Top Reggae Albums – March 2014 (blog)

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 Musicians Band Live in NYC – “So Much Trouble In The World”

Island Head reggae band’s live performance of Bob Marley’s “So Much Trouble in the World”.  The studio version can be heard on the album “Punky Reggae Party”. This performance is from the summer of 2013 at The Cutting Room in New York City.

Band members include Andy Bassford and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung on guitars, Timmy Cappello on sax, James K. Smith on trumpet, Jeff Ganz on bass, Mike Mancini on keyboards and Billy Messinetti on drums.  The studio version of “So Much Trouble in the World” can be heard on the Island Head album “Punky Reggae Party”. Island Head is also known as Island Head Band and Island Head Musicians.

Listen to the reggae radio station on SiriusXM channel 42 “The Joint” and hear the live in-studio versions of “Punky Reggae Party”, “Burnin’ and Lootin'” and “So Much Trouble in the World”.  The session was recorded the same day as The Cutting Room show.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTATvUQL6MM

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Pictured (left to right) Timmy Cappello, Jeff Ganz, Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung and Andy Bassford

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Andy Bassford (guitarist)

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Pat McKay (program director for The Joint with Island Head)

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James K. Smith (trumpet player)

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Mike Mancini (keyboard player)

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Billy Messinetti (drummer)

Island Head reggae band/musicians

“Punky Reggae Party” by Island Head band/musicians

Here is what Pat McKay, SiriusXM program director for channel 42 “The Joint” 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.” 

“Inspired concept, great playing and a real feel for the music makes Island Head’s Punky Reggae Party a top quality, excellent release highly recommended to strengthen the heart and soothe the soul. A winner!“–Chuck Foster, host of Reggae Central on KPFK-LA, author of Roots Rock Reggae: An Oral History of Reggae Music From Ska To Dancehall (Billboard Books) and The Small Axe Guide To Rock Steady (Muzik Tree).

“Island Head musicians, tastefully demonstrate that a fresh perspective can still be brought to Bob Marley music.”  Dermot Hussey, legendary reggae radio personality and author of “Bob Marley, Reggae King of The World”.

“I have heard a lot of Wailers over the years and Island Head are one of the few bands that have an original take on the music.  It’s Island Head Hipreggaejazzrockvibe.” – Cableman Dan, host of “Reggae & World Rhythms” on WNTI-FM

Island Head Musicians (Band) – Instrumental Reggae

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Island Head visited SiriusXM Studios in New York City where they performed three songs exclusively for the reggae radio station “The Joint” on channel 42.  Program director Pat McKay hosted an interview with the band.  “We had so much fun hangin’ with Pat.  We had a lot of laughs and she is so cool”, said sax player Timmy Cappello.  Pat teased Timmy about his on-stage sexual innuendos during his touring days with Tina Turner.  Pat said; “She came on to you, didn’t she”?  The room burst into laughter as Timmy said; “I ain’t sayin’ nothin'”.

When it came time to play the band got serious as they did new versions of “Burnin’ and Lootin’ and “Punky Reggae Party”, both Bob Marley and The Wailers covers.  The band’s instrumental version of Bob Marley’s “So Much Trouble in the World” has been airing for months on The Joint.  Now, the live version is also being aired.

You can catch all three live performances on SiriusXM as well as some studio cuts from the album “Punky Reggae Party”.

Listen to the album here

Pictured below is Program Director Pat McKay during soundcheck

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Latest Radio Interview with Island Head on WVKR

Listen to the latest Island Head reggae band radio interview on WVKR Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.  DJ host Calvin with drummer/producer Billy Messinetti.  Go to the “Interviews” link in the website menu above.  Calvin and Billy discuss the musicians, reggae music, Bob Marley and The Wailers, the jamband and jazz aspects and some other fun stuff.  They listen to “So Much Trouble in the World” and “Burnin’ and Lootin”.

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

Island Head musicians

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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!!!

Island Head – “Punky Reggae Party”

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ISLAND HEAD – “PUNKY REGGAE PARTY”

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 in the menu to read bios of Island Head musicians

Sounds of the Caribbean – Are you an Island Head?

Keith Rowe of Z889 radio is the host of Sounds of the Caribbean radio show.  He plays the best of roots reggae, lover’s rock, dancehall and soca music.  Since April 1995, Keith’s show has been a beacon on the airwaves warming the South Jersey and Philadelphia areas with Caribbean styles.  Lately, Mr. Rowe has been showing love to the band Island Head.  The album “Punky Reggae Party” has been used as “bumper” music for voice-overs as well as featuring this instrumental  reggae band.  The song that has been grabbing a lot of attention lately has been Bob Marley’s “So Much Trouble in the World”.

After hearing Island Head on Sounds of the Caribbean, DJ “Jaybird” Vargo of Endless Boundaries Jam Band Radio started loving the album.  He loved it so much he started his very next broadcast with “Burnin and Lootin”.

Be sure to tune in this Saturday February 9 for a special show celebrating Bob Marley’s birthday.

Sounds of the Caribbean can be heard Saturdays from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM on Z889 Burlington County College.  You can also stream the show online here Z889