In light of the massive Dub Invasion Festival the next week or so in Boston and New York, headlined by the Upsetter himself Lee “Scratch” Perry, I figured I’d dig deep into my Reggae crates and put out a side that I got a while ago and have been sitting on for a Reggae mix. I scooped up a bunch of Reggae 45’s and the guy asked if I was interested in 10″ records. I mean, I’ll take the tune in any format that I can get it, so of course I said yes. The side we have here is Sister Carol and “International Style” on Jah Life Records.
Born Carol Theresa East in 1959 in Kingston, Jamaica, Sister Carol started out in the ghetto of Denham Town. With a music scene forming before her eyes, Sister Carol worked her way from the ghetto to international Reggae artists. Her father worked for Radio Jamaica Rediffusion (the number one radio in Jamaica at the time) and was a huge contributor to Treasure Island and Studio One studios, working regularly with Coxsone Dodd. In the early 70’s Sister Carol would move to Brooklyn, NY, where the Dancehall scene was about to burst. Through a series of talent contests here in the States as well as in Kingston, Carol would be offered a slot in the Mediations, harmony back up for the legendary Bob Marley. This opened the door for releasing her own records, Liberation for Africa on Serious Gold, and Black Cinderella on Jah Life. These releases led her to be a dominant female force in the Reggae scene, winning best female DJ for 5 years straight in the 80’s. She furthered her career by establishing her own Black Cinderella label in 1989. An educator, mother, grandmother, and leader in life, as well as in Reggae music, “Mother Culture” has made her mark in an industry mostly dominated by males. Her social awareness and cultural preservation through her music has kept her on top in not only Reggae music, but in life itself.
“ Call mi Sister Carol/Mi come fe educate and eradicate hate/Ism and schism I will kick and we nuh respect debate ”- Sister Carol
“International Style” has got that bass line (played by Paul Henton), and backed by the band the I Life Players, that keeps you bobbing your head from the first minute. Moving through different styles but still spreading her gospel of positive vibes so “the youths dem prosper”, this one lights up the dancehall and ensures that the crowd did not pack up and park when this came on the sound system. Apparently pressed up on a few different labels, this particular version of the song doesn’t start with the bass line, but a drum roll. Either way you will dig it. Sister Carol continues to make music, act, educate dem youths, and to me uttered one of the greatest lines ever: “What the world needs now, is Dub sweet Dub…..no not just for some, but for everyone”.
Also available on 45, (with a sweet Spiderman label to boot), I will be keeping my eye out for this one as well. If you’re in NYC or Boston, check out this festival: