local sheriff at that time. The peaceful protestors were blocked off on both sides which resulted with them receiving a series of blows, left right and centre on the bridge, itself.
Both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush were present at Selma today, in memory of this tragic incident that took place 50 years ago.
What took place in Selma back then most certainly changed the political, social, and historical course of America and the world. Today, Selma, nowhere the industry booming town like it once was, is ridden with poverty and high unemployment. And to top it all, the Voting Rights Bill is now in jeopardy. Both President and former President are expected to address the situation.
Anyway, a Big Up to John Lewis, Andrew Young, Martin Luther King, and Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was murdered by a state trooper 2 weeks prior to the attempted march and all those that were present at this tragic landmark incident half a century ago. You will never be forgotten.
Yes, go check out the movie Selma folks. It showed me the clever tactician MLK really was… The struggle goes on.
LYRICS for PAINT IT BLACK
It ain’t easy up from slavery Ten thousand miles we’ve made that journey Crosses burning and mob lynchings And the boycotts of Montgomery From the fountains were no drinking And forever in my memory With love and time came natural healing Time to turn this page of history, yeah!
‘Cause there’s one thing for sure The poor can’t take no more You had to open up those doors For President Forty-four, eh!
CHORUS I Black Paint the White House Black We gonna paint Black Paint the White House Black, eh yeah
VERSE II Broken down are racial barriers And the laws of segregation It’s the healing of the nation Let’s re-write the constitution As we’re drowning in this crisis And who dare to roll the dices? As our martyrs paid the prices Laid their lives as sacrifices yeah
‘Cause there’s one thing for sure The poor can’t take no more You had to open up those doors For president forty-four
CHORUS II Black Paint the White House black
Paint it Black y’all Paint it Black y’all
That’s because There’s one thing for sure The poor can’t take no more You had to open up those doors For president forty-four
CHORUS III Black Paint the White House Black We gonna paint Black Paint the White House Black
ADLIB Paint it Black yah! Paint It Black yah! Paint it Black yah We gonna paint it Black yah Paint the White House Black Paint the White House
Ebony Mahogany Nubian Cush from the Nile Valley Ashanti Fulani The Mansa Musa Dynasty, hey
We gonna paint it Paint it Black yah We gonna paint it We gonna paint it Black Black Black Black Black