Photo Courtesy of Jammyland
Here’s a gem of a record I got in the dollar bin at some charity shop this past week. I also pulled out some more heavy Reggae, plus some 80’s private press Hip Hop 12’s, and some early 70’s 12″ Disco Funk. More on every one of those records in the upcoming months. For now, we’ve got Sammy Dread with “Dreadlocks Queen” from his 1982 Hit Bound Lp Road Block.
Born Stewart Farquharson in Greenwich Town, in Kingston, JA, he became Sammy Dread and never looked back. Catching a break to work with Sugar Minott singing back up, Sammy also had released a single of his own, “African Girl” on the Roots Tradition label. Recording for a variety of labels: Channel One, Heartbeat, Jah Life, Sammy Dread International, Black Solidarity, Black Roots, and Freedom Sounds among others, his 7″, 12″ and 10″ output is definitely impressive. Working with Reggae notables like Joe Gibbs, Dennis Brown, Tony Tuff, Tappa Zuike, Barrington Levy, Dennis Brown and more, Sammy Dread is a definite success in Reggae music. One tune that would get lots of play was “Bad Boy (M-16)”, and the subsequent M-16 riddim ensued. It wouldn’t hurt that he was name checked and big upped by The Fat Boys in their ’83 “Hardcore Reggae” record, which got the name Sammy Dread on people’s minds. Dread kept releasing records until the late 90’s, where he went MIA for a while only to reappear about 10 years later. Sammy Dread picked up where he left off, making music, spreading a positive vibe, and releasing good music.
“ Everybody is an artist in Jamaica, so you always have to find a tune that’s above other tunes. If you don’t do that, after three or four months, no one hears you. Look how long I’m in the business, and it’s just the love of people, my fans. ”
Known primarily for this 1982 Road Block Lp on Hit Bound (Channel One) which this side is from, “Dreadlocks Queen” uses Eric Donaldson’s “Cherry Oh Baby” riddim. Sammy Dread mashes up the lyrics as a tribute to the love for his dreadlock girl. A great use of this riddim, which has also been used by the Lone Ranger for “Sat Upon the Rock” (produced by Ernest Hoo Kim) among others. The side was recorded at Channel One and produced by SOJIE in Jamaica and backed by the Radics, which included Style Scott on Drums, Errol “Flabba” Holt on bass, Bingy Bunny and Dwight Pickney on guitars, Gladdy Anderson on piano, Steely on organ, and Christopher “Sky Juice” Burt with added percussion. In my opinion, they don’t make music like Sammy Dread did back in the early 80’s. In fact, Reggae music doesn’t have the stars like they used to, that’s why it’s important to preserve music like this, and keep the fires burning. Sammy Dread keeps the fire of Jah burning through this music. We’re just glad to help.
Here’s a Sammy Dread interview from 2011 from MadVibez Radio out of Toronto.