Mi Yard present
"Captain of the Ship Tour" ft. Freddie McGregor w/ Chino
188 Main Street
Burlington, VT, 05401
Doors 9:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
Of the legendary, first-generation reggae pioneers that remain with us, very few have a résumé as deep or a career as celebrated as that of Freddie McGregor—a man who has not only been a part of reggae music through every stage of its development, but has also helped to shape it at virtually every stage.
Freddie was on the scene from the earliest days of ska; as a seven-year-old boy he joined the popular duo the Clarendonians, standing on a crate onstage in order to sing his harmony parts into the adult-sized microphone. Having established his vocal talent and his stagecraft at such an early age, he then went on to record for the legendary Studio One during the glory days of rock steady and early reggae, singing for the Generation Gap and for the great Soul Syndicate band. This was the period during which his voice fully matured into the instantly-recognizable vehicle of smooth and soulful uplift known to millions of music lovers today. It was also a time of development for his songwriting skill; romantic reggae ballads like "Go Away Pretty Girl" and "What Difference Does It Make" emerged during this period, while he also continued working behind other artists as both a drummer and a backup singer.
After he converted to Rastafarianism in his late teens, his musical vision shifted focus: with the help of legendary guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith (with whom Freddie had worked in the Soul Syndicate) he began to produce more serious work, including such classics of the roots-and-culture genre as "Rastaman Camp" and "Mark of the Beast," and went on to make more great records with Niney the Observer, Coxsone Dodd, and Linval Thompson. At the end of the 1980s he established his own recording studio and record label, called Big Ship, and produced early recordings by up-and-coming conscious reggae artists of the time like Mikey Spice and Luciano.
Reggae music is filled with talented singers, but few who have both the vocal technique and a natural instrument to compare with those of Freddie McGregor. Equally adept as a romantic crooner and a powerful deliverer of strong cultural messages, Freddie has a voice unlike any other, one that he forged from influences both Jamaican and American, in particular the sounds of Philly-style soul music. Some of his early hits were covers of American soul singles, such as the Main Ingredient's "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely" and Tyrone Davis's "Can I Change My Mind."
With Di Captain, an album four years in the making, Freddie McGregor takes his rightful place once again at the front rank of modern roots reggae artists. The album's title refers slyly to his continued status as captain of the Big Ship production complex, and a quick glance at the song credits and the list of contributing musicians shows how long and successful the Captain's voyage has been. Members of Jamaica's studio A-list are here, from the great bass-and-drum duos of Mafia & Fluxy and Steely & Clevie to session aces like saxophonist Dean Fraser and keyboardist Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie. Former Heptones frontman Leroy Sibbles lends his talents as a bass player on several tracks, including Freddie's excellent version of the Heptones hit "Equal Rights." Up-and-coming artists Etana and Gappy Ranks join their voices to Freddie's on a couple of tracks as well, and Freddie has great praise for them: he says that listening to Gappy Ranks ride the rhythm on "Standing Strong" (a remake of Freddie's 1980s hit "Bobby Bobylon") takes him back to the glory days of roots reggae, while he feels that on their version of the Everly Brothers' "Let It Be Me," he and Etana managed to "recapture a groove that was wonderful and bouncy and dancey—she puts so much soul into that song you would think she was the original artist."
Apart from the sheer quality of the songs and the performances on Di Captain, listeners will also notice a thread of deep concern for the state of the world and the world's young people running through this program. "These songs were very specially chosen," Freddie says. "We took the greatest pains in making sure these would be classic songs that will last for a long time. I chose songs like 'Equal Rights' because I love the message and because the youth need to hear it. We made a special effort to keep it as grass-roots as we can."
And that nicely summarizes the contribution Freddie McGregor has made, and continues to make, to reggae music and the world: his is a deep and multifaceted talent with roots extending back to the earliest days of this music, but he is dedicated to moving it into the future with hope and positivity. "Bob Marley took this music to a real high level," he observes, "and we should all try to keep it there." The Captain of the Big Ship is doing just that.
From singer to sound-system operator, to rapper, back to singer, to singjay. Chino has no intentions of being categorized; instead, he sees himself as an unconfined musical artiste: one who also plays a myriad of instruments including the guitar, drums, piano and bass. In addition to all that, Chino still finds the time to write, co-write and has produced tracks for artistes such as Daville, T.O.K, Wayne Marshall, Elephant Man, Kiprich, Delly Ranx and of course his father, Freddie McGregor.
Yet another major milestone in his career was a collaboration with his father, There's a Reward For Me on the Grammy-nominated album Anything for You. His career has evolved even further since then; a few years ago he released his debut album, Unstoppable in addition to a slew of singles: Inna di Club (on the '12 gauge' riddim), the smash hit Redbull And Guinness and Ghetto Whisky both feat. Delly Ranx, Formula, Do So Fah (on the 'Breaking News' riddim), and Gyal Ting (on Roach's 'Mad Ting' riddim) just to name a few, which were monster hits in the dancehalls across the island and overseas.
More recently, Chino has doused the local and international scenes with a bucket of hits including: Pon Yuh Head, Protected, From Mawning, Ruff It Up, Gal Dem Waah Mi Style It Fi Dem, more recently and more.
In addition, he is one of the official faces of Coca-Cola Zero in Jamaica. This multifaceted artiste has toured major countries and their cities, including: New York, Miami, Alabama, Mississippi and London, numerous parts of Europe, Africa, Japan, Bermuda, U.S Virgin Islands in addition to various Caribbean Islands.
Chino, who completed a three month US and European tour alongside his father and other Big Ship artistes in the summer of '09 plans to release two albums this summer, Never Change, for the Japanese market and another for the US .
Also this year Chino released a number of singles, which still continue to dominate the reggae/dancehall market including: Before Dem Gone, Rave We A Rave featuring Konshens, Mus Come Back and others. Undoubtedly, Daniel "Chino" McGregor continues to keep his eye on the prize: to not only steer the "Big Ship" successfully into the future, but also confirm that this musical mastermind is in fact UNSTOPPABLE.
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