Thursday, January 12, 2012

17 North Parade Releases the First LIVE Album Ever Recorded in Jamaica!

On Jan 24, 17 North Parade will release Live At The Turntable Club for the first time on CD. The original 1974 release, presented and produced by Niney The Observer, was the first live album recorded in Jamaica that gave the rest of the world aural access to Kingston's lively music scene during a definitive era in reggae. 

With electrifying live performances from Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson, Big Youth and backing band Soul Syndicate, Live At The Turntable Club is a vibrant snap shot of the key players who paved the way for the roots genre. Reggae's most accomplished recording engineers - King Tubby, Errol Thompson and Dennis Thompson - along with Niney and these legendary artists were at the peak of their musical careers when they captured these live recordings inside Kingston's famous nightclub. The songs were mixed by King Tubby at his renowned studio on Dromilly Avenue and mastered in London at The Beatles’ Apple Studio on Saville Row. 

The new CD collection is fully remastered with revamped packaging that replicates the original gatefold vinyl sleeve and is complimented with an extensive booklet, which includes an interview with Turntable club owner Winston “Merritone” Blake. This limited edition pressing is a must-have collection for all vintage reggae fans. A vinyl LP re-issue will follow in 2012. 

Track Listing:
Dennis Brown - Cassandra 
Dennis Brown – Rock With Me Baby 
Dennis Brown – Give A Helping Hand 
Alexander Portious – Everything I Own 
Alexander Portious – Love Overdue 
Delroy Wilson – I’m A Happy Man (Without You In My Life) 
Delroy Wilson – It’s A Shame 
Delroy Wilson – Have Some Mercy 
Delroy Wilson – You Keep On Running 
Big Youth – Santa Massa Gone Ya (I Pray Thee) 
Big Youth – Dread In A Babylon 

Midnite to Release New Album "In Awe"

The new album from veteran reggae act Midnite, titled In Awe, is scheduled for release on January 24, 2012 through the VP Associated Labels Group (VPAL).  Armed with a firm foundation in Jah Rastafari and an uncompromising musical vision, Midnite champions a cutting-edge sound of modern roots music. 

The newly recorded studio album features ten tracks with Vaughn Benjamin on lead vocals and his brother Ron Benjamin contributing bass and production. They have guided their sound and career as this distinctive unit since 1997. Midnite's live performances, which often exceed three hours, have won them a legion of fans among the reggae community.

Combining the best of classic production with timely rhythms, blazing horns and pristine instrumentation, John Juaquin Wilson is proud to bring forth this release to the reggae massive. As the fifth Midnite release on Fifth Son Records, this independent label looks forward to reaching more roots reggae fans than ever. "Having VP distribute this album is a pivotal step in exposing as many listeners to this critical music as possible," says Juaquin Wilson from his studio in Taos, New Mexico. "We (Midnite and Fifth Son) are excited to work with VP. This record (In Awe) stands as a testament to the power of  roots  music and the foundation of Jah," he adds.

With In Awe, Vaughn Benjamin and Fifth Son Records team up with VP Records' global distribution network. The pairing will continue the progress of the 2011 release Treasure which platformed the group's music and their indie label counterparts on a new level through the VP Associated Labels Group (VPAL) distribution network. This arrangement includes worldwide digital and physical distribution for the group as well as marketing services through VP's label services.

"This new album is yet another authentic piece which captures the melodic sound of true roots music at its best and with Midnite’s management and Vaughn’s support we will continue to offer Midnite’s music to a wider audience worldwide,” notes VPAL's Director, Donovan Williams.

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Jan 26th San Diego, CA - World Beat Center
Jan 27th Hollywood, CA - The Key Club
Jan 28th Santa Ana, CA - The Galaxy Theater

Visit website to listen to songs from new album and for most up-to-date tour schedule:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Unsung Hero - Randy & The Development Of Jamaican Music

Bookmark and Share

Originally posted at

The Chinese community in Jamaica played a very important role in the development of Jamaican popular music during its formative years. Their role was primarily as producers, and notable among these were Charlie Moo, Ivan Chin from the mento era, Byron Lee, the soca calypso king, Justin Yap, and Leslie Kong, who as a producer has the distinction of recording the debut songs of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and John Holt, the respective titles being Judge Not, Hurricane Hatti, and Forever I Will Stay. But probably the most important contribution made by a Chinese-Jamaican was that by Vincent 'Randy' Chin, who in later years went on to establish the now world-famous VP Records in New York.

Randy's role was critical as a producer of early Jamaican music and later as a distributor on the international market. He along with his wife Patricia established VP Records in the late 1970s - V for Vincent and P for Pat.

It all started in 1959 when Randy opened his first record shop at the corner of East and Barry streets in downtown Kingston.

Born on October 3, 1937 in Kingston, he worked in the jukebox business for entrepreneur Isaac Issa, and gained valuable experience.

This experience along with old discarded jukebox records he took with him to bolster his stock when he opened his own business. By 1961 he was operating from a new premises located at 17 North Parade in the heart of downtown Kingston. This establishment, which became the very popular Randy's Records, provided record collectors and music lovers with many hard-to-get records.

In addition, he established a top-of-the-line studio above the same premises.

The studio catered to the aspirations of many would-be artistes.

Through his efforts and the provision of his studio, artistes such as The Maytals, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Stranger Cole, John Holt and others were given their earliest exposure.

Chin acquired the name Randy's from a United States (US) late night radio show entitled Randy's Record Shop, which was sponsored by a US record shop of the same name. Vincent, a keen listener to that programme, was thrilled by it, to the extent that he named his record shop and record label after it. Soon after, he ventured into the areas of producing recordings for prospective artistes.

earliest productions

Among Randy's earliest productions were Goodbye Pretty Baby by the blues shouter Basil Gabbidon, and the doo-wop-styled songs My Love Divine and Let Me Dream in 1961 by Alton and Eddy. The duo had previously scored a massive hit a few years before with another doo-wop-styled song titled Muriel for producer Clement 'Coxson' Dodd. Alton Ellis (a half of Alton and Eddy), who would go on the become one of the biggest Jamaican stars, with producers Duke Reid and Dodd. Still during the rocksteady era, Ellis also made the solo recordings Ska Beat, It Doesn't Matter At All, and Mouth A Massy for Randy.

But Randy's biggest success as a producer in those early years came from the Trinidad-born singer, Kenrick Patrick, better known as Lord Creator.

Creator was passing through the island on a Caribbean tour with a group of musicians in January 1962. Randy's next move was timely.

It was approaching Jamaica's acquisition of independence in August of that same year, and fascinated by Creator's voice, Randy intercepted him at a Kingston nighclub and requested he compose a song about Jamaica's independence. The late Raymond Sharpe, a Gleaner columnist at the time, was in attendance and provided Creator with an article on the lead-ups to Jamaica's independence. It eventually formed the basis on which the recording was built, and became the most explicit narrative in popular music on Jamaica's independence.

big hit

It was also to Randy's credit that the recording, a calypso tune titled Independent Jamaica, became the biggest hit in Jamaica in 1962, rocketing to number one on the charts. In the process, the song became the first record issued in the United Kingdom by Chris Blackwell's fledging Island Records.

Creator went on to record other top ska hits for Randy, including Don't Stay Out Late, and Man To Man.

For the next couple of years, Randy recorded on his Randy's label several successful recordings for various artistes. These included the very popular vocal trio, Toots and the Maytals, who also began their hit-making career with coxson, John Holt who recorded Rum Bumper, and Ken Boothe who recorded in duet with Stranger Cole, the original version of Home Home which was later popularised in the rocksteady mode for Dodd.

The musicians employed by Randy were no less impressive. The aggregation comprised the nucleus of the best band in the land - The Skatalites which included trombonists Don Drummond and Rico Rodriguez, saxists Lester Sterling, Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCooke and Stanley Notice, and trumpeters Johnny Moore and Bobby Ellis. Many were graduates of the famous Alpha Boys' School on South Camp Road

By 1968 Randy had opened his legendary Studio 17 upstairs his North Parade premises. Up to the mid to late 1970s, many of Bob Marley's classic recordings for producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry were still being done there. It was about that time that Randy relocated his family to New York and opened VP Records.

It became and still remains the leading distributor of Jamaican music in the world.

Vincent Randy Chin passed away on February 2, 2003 at the age of 65, but his memory will continually be perpetuated through his work with VP Records and earlier with Randy's Records in Jamaica. Today we can recognise the vital and immeasurable contribution made by Randy to the development of early and modern Jamaican music and appreciate the eternal qualities of good taste, swing, and vibes that went into Randy's recordings.

He was indeed one of those unsung heroes of Jamaican music who didn't receive the reward and recognition he justly deserved.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bookmark and Share

I-Octane will release his debut album Crying To The Nation on Feb 14, 2012. The 16-track opus is a joint venture deal with reggae powerhouse VP Records and Scikron, which is owned and operated by Robert Livingston, former long-time manager of multi-platinum artist Shaggy. On I-Octane's first full-length LP, he will reinvigorate the feeling of roots and dancehall at its purest. I-Octane has already proven himself as a powerful lyricist and unveils his uncanny ability to sing romantic ballads and socially aware tunes on this traditional reggae album.

I-Octane’s “Puff It,” which is featured on Crying To The Nation, is chosen as one of National Public Radio's Top 5 Dancehall Tracks for 2011. NPR's Baz Dreisinger describes I-Octane as “2011's buzzworthy newcomer: a Rastafarian DJ in the vein of Sizzla or Capleton, comfortable moving from conscious music to hardcore dancehall and back again.” The year’s favorite anthem showcases his “signature style: rapid-fire rhyming skills, haunting vocals and simple, singalong hooks,” Dreisinger adds.

I-Octane also renews his Digicel sponsorship deal for 2012. This is second year he will serve as the sole Brand Ambassador for the Caribbean’s largest mobile communications provider. Shelly-Ann Curran, Digicel's Sponsorship and Activations Manager, recently told the Jamaica Observer that I-Octane’s “unique style of music mirrors the youthful vibrancy and positive energy that is Digicel.”

Crying To The Nation Track Listing:
1. Rules Of Life
2. Help I Please
3. Vanity Will Come
4. Nuh Love Inna Dem
5. Puff It
6. No More Violence
7. System A Beat Dem
8. Zion Awaits
9. L.O.V.E. Y.O.U.
10. Missing You ft. Agent Sasco
11. Once More
12. The Master's Plan
13. Lose A Friend
14. All We Need Is Love ft. Tarrus Riley
15. Space For All Of Us ft. Alborosie
16. Crying To The Nation 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bookmark and Share

The Grammy nominees have been revealed and Israel Vibration receives a Best Reggae Album nomination for Reggae Knights. Other nominees include Monty Alexander for Harlem-Kingston Express Live!, Stephen Marley for Revelation Pt 1: The Root Of Life, Ziggy Marley for Wild And Free and Shaggy for Summer In Kingston.

Cecil "Skelly" Spence and Lascelle "Wiss" Bulgin, two thirds of the original Israel Vibration, released Reggae Knights on August 16, 2011 through Mediacom and VP Associated Label Group (VPAL), a subsidiary of VP Records that offers worldwide independent digital and physical distribution for artists and labels.

VPAL Label Manager Donovan Williams expresses his enthusiasm about the news. “I'm very excited for their well-deserved nomination. Working directly with Skelly, Wiss and manager Michel Jovanovic on their U.S. release has been a nice experience and served great purpose. We intend to join forces again for their future accomplishments.”

Recorded in Jimmy Cliff's studio (Sun Power Productions) in Kingston, Israel Vibration still defends the traditional values of roots music on Reggae Knights. They even recreate their famous first single "Bad Intention" which put them on the map as one of the most pivotal reggae bands in the late 1970s. Additional musicians including members of the Roots Radics, Robbie Shakespeare, Dean Fraser, Nambo Robinson and Grammy-winning engineer Christopher Daley contribute their talents on the album.

Check out their latest video "My Master's Will" off of Reggae Knights.

Israel Vibration was originally a harmony trio consisting of Lascelle "Wiss" Bulgin, Albert "Apple Gabriel" Craig, and Cecil "Skelly." They all met as children while recovering from polio at a rehabilitation center in Jamaica. The boys formed a bond singing together and used music as part of the healing process. The group went on to record three albums, The Same Song, Unconquered People and Why You So Craven, before temporarily parting ways in 1981. In 1997, Apple Gabriel permanently left the group to pursue a solo career. Skelly and Wiss continue to record albums and tour the world as Israel Vibration, backed by longtime associates Roots Radics.

The winner for Best New Reggae Album will be announced in at the Pre-Telecast Ceremony on Feb, 12, 2012. The 54th Grammys air on CBS on Feb 12, 2012 at 8pm ET.

Israel Vibration’s Reggae Knights iTunes purchase link.


For all press inquires or requests please contact Tiffany Mea. Thanks.

PR Contact:
Tiffany Mea
PH: 619-606-1059