Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Eddy Grant

Today in Music History:

In 1969 the hotly anticipated, self-titled debut album by Led Zeppelin enters the album charts, ultimately reaching #10.
eddy grantOnce upon a time I went through this huge reggae phase. Actually you couldn't even call it that. Calypso, reggae, soca, dancehall, I was soaking it all up as fast as I could get hold of it. Some of my faves are Peter Tosh, Yellowman, Jimmy Cliff, Harry Belafonte and of course Eddy Grant. Some of you may be thinking what, no Marley? You're out of your mind homercat. Bob's ok, just not one of my favorites. Go figure.

Eddy Grant has had a huge career and he's been around forever. Most of you might remember his huge eighties hit, Electric Avenue. He's been making music since 1965 and is still recording today under his label Ice Records. Grant was born in Plaisance, Guyana, and when he was 12 the family emigrated to England. Eddy formed the band The Equals in 1965 after making a guitar in shop class and became the first of Britain's multiracial bands to receive any recognition. The Clash recorded an old Equals song on their album Sandinista. Police on My Back. In fact Grant was working his ass off with the band and also hhaving formed formed his own label, Torpedo Records, which concentrated on British reggae artists. On New Year's day in 1971, Grant, all of 23 years old, suffered a heart attack and a collapsed lung. Not because of any vices such as drugs or alcohol, he never touched the stuff and was a vegetarian. It was from pure overwork. He quit the group at this point and the Equals soldiered on into the shadows without him. He sold Torpedo as well and with the proceeds opened up his own recording studio, The Coach House, in 1972. Grant continued to produce other artists and release their records through his newly launched Ice label, finally releasing his first solo album in 1977. In 1979 he released his second Walking on Sunshine, which a lot of folks will say is one of the greatest albums of that decade. In 82 Grant made it huge with Electric Avenue which went big time in America and England. Grant eventually moved to Barbados where he has created his own mini empire with his Ice label. Besides giving new stars-to-be a helping hand, Grant also moved into music publishing, specializing in calypso's legends and unique among Caribbean artists, Grant has maintained control over his own music. Across Grant's solo career, the artist has continued to experiment with different styles in ever-changing combinations. Pop, funk, new wave, reggae, Caribbean, African, and even country have all been melded into his sound. His studio is at the center of his drive to record, promote and market Classic Calypso, Soca and ‘Ringbang’. A new genre that has taken the Caribbean by storm; a distinctly Caribbean musical concept that Grant has developed, that he loosely defines as a "bridge between rhythms, focusing one’s attention on rhythm and the part it plays internationally. What Ringbang seeks to do is envelop all the rhythms that have originated from Africa so that they become one.

So Eddy's been a busy dude all these years and I really dig his stuff. So let's check out some classic Caribbean rythms.

Give Me Hope Joanna by Eddy Grant
(File taken down, check current posts for some more great music)
It's All in You by Eddy Grant
(File taken down, check current posts for some more great music)

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Funny Toon

What's your favorite reggae tune or artist?
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