A Tribe Called Hip Hop

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10Ft Ganja Plant – Walkey Walk Tall

The Story Of The Plant

 It’s a sweltering hot day in 1999, we convene for the usual chalice and ital stew at 286 Beacon street in Somerville. Then suddenly a drum fill cracked and “Good News Dub” or as we like to call it “Why Can’t They Tell Us The Good News” was permeating the third floor living room. 10 Ft Ganja Plant from the start had many things to say. One was to play the only music we knew how and to give people something we felt was not heard a lot in the world today, roots reggae. Being collectors of the music we sought out many pieces of vintage equipment to make these records. I will never forget the first day the Ampeg 8X10 vibrated the house and the clavinet morphed through the wah-wah and phaser. When 10 Ft. began, its main intention was to get together and do song writing that would then be presented to another group of musicians- some of you may well know. As some of us were out touring with a familiar reggae band called John Brown’s Body we would get off the road and run to the studio; which at the time was called “Mang Studio” or as some of us called it, home. At Mang, everything was positive, and there was no stress to make music but more to relax and enjoy the company of our friends and family.

As we played music through the summer, frequently taking breaks to hit the rooftop to get a breath of fresh air we would get the next track ready. The amount of material we created began to grew quickly and something changed inside all of us. The album Presents debuted in 2000 and was released independently on I-Town Records. As we continued to build up an arsenal of music we decided to present the material we had recorded on two consumer JVC cassette decks to a friend. In doing so our relationship and family grew by introducing us to the well known record label ROIR. From here it encouraged us to grow as a group of friends, family, musicians and engineers. Signing with ROIR brought Hillside Airstrip in 2001 and introduced many new sounds and musicians to the record. From this point on the studio was like a revolving door of musicians cutting a track and passing it off. Midnight Landing arrived in 2003 reiterating the bands passion for roots deeply rooted in the mid to late 70′s. The bass got heavier and the drums bigger, the melodies stronger and the ganja smoke thicker. Bass Chalice was then released in 2005. As touring slowed for some, and life decisions took people into different parts of the world and realms of music. A short break was taken to gather the vibes, build a new studio and lay the foundation for what would become Bush Rock which was released in 2009. Reaching new levels of psychedelic sounds and heavy bass production brings us to where we are now. In talking recently, a few of us seemed to be in the same place of looking back to classic sounds of groups like The Upsetters, Silvertones, Pioneers, Gladiators, Gregory Isaacs, Lee Perry, The Maytones, Burning Spear and some of the greats that graced them such as Ernest Ranglin, Lynn Taitt, Jackie Mittoo, Carlton Barrett, Family Man and so many others. We decided in April of 2010 we would get together for a weekend and do a full instrumental record in conjunction with ROIR as a special digital release (and later hopefully to be released on vinyl) for the opening of the website and to give the people just a little more music to enjoy in the summer months to come. Keep your eyes and ears out for more of these spontaneous records to come as we begin work on the next full length record.

 Peace and Love, 10 Ft Ganja Plant

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July 28, 2010 Posted by | Reggae | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dr Alimantado – Born For A Purpose / Reason For Living

One of the best Reggae tunes iv’e ever heard, so smooth, soulful, the beat’s pure summer. Fact is Dr Alimantado hits the spot. Dr Alimantado, born Winston Thompson, also known as The Ital Surgeon (Kingston, 1952- present). He started to record very young under various names (Prince Winston, Winston Cool or Youth Winston). His first recordings were for Lee “Scratch” Perry and Bunny Lee – “Place Called Africa Version 3” and “Maccabee Version”. He returned to Lee Perry in 1976, recording the DJ portion of Devon Irons 12″ “Ketch Vampire”. Between 1971 and 1977 his singles were unreleased outside Jamaica, only being available in the UK on import. He built his reputation with tunes such as “Oil Crisis” ( versioning Horace Andy’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”), “Sons of Thunder”, (toasting over Jackie Brown’s “Wiser Dread”), “Gimme Mi Gun” on Gregory Isaacs’ “Thief a Man” and “Poison Flour”, on a recut of the Paragons “Man Next Door” rhythm. He mainly met success in the mid to late 1970s, with his best known album being Best Dressed Chicken in Town (1978), a Greensleeves Records collection of tracks recorded in the mid-70s, featuring Alimantado toasting over singers such as John Holt, Gregory Isaacs, Jackie Edwards and Horace Andy. His tunes mixed his Rastafarianism with commentary on events then going on in his community; “Poison Flour” referenced a recent incident when a number of local Kingstonians had been poisoned by eating bread made with contaminated flour. Alimantado became popular with punk rockers in the ’70s following Johnny Rotten praising him in an interview. He was mentioned in The Clash song Rudie Can’t Fail in the line “Like the doctor who was born for a purpose”.

Alimantado’s biggest hits were “A Place Called Africa” and “Born for a Purpose”. The latter song was originally released on his Vital Food label, and told of his Rastafarian faith supporting him after bus driver had driven into him in Kingston on December 26th 1976, causing serious injuries. The musicians who played on the record did so without payment. The single, and its accompanying version “Still Alive” were released in the UK firstly as two 7″ 45s, then as a 12″, featuring the full extended mixes. By 1977 he had largely abandoned his toasting style, apart from occasional records such as “Go Deh Natty Go Deh” on a heavily dubbed mix of Delroy Wilson’s “Trying to Conquer Me”, preferring to release singing tunes, including “Mama (I Thank You)”, “Jah Love Forever”, and a cover of Billy Stewart’s “Sitting In the Park”.

 

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Reggae | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment