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RockNotes: Roots Rock Reggae Weirdos


From: Jamaica Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports
Re: The Passing of "Tata" Ford

The Honourable Olivia "Babsy" Grange, Minister of information, Culture, Youth and Sports has expressed regret at the death of Vincent "Tata" Ford, known to have been a close associate of Reggae icon, Bob Marley and who was author/composer of one of Bob's greatest hits, "No Woman No Cry."

"As the Minister with portfolio responsibility for music and entertainment, I was saddened to learn of the death of 'Tata' Ford, who was the latest of a magnificent group of music and entertainment personalities, to pass during 2008," Miss Grange said.

The Minister described "Tata" as a brave, kind and creative person who did not allow his illness to prevent him from providing support to Bob Marley and using his creativity to pen "No Woman No Cry" and other Marley songs such as "Positive Vibration," "Roots, Rock, Reggae" and "Crazy Baldhead."

Bob Marley/Crazy Baldhead


Minister Grange said that Vincent "Tata" Ford was a fine example of that breed of Jamaican who would not allow station or circumstances to prevent them from doing their part to enrich the lives of others while contributing in their chosen field.

(Editor's Note: The Jamaica Gleaner described Tata as a "diminutive Rasatafarian (who) lived in the Kingston ghetto of Trench Town during the 1960s when Marley was a member of Wailers, a harmony group that also included Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston (later Wailer). Ford lost both legs to illness years before and was wheelchair-bound.)

"As I extend condolences on behalf of the Government to the family and friends of 'Tata' Ford, I say thanks for the efforts of every one who continues to make a positive contribution not only to the development of our music but to all aspects of Jamaican culture."

(Extra-Special Editor's Note: Minister Babsy, meanwhile, also decreed that Andy Samberg be awarded the Jamaica Special Commendation for really slapping fake rastafaris upside the baldhead:)

Andy Samberg/Ras Trent

2. Journey, Heart, Cheap Trick Judged Among Best of Syracuse

The Syracuse Post-Standard has adjudged the Journey with Heart and Cheap Trick show at state fair grandstand on Aug. 23 as the city's fourth-best rock 'n' roll event of 2008. The paper said: "New singer Arnel Pinada breathed a whole new life into classic rock band Journey. His vocals were a dead ringer for the biggest-name lead singer, Steve Perry, and the sold-out crowd gobbled up every note of 'Open Arms,' 'Don't Stop Believing' and more."

(Ed: Every note. Wow. That crowd must have been really hungry, gobblin' up that sweet, sweet Journey potato pie. It goes on and on and on and on.)

"Heart, with the powerhouse vocals of Ann Wilson, turned in a headliner-worthy set as her covers of The Who's 'Love Reign O'er Me' and Led Zeppelin's 'Goin' to California' scintillated."

And here's the kicker: "The antics of Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander in opener Cheap Trick were fun, too."

It's nice to know Rockford's finest can still amuse 'em in Syracuse with . . . antics. Also nice to know that Rick came to conquer the city from his lead-off spot. He was probably inspired by Paul Newman, who says in Slap Shot, "I'd like the folks to come down and watch us cream them punks from Syracuse."

3. Rockin' Post-Christmas Shindig at the Steer Inn

The Baltimore-D.C.-Delmarva area has become part of the "roots-rock craze that is already sweeping through nearby vicinities," according to the Bethany Beach, Del., Wave.

A roots rock craze in nearby vicinities. That sounds serious and a little scary, actually, like the cops were worried about it. As if the people Robbie Fulks sang about in "Roots Rock Weirdoes" are taking over the town, swing dancing through the streets on a duck-tailed rumble hatched in the Capitol and unleashed at the Steer Inn in Berlin, Del., where, we're told, there was to be "a rockin' post-Christmas shindig."

"The D.C.-Baltimore area seems to go through cycles where rockabilly and honky tonk music is accepted by the general public," Andrew Ladson of The Brokedown Playboys told the Wave. "We're in one of those cycles now. It's simple, danceable music; it's a lot of fun and people are reacting to it."

Question: Is rockabilly coming back in Washington because people there are finding out that enjoying "simple and danceable" music is much more soul-satisfying than enjoying, say, a rent-free apartment from a lobbyist? Will the K Street suits turn in their wing-tips for greasy, baggy, old-man jeans and end up at the Steer Inn for free rockabilly night because they're poor now?

If so, I'd like to welcome them to my world. There are no crazes allowed, by the way.

4. Two Chicago Indie Labels Make Ten Best List

Congrats to two Chicago indie record labels, Tic Tac Totally Records and Hozac Records, for making it onto the San Francisco Examiner's list of top ten best indies in the United States.

Tic Tac Totally Records was No. 6 on the list, described thusly: In 2008 alone, Chicago's Tic Tac Totally released records by neo-hippie psych monster Snake Flower II, Alicja Trout's shoe-gazin' Mouserocket and electronic Black Sunday and energetic Windy City garage punk combo CoCoComa and one of Memphis genius Lover's finest 45s, "I'm Not a Gnome."

CoCoComa/Liege, Belgium


Coming in at No. 8 was Hozac Records, of which the Examiner says: "The owners of Chicago's now-defunct Horizontal Action 'zine turned their talents to releasing great records in 2005 and have since dazzled admirers with a steady, seemingly neverending stream of original, striking, rocking records from the likes of France's Volt, Memphis' Lover, and neo-folkies The Dutchess and the Duke. Look out for a new single from Nobunny in 2009!"

Nobunny/Chuck Berry Holiday


From Avril Lavigne and Kid Rock to the Replacements and Radiohead, we've got the best RockNotes around. Comments and contributions welcome.

Posted on January 5, 2009

MUSIC - Pandemophenia.
TV - NBC's Bicentennial Special.
POLITICS - Defund Private Schools.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio & A Blackhawks Proposal.

BOOKS - The Slave Who Escaped George And Martha Washington.


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