June 22, 2005 — Big Ship Inc., King of Kings Promotions, and the Reichhold Center for the Arts will present "Rock Steady Meets Reggae" on Friday, July 22 on St. Croix at the Randall "Doc" James Racetrack and on Saturday, July 23 on St. Thomas at the Lionel Roberts Stadium. Both performances begin at 8 p.m. sharp!
In celebration of the 113th birthday of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, some of the most influential and powerful reggae, ska and rock steady artists will come together in "Rock Steady Meets Reggae."
"The past four years in Florida were very successful and attracted music lovers from across the globe," said Freddie McGregor, the concert's project manager. "This year we looked at a new location for the event, and we decided to do it in the Virgin Islands," he added.
Artists scheduled to perform at one of the largest reggae events ever to come to the Virgin Islands include Freddie McGregor, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, George Nooks, Iley Dread, Richie Stephens, and the Virgin Islands very own Pressure. All performing artists will be backed by the Millennium Band.
McGregor, an internationally acclaimed classic reggae entertainer, songwriter and producer, is considered to be one of Jamaicas most consistent recording artists.
In March 2005 McGregor's smooth, remarkable sound wowed a sell-out crowd at the Virgin Islands Reichhold Center.
McGregor has over 40 successful years in the music business, and in 1989 he launched his own Big Ship record label with Jamaica Classics Volume One as the first major release.
Alton Ellis is one of Jamaicas early recording pioneers. He predates Bob Marley and is considered be to one of the greatest and most soulful singers the island nation has produced. Ellis had his first hit during the ska craze but is better known as the definitive solo singer of the rock steady genre.
From his recording of "Muriel," with Eddy Perkins in 1959, through major hits like "Dance Crasher" and the first rock steady single, "Get Ready Rock Steady," and Rastafarian-tinged hits like "Lord Deliver Us" and "Back to Africa," his infectious vocals are smooth yet passionate.
Ken Boothe, another popular and soulful singer of the rocksteady era, began his recording career with Winston "Stranger" Cole. As a duo during the early '60s, Cole and Boothe released "Worlds Fair," "Hush," "Artibella" and "All Your Friends." Subsequent recordings revealed Boothe as an impassioned, fiery vocalist with a mannered style derived from U.S. soul. Other Boothe hits include "Say You," "Freedom Street" and "Why Baby Why."
His work with pianist/vocalist/producer Lloyd Charmers in the 1970s produced a series of hits on the Jamaican and U.K. charts.
George Nooks is one of the most innovative artists of his time. His reggae remake of "God Is Standing By," originally done by Ben E. King and covered by Al Green, made it The Star newspapers record of the Year in 2002.
After being discovered in 1972, Nooks' first release in 1974 was entitled "The Creator." Nooks has done over 20 albums with Standing By his most successful to date.
Iley Dread — aka Colin Levy — is a painter, producer, writer, recording artist and founder of the successful recording label King of Kings. Dreads first single, "Flowers Of My Garden," put him directly in the music scene. On his own label, Dread scored multiple hits with stars like Norris Man, Sizzla, Capelton, Gregory Isaacs, Glen Washington, Dennis Brown, Beenie Man and others.
Richie Stephens is a remarkable entertainer who started out with Motown Records and was a singer for "Soul II Soul" in the early '90s. Stephens then turned his career toward reggae, ska, and contemporary gospel. A dancehall singer with a distinctly rich, soulful voice, he shines brightest when he croons a fun melody over an uptempo, dancehall rhythm. On his most notable album, "Winner," his style is clearly evident in "Imply Skimpy," "Bus the Place," "Weakness for Sweetness," and his pseudo-operatic hit "Slop Dem."
Along with the international artists set to perform, local entertainers, such as Pressure from St. Thomas, will also perform for both events.
On St. Croix, tickets are available at Urban Threadz, U.V.I Bookstore, Peoples Drugstore and Alliance Clothing.
On St. Thomas, tickets are at Modern Music (both locations), Krystal Gifts Galore, Urban Threadz, Parrot Fish and ticketing services at the Reichhold Center for the Arts. Tickets are also available on Tortola at Kuandas Record Shop, Papies Gas Station, and Smith Ferry Services in Roadtown.
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