Monthly Archives: March 2013

Island Head’s “Punky Reggae Party” Still Raging

by Midnight Raver Blog

So I just finished listening to the new Island Head album called ‘Punky Reggae Party.’  They were recently interviewed on Dermot Hussey’s show and I had to give them a listen.  Many thanks to Billy Messinetti of Island Head for getting me a copy of the album “with the quickness.”

The album “Punky Reggae Party” by Island Head is composed primarily of Bob Marley compositions. It is fundamentally reggae but, it is all instrumental with a unique approach. The melodies are shared by trumpet, sax, guitar and keyboard.

The first thing that struck me when I looked at the track listing was that they included some heavy Bob Marley and the Wailers tunes.  You expect to see a “One Love” or “Three Little Birds” when a band seeks to cover Marley songs.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they selected some of my favorite Marley tunes like “So Much Trouble In The World,” “Wake Up and Live,” “Punky Reggae Party,” and “Burnin’ and Lootin.’”  This should be interesting…Covering Marley is a daunting task.  No, let me rephrase that.  For seasoned musicians, covering Marley may not be that hard, however, pulling it off is a whole different story.  These songs carry a heavy vibe.  A vibe that each of us has carried with us for many years.  It is therefore very difficult to pull off playing these songs and having them sound, and feel, authentic.

The next thing that catches the eye is the names of the Island Head musicians.  The two guitarists are legendary reggae players – Andy Bassford (Toots & The Maytals) and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung (Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru). Neil Jason (bass) was in John Lennon’s band and David Frank (keys) played on many hits such as “Sussudio” and “Higher Love”. Tim Cappello (sax) is famous from his years with Tina Turner and Don Harris (trumpet) played with the Allman Brothers, Tower of Power and Nile Rodgers & Chic.

According to Billy Messinetti percussionist “a passion for reggae and love for musicians interacting and jamming are why Island Head was created. The album was recorded live and allows the musicians a chance to step out, yet it is very listenable. It was mixed by Grammy award winning engineer/producer Dave O’Donnell at Germano Studios, NYC.”

I can tell you this.  These musicians can play.  They not only know the songs inside and out, they feel this music.  The authenticity of this album bled right through my Sennheisers, into my ears, and I felt these songs through and through.  This is no Delixx take on Marley.  It is different.  It has a jazzy vibe to it.  However, the strength of the songs, the talent of these musicians, and the organic connection they share with each other, keeps this album standing strong inna Babylon!

“So Much Trouble in the World” is currently in regular rotation on SiriusXM The Joint. Pat McKay, program director said;

“Island Head is an important project to reggae. It’s always great to have substantive, high art. This work contributes to reggae’s growth. Reminds others of what it really is and what is still possible. I feel so especially blessed to share this brilliant work with our audience.”

The entire album has been featured in Jamaica on the show ‘Riffin’ by our good friend and legendary radio host Dermot Hussey and on a Philadelphia radio show “Sounds of the Caribbean.”

link to this article on Midnight Ravers blog

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Island Head musicians

ISLAND HEAD ALBUM GIF

ISLAND HEAD – “PUNKY REGGAE PARTY”

reggae – jam band – jazz – island music – are all terms used to describe the instrumental debut album by Island Head.  Below are the songs from the album written by Bob Marley except for “Reggae Island”, the single.

1 – I Shot The Sheriff (Bob Marley)

2 – So Much Trouble In The World (Bob Marley)

3 – Reggae Island (Billy Messinetti & Don Harris)

4 – Wake Up And Live (Bob Marley)

5 – Get Up Stand Up (Bob Marley & Peter Tosh)

6 – Punky Reggae Party (Bob Marley & Lee “Scratch” Perry)

7 – Burnin’ and Lootin’ (Bob Marley)

click on ‘MUSICIANS LINK’ to read bios of Island Head musicians

Radio Adds for Island Head’s “Punky Reggae Party”

Island Head music on the radio started with SiriusXM The Joint Program Director Pat McKay playing “So Much Trouble In The World”, a Bob Marley cover.  All three of the station’s DJs continue to play Island Head – Jabba, Dermot Hussey and Pat McKay herself.  Sounds of the Caribbean with Keith Rowe & Selecta Jerry jumped at the chance to add the album to their radio playlist.  Keith even uses various cuts from the album as “bumper” music for his announcements.  “Jaybird” Varga from Endless Boundaries Jam Radio on the same radio station heard Island Head on Keith’s show.  He liked the “jamband” aspect of the album so much that he started his very next show with “Burnin’ and Lootin'”, another Marley song.  Both Keith’s and “Jaybird’s” shows can be heard on Burlington County College 88.9 FM in S. Jersey & Philadelphia (stream here Radio Z889).

Dan the Cableman has a show on Centenary College Radio called Reggae & World Rhythms 91.9 FM in Central New Jersey that streams on www.wnti.org.  Andy Bassford and Billy Messinetti, guitarist and drummer, respectively, were interviewed and guest DJ’ed while the Cableman played “Reggae Island”, the single from the album, “I Shot The Sheriff” and the title cut “Punky Reggae Party”.

Chuck Foster from radio KPFK 90.7 FM UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) has a show called Reggae Central who has added Island Head to the playlist.  If you are in the Tampa Florida area you can listen to WMNF 88.5 FM Community Radio (stream at www.wmnf.org). In Upstate New York we are on WVKR 91.3 FM Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.  One of their shows is “Splinters & Candy” World Music with Alex Brown.  Our newest addition today is Radio CUH Chaminade University Hawaii.  If you are off the island you can listen here  http://radiocuh.org.

Island Head would like to thank all these stations for their continued support.  Big Up from all the Island Head musicians!!  Maximum Respect!!!