Category Archives: jam band

Relix Review of “Punky Reggae Party”

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Hearing reggae songs sans vocals is always an interesting experience.  But, without words to draw listeners in, interesting can’t always equal good, especially if the band lacks chemistry and forgets the cardinal rule; Riddim first. Thankfully, New York-based band Island Head gets the vibe right with Punky Reggae Party, featuring mostly a choice selection of Bob Marley covers.  Blessed with a seasoned line-up of reggae and R&B vets, including drummer Billy Messinetti, keyboardist David Frank, and guitarists Andy Bassford and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung, the band digs into classics as the title track, “I Shot The Sheriff” and the original laid-back jam “Reggae Island”.  The band frequently flexes their muscles a bit on solos, but their vocal-like quality feels tasteful and natural – always rocking steady and never forgetting to keep the party going.  James Haag – Relix Magazine

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“So Much Trouble In The World” by Island Head musicians

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ISLAND HEAD musicians “So Much Trouble In The World” continues to be added reggae radio playlists throughout the world.  This unique version of the Bob Marley classic song has resonated with reggae music fans and Wailers fans.  The album “PUNKY REGGAE PARTY” hit #100 on the iTunes reggae albums chart.

Reggae – jam band – jazz – island music – are all terms used to describe the instrumental debut album by Island Head.  Below are the Bob Marley songs from the album along with “Reggae Island”, written by Billy Messinetti and Don Harris.

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 on Endless Boundaries Jamband Radio

Island Head has been featured on the jamband radio program “Endless Boundaries”.  Host Jason “Jaybird” Varga is the creator of the show.  He plays music by jambands Phish, Dave Matthews Band, moe., Tedeschi Trucks Band, Grateful Dead, The Disco Biscuits, Pearl Jam, Umphreys McGee and reggae artists like 10Ft. Ganja Plant, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and of course, Bob Marley and The Wailers.

To date, Island Head can mostly be heard on reggae music radio.  But, on the last two EB shows, Jaybird opened with Island Head musicians jamming to “Burnin’ and Lootin'” and “So Much Trouble in the World”, respectively.  The show can be heard on Z889, 88.9 FM in Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia on Saturday evenings at 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM EST.

Podcasts of his shows can be downloaded on iTunes (see link below).

iTunes link to download podcasts of Endless Boundaires shows

Z889 website for streaming Endless Boundaires Burlington County College Radio

Dermot Hussey interviews Billy Messinetti from Island Head

Legendary Jamaican radio personality Dermot Hussey’s interview with drummer/producer Billy Messinetti will air Friday February 8, 2013 on the Jamaican radio station Newstalk 93 (www.newstalk.com.jm) at 7:00 PM.

Dermot’s rise to fame was fueled by his famous interview with Bob Marley.

The interview includes a discussion about the making of the album “Punky Reggae Party’, Island Head musicians, Bob Marley, reggae music of today and yesterday and how the Island Head musicians got together.  Find out why this jamband chose to make instrumental versions of Bob Marley songs.

If you do not live in Jamaica you can stream it online with this link: www.newstalk.com.jm

If you miss it you can listen here: interview link

Punky Reggae Party album review

The reggae jamband Island Head, is getting a lot attention for their debut album “Punky Reggae Party”.  Bob Marley songs are re-worked into instrumentals that are destined to make these songs classics, again.

Track 1:  “I Shot The Sheriff” has a groove that crosses dancehall and rock with strong rock guitars and jazzy saxophone.  Sax player Tim Cappello, of Tina Turner fame, plays his butt off (plain and simple).  He has a fat tenor sound with tons of expression and excitement!

Track 2: “So Much Trouble In The World” takes the bass line from the original and pushes it further with a backbeat on the drums.  Bass player extraordinaire, Neil Jason pays tribute to the original bass player on the Survival album, Val Douglas.  Val, of the famous Skatalites, was scheduled to play on the album.  Due to his touring schedule with the Skatalites he could not make any of the band’s sessions.  When the track gets to Andy Bassford’s guitar solo the song is lifted to new heights.  Andy is well-known for playing with Toots & The Maytals for 23 years.

Track 3: The single, “Reggae Island” is a pop/top 40 sounding instrumental that just makes the listener feel good.  This is the only one not penned by Marley.

track 4: “Wake Up and Live”, also from Marley’s Survival album appears on the Island Head record.  This is where the band’s funk influence comes out.  Trumpet player Don Harris used to tour with Tower of Power and brought out some TOP in his arrangements.

Track 5: “Get Up Stand Up” sounds like Miles Davis got together with Bob Marley.  Harris’ muted trumpet is sultry, sexy and relaxing.  Miles would be proud because his influence is very apparent.

Track 6: The title track combines Jamaican Rocksteady with synth-dance music.  The synthesizer sounds played by one of the most famous synth players in the world, David Frank of The System.

Track 7: “Burnin’ and Lootin'” is the final track which is more traditional roots reggae.  The groove is deadly and “dirty funky”!  Andy Bassford does some finger-picking melodies in the second verse that are complex and interesting.  The track ends with Andy and Tim weaving in and out of each other’s licks.

Mickey “Mao” Chung, famous for his tenure with Peter Tosh of the Wailers plays incredible melodies throughout the entire album.  Mikey also played with Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards when Keith used to live in Jamaica.  Keith also mentions Mikey in his biography, “Life”.  Producer Billy Messinetti says; Mikey added a Jamaican authenticity to the album.  The combination of the guitar playing of Andy Bassford and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung is one of the things that makes this album so interesting to listen to.  When Pat McKay, program director for SiriusXM’s reggae station The Joint, heard about this collaboration she said; I know both Andy and Mikey, they are geniuses!

You can find this very interesting musical hybrid here: Island Head on iTunes

Twitter page @Islandheadband is getting followers from all over the world.