As we embark on the first date of the European summer tour, I had the pleasure to chill out briefly with one of reggae’s original veterans, Mr. ‘Ruff and Tuff” himself: Stranger Cole.
There I was, rushing to get out of what was a slightly cold night (well for me it was), after an extremely hot day, and now fighting off a sore throat because of this drastically mixed weather, I stumbled across Stranger, sitting in our van waiting for the rest of his band members. We both are at one of France’s biggest reggae festival, Garance.
It beats me why every time Stranger re-introduces himself he makes it a point that he is the father of Squiddly Cole, one of Jamaica’s best drummers. But with no disrespect to Stranger, I believe he has carved a very chunky-size niche, within the industry. Stranger was one of the acts that we use to shuffle dance to when my eyes were at my knees.
I am still reeling in disbelief that there is only an eleven-year difference between us. He started his career in 1962.
One of the first comments I made in regards to the Trayvon Martin shooting, was within days of the incident. I stated that American justice will be in the balance, whatever the decision. I was also hoping that what ever decision made was based on “truth and rights,” as oppose to the cunningness of lawyers.
As the story unravels itself, another juror has come forward now saying that “Zimmerman got away with murder.” She went on to say that she held on to her decision as long as she could for a second degree murder conviction.
I did promise that I would get back to you on this. Time has ticked away, but no second has passed without us having thoughts for Nelson Mandela in our hearts.
At the beginning of the month, I received a few phone calls pertaining to Mandela being in hospital and his condition on “being hopeless.” At that time I was asked by a few close friends to put something together for him before he goes. I made reference of getting back to them on the issue but never did. My reason? I had this deep belief that if Nelson survived all the turmoil the way he did for all those years, there was no reason why he would not be unable to gather that well known inner energy he has to be around for his 95th birthday.
My instincts paid off and I feel good about that. So here is one more tribute to Madiba himself; Nelson, you served us well. We are honoured to be witnesses and beneficiaries of your achievements in life.
Neither will we forget Winnie.
As the struggle continues, we wish you all the best on this special day, 18th July 2013.
This is a tribute to one of Jamaica’s greatest musical icons, Muhammad Yusef Ali (yes he is a knock out), better known as Cecil Bustamante Campbell (yes, he should have been Jamaica’s first Prime Minister), even better known as “Prince Buster.”
Prince Buster, Jamaica’s first super star, turns 75 years old, today (May 24th 2013).
Many happy return, rude bwoy. May you continue to wash all our troubles away.
Bless up this special day, Malcolm X, we’ll never forget you:
X-RESURRECTION by Steel Pulse
Born in Omaha Nebraska
May 19 Year 25
Was the son of a Garvey teacher
We will keep his name alive
Youthful years were full of adventure
Drifted to a life of crime
In jail he learned to be our leader
Thank God he was released on time
Spoke out against Jim Crows injustice
And never turned the other cheek
There’s no room for non violent protest
Yes these words were what he preached
Taught us bout Pan Africanism
To put my people back on their feet
Take whats ours robbed by the system
He said by any means
Let Malcom live through us
Black liberation is a must
They have tried to rid his name
From history books and magazines
They even tried to criticize
His greatness and philosophy
Against all kinds of exploitation
For all of us he bore the pain
We won’t let him be forgotten
No he did not die in vain
Put away the misconception That he came to teach us hate
So Wake up from your sleep and slumber
Wake up before its too late
We need to resurrect that spirit
A lease of life the people need
To fight resistance from the system
He said by any means
Live Malcom live through us
Black liberation is a must
By any means by any means
By any means necessary
Raspect: Thanks to Malcolm X, we keep on growing, keep on learning.
We are here in Peru tonight, 16th May 2013. This is a tribute night for UK radio DJ, John Peel who died right here 8 years ago.
For those unfamiliar with John Peel, he was the Radio 1 DJ who played a major role in breaking British Reggae to the public. It was at a time when reggae was very much shunned from national radio and got little to no exposure in any of the music advertising media that was out there.
John found a loop hole in the system whereas there was a limitation to the amount of airplay reggae was to get, it did not out rule the idea of having the music performed live on the radio. So British reggae upon went live – with versions of the studio songs that Radio 1 were refusing to play.
John, this is to let you know that your efforts will never be forgotten. The restrictions and barriers on our music was going on far too long. You had the courage and ingenuity to out-think your employers at RADIO 1. For that we remain grateful, always.
I’m sad to announce that Cedric Brooks, of the legendary Skatalites band, passed away last Friday, 3rd May 2013. He was 70 years of age. Before he joined the Skatalites, Brooks was renowned for his work with Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari and the Light of Saba. He began his music career in the late 1960s as a studio musician, playing on Burning Spear’s “Door Peep.”
Our condolences to the only surviving band member, Lester Sterling and also Cedric’s sisters and seven children.
More information on the brilliant Cedric Brooks here >>
A great “Big Up” to Willie Nelson, who turns 80 years old today and still is in better shape than his guitar. Willie, wherever you are right now, you have a heck of a lot to be proud of..
Being born during the years of the Dust Bowl, you have certainly made a change to the lives of the croppers. May your years continue to be prosperous and your heart be as concerned as ever. ‘Cause there is one thing that we Steel Pulse, the farmers and YOU all have in common, and that is: “THE ROOTS” yah!