Monday, October 27, 2014

where are you

eternal love (RIP val bent)

I got to know Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist Val Bent (born Rupert Valentine Bent) while producing the Jamaica to Toronto: Soul Funk & Reggae 1967-1974 compilation for Light in the Attic around 2004-5. He was back in Jamaica after living in Canada for many years, where he laid down some of the toughest soul and funk records this country has ever produced. Bent came to Toronto, Ontario, as a musician with the Sheiks in 1964, and decided to stay despite our chilly winters, a far cry the Jamaican sun. He became an important musical member of the city’s growing Caribbean community and a mentor to many young players. The Sheiks became the house band for Club Jamaica on Toronto’s busy Yonge Street, which acted as a second home to Bent. Manager Fitz Riley would cook up curry chicken for the patrons and musicians, which reminded Bent of his Jamaican roots. It was here that he first met another young Jamaican immigrant, Earle Heedram (aka The Mighty Pope), who quickly became the new lead vocalist for the Sheiks. Bent was knocked away by Heedram’s powerful voice and commanding stage presence. Together, they wrote and recorded “Eternal Love,” which was released as a 7” single on the Raymond Records label in 1967 (and subsequently featured on Jamaica to Toronto). Regardless of the record’s deep soul and passionate performances—listen for Bent’s twanging guitar and back up vocals—the record sank fast without radio or media support. Despite a lack of record sales, the Sheiks were trailblazing Jamaican-Canadians who brought their music throughout the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, even in the face of ignorant racism, which the group unfortunately encountered on occasion. After returning to Jamaica in the late 1960s for a series of performances (replete with “psychedelic light show”), both Bent and Heedram (along with Studio One alumni, drummer Joe Isaacs, and organ player Chris Scasserra) linked up with American transplant and rock and roll pioneer Frank Motley as the Hitch-Hikers featuring the Mighty Pope. Motley was active on Toronto’s bustling Yonge Street strip, which was filled with nightclubs, strip bars, and record stores, and where Bob Dylan first heard the Band, then performing as Levon and the Hawks. The Hitch-Hikers not only performed popular funk, soul, and pop covers by the like of Eddie Bo and the Beatles, but a series of Bent originals as well: “A Stranger in your Own World,” “Memory Lane,” “Smile Maria Smile,” “You Got the Green Light,” and his namesake “Hell Bent.” After Motley fell ill, the group gradually went their separate ways. Bent and Heedram picked up a couple of hippie musicians and formed the short-lived Wild Oats, but the unit never recorded. Apart from a series of minor regional recordings, Bent focused on live work and performed in Canada throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. After returning to Jamaica, Bent suffered a stroke and retired from the business. He returned to Toronto in 2006 for the now legendary Jamaica to Toronto reunion concert and once again sang back ups behind his musical brother Heedram on the mighty “Eternal Love.” Bent reportedly passed away in his sleep last week in Jamaica and he will be missed by many the world over. We send our best regards to his family and loved ones and count ourselves very lucky to have met his acquaintance. Val, we will miss your laughter and words over the coming years, but will champion your sound forever!

Eternal love,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

dada plan record release show TNT!@#$%!!!

digging avec sipreano

It Took This Paraplegic Man an Hour to Get an NYC Taxi

Re-post from my friend Scotty Hard:

If you're in a wheelchair, getting around New York City is no easy feat. Fewer than 20% of subway stations have elevators, and only 2% of the 13,000 yellow taxis are accessible. Most disabled New Yorkers are relegated to taking Access-A-Ride, which can be slow and unreliable.

We experience these daily transit challenges through Scotty Hard, a record and music promoter who became paralyzed in a hit-and-run accident in 2008. Like many people who are in a wheelchair, Scott has an active social and professional life, but lack of access to transit makes it difficult to be spontaneous and flexible.

In 2014 several disability advocacy groups won a landmark lawsuit — the settlement of which requires 50% of New York City’s taxi fleet be wheelchair accessible by 2020. This marks a major victory in the 17-year-long “Taxis For All” campaign. Unfortunately, the winner chosen by the Bloomberg administration’s widely publicized “Taxi of the Future” competition last year was one of the only models that was not wheelchair accessible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

poundmaker (1842-1886)

*MOR here

once again...

once again, i sit by the door.
the cold has set in. the heater must be turned on.
will it keep me warm throughout the fall and winter months?
i hope so.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985

*out Nov. 25, 2014 PEACE

Native North America (Vol. 1) album trailer

Over the last four years, I put my heart and soul into curating and producing an archival music project for Seattle/Los Angeles-based Light In The Attic Records. The goal was to bridge generations, cultures, and eras of technology while helping to share some of the most engaging songs and stories I’ve ever heard. Do you know the music and words of Willie Dunn, Shingoose or John Angaiak? How about Morley Loon, Eric Landry or The Chieftones? Well, now is the time! Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985 features 23 diverse Indigenous artists/groups in a lovingly assembled 3-LP/2-CD box set (also available through digital channels) w/ an extensive liner notes book including bios, original artwork, and period photographs. To me, music is about connecting with others in a positive way. It’s also about sharing and caring. If you like what you see/hear here, please spread the good word! 

BIG love, 

*more info, tracklisting, and audio samples at Light in the Attic Records