Congratulations to Island Head’s guitarist Andy Bassford for his contributions to the album, Sting & Shaggy “44/876”. The album won the Grammy for “Reggae Album of the Year” in 2019. Andy not only played guitar on 4 songs, he also co-wrote the songs he played on.
For years Andy has worked on almost every Shaggy recording project. Shaggy’s producer, who goes by the moniker Sting International, was brought on to produce the album. He brought in his regular rhythm section players that he uses on his reggae sessions, including Andy. Sting was excited to work with authentic reggae musicians of such high caliber. And, the rest, as they say, is history. History for sure with the winning of the Grammy.
P.S. 44/876 refers to the country codes to phone the countries of Jamaica and England.
Here is the link to the video of Island Head’s version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot The Sheriff”. This reggae classic was originally recorded by Bob Marley and The Wailers. Island Head recorded an instrumental version of the song with a unique arrangement including a guitar solo by Andy Bassford and sax solo by Tim Cappello. Other band members include drummer Billy Messinetti, trumpet player Don Harris, keyboard player David Frank, guitarist Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung and bass player Neil Jason.
The video is basically a photo montage of the recording sessions and the making of the album.
You can go out and hear some Irish music on St. Patrick’s Day or you can do what they do in the Caribbean, jam with a reggae band!
Island Head will be performing at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY. Make your reservations early for Friday March 17, 2017. The band always packs this fantastic club. But, because it is St. Patrick’s Day we are expecting a sell-out performance. You will want to get there before the 8:00pm downbeat for dinner. The food is quite good!
David Frank, Dave O’Donnell (Punky Reggae Party mix engineer), Billy Messinetti
Thank you to all who came out to see Island Head at The Falcon! What a fantastic night, so much fun!! Special thanks to Island Head’s keyboard player, David Frank. David flew in from LA to do this gig because he just loves playing the music with this group of amazing players.
The band opened the night with classic Jamaican instrumentals from the Studio One collection called “Tunnel One” by legendary reggae sax player, Tommy McCook and “Darker Shade of Black” by Soul Vendors. The latter is actually an excerpt from The Beatles song “Norwegian Wood”.
When Sax player/vocalist Timmy Cappello introduced the band’s version of “Baby I Need Your Loving” by The Four Tops he said; “We have such a symbiotic relationship with Jamaican reggae musicians and artists. They write songs, we make them our own. We write songs and they give that grace and that thrust with a whole new feel”.
One of the highlights of the band’s set was their version of “Freedom” by Richie Havens. The groove was kind of a Soca/Reggae thing which had the whole crowd on their feet. Don and Timmy took advantage of their wireless clip-on microphones and were dancing with the audience and played amazing solos.
Keyboard player David Frank’s band, The System had a big hit called “Don’t Disturb This Groove”. Island Head did a version with a groove called “”Rockers” that was originated by the legendary drummer/bassist duo Sly & Robbie. “Rockers” is kind of a half-time feel with the bass drum playing quarter notes (4 on the floor).
Of course, the band played most of the songs from their album “Punky Reggae Party” that has been heard on reggae radio especially SiriusXM “The Joint” channel 42. They closed the set with a furious version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” that featured an energetic funky drum solo by Billy. The crowd would not let the band leave so quickly and demanded an encore.
The encores included the classic “House of The Rising Sun” done Island Head reggae style. The final song took the audience by surprise as the band ripped into a cool reggae version of “Kiss” by Prince. There was not one person left sitting!
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
Island Head played to a packed SRO crowd at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY this past Saturday night. The band featured Timmy Cappello on sax and lead vocals, Andy Bassford as well as reggae legend Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung on guitars, bandleader Billy Messinetti on drums, Jeff Ganz on bass, James K. Smith on trumpet (subbing for Don Harris) and Mitch Margold on keyboards (subbing for David Frank). Both James and Mitch have played with Island Head before so the reggae groove had the right pulse!
The band played their versions of classic Bob Marley songs as performed on their album “Punky Reggae Party” as heard on SiriusXM radio The Joint. Other songs performed included “Baby I Need Your Loving” by The Four Tops, “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan and the classic “House of The Rising Sun”.
They surprised the audience with two new songs to the set. “Take Me To The River” was done uptempo to almost a ska beat. One of the most interesting arrangements was the band’s rendition of Richie Haven’s Woodstock classic “Freedom” to a soca-like groove. Timmy tore the house down with these two songs. Whew!!
Check back here at IslandHeadReggae.com for information about getting a copy of the live recording of the show.
Island Head’s next live gig is Saturday November 21, 2015 at a fantastic venue called The Falcon.
Island Head’s trumpet player Don Harris and bass player Neil Jason played The Falcon with Blues Brothers’ guitar player John Tropea. Island Head bandleader/ drummer Billy Messinetti attended the show and was very impressed with the club and the whole concept of what they have going on. Don and Billy had a conversation with owner Tony Falco. Tony said, “people say we don’t have enough reggae music or reggae bands in the club”. All agreed Island Head would be a great fit.
The band will have legendary guitarist Mikey “Mao” Chung in from Jamaica, keyboardist/producer David Frank is flying in from Los Angeles and guitarist Andy Bassford is returning that day from his tour with Jamaican Jazz pianist Monty Alexander.
Island Head will be playing their own versions of Bob Marley compositions, tracks from Jamaican Reggae Producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One Rocksteady and Reggae classics. Island Head’s bass player Jeff Ganz is a student of these classics and the bass is the foundation of those grooves. The band will also throw in some American classics with a reggae feel sung by Saxophonist Timmy Cappello. Timmy had been touring the states appearing at “Mad Monster Parties”. These are “meet and greet” conventions for fans of vampire movies. Timmy performed the theme song “I Still Believe” in the vampire movie classic “The Lost Boys” and is well-known by fans of the movie.
Tony Falco is an avid supporter of great music and fine art. There is something going on at The Falcon almost every night. Tony finds very talented and interesting acts. Besides hosting live music you can find artwork from local painters hanging on the walls that Tony encourages his patrons to purchase. Some of the finest musicians in the world have sought out The Falcon to perform there. They have a large stage suitable for a small concert hall.
Come hungry because they offer a terrific menu, fine wine and beer selections. The restaurant supports farms that practice sustainable agriculture.
We will see you there on Nov 21. Doors open at 7PM.
Click here for more information about the show: SHOW LINK