I was checking out the iTunes Top Reggae Albums chart. As usual, the top of the chart is dominated by Bob Marley, Bob Marley and The Wailers and we see the pre-sale of Ziggy Marley’s new release “Fly Rasta” at #3. As you scan down the chart you can see the likes of Jamaican artists Collie Buddz, Shaggy, Gregory Isaacs, Sizzla, Barrington Levy, Toots and The Maytals, Jimmy Cliff and course Damian and Stephen Marley.
Then, there is the new generation of non-Jamaican reggae artists in the top 40 albums. Most were born in California, USA. Included in that list are Rebelution (Santa Barbara, Ca.), Iration (Isla Vista, Ca.) and Tribal Seeds (San Diego, Ca.). I noticed one band omitted from the reggae chart that is very popular, also out of San Diego, the band Slightly Stoopid. This band is listed under the Alternative music category but, certainly could be in the reggae genre.
Other reggae bands on the charts that are from the next generation American reggae artists/bands are SOJA, Matisyahu, J. Boog and The Green (both from Hawaii).
My band Island Head are an instrumental reggae band and most of us are from New York, Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung is from Kingston, Jamaica and David Frank is from Los Angeles, Ca.
Island Head performed this past week for a mostly Jamaican audience in New York. They played extended versions of the entire “Punky Reggae Party” album along with some classic reggae music. Besides the Bob Marley covers the band usually does they jammed on tracks from a Studio One album entitled “Downbeat The Ruler”. The band selected “Darker Than Black” and “Swing Easy” by Soul Vendors, “Tunnel One”by Tommy McCook and “Heavy Rock” from Sound Dimension. The musicians took these grooves to new highs with guitar, keyboard, sax and trumpet solos.
This was the first gig where the Island Head musicians added some vocal songs to their set. Saxophonist Timmy Cappello displayed his vocal abilities on the classics “I Shall Be Released” (Bob Dylan) and “Baby I Need Your Loving” both covered by The Heptones. But, the vocal performance that brought the house down was Cappello’s version of “House of The Rising Sun”.
Island Head keyboardist, David Frank had a number one hit with his band The System called “Don’t Disturb This Groove”. The audience instantly recognized the signature keyboard riff of their reggae version.
The band’s live show is constantly evolving. Stay tuned for upcoming Island Head band performances.
Click the links below to see videos from the band’s performance at The Cutting Room in New York City.
“So Much Trouble In The World”
“I Shot The Sheriff”