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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Reggae Living Legends: Washed Out by Sea of Red

Living reggae legends, Third World, had to postpone their Tuesday, October 26 show at the Paradise Rock Club, due to Red Sox Nation gobbling up all hotel accommodations. What would have been 96 degrees in the shade, at the Paradise Rock Club on Commonwealth Avenue, turned out to be cold 40 degree weather at Fenway Park. Not to mention “loving that dirty water” in Boston, even the Regatta on the Charles couldn’t match up to the hype of Boston’s favorite “Idiots.” Red Sox Nation has spread a fever and everyone loves the ride. Ticket Master has offered refunds, since a later date has not yet been confirmed. This band, when they return to Boston, is a must see! The postponement was probably for the best because now it will give Red Sox fans, who are also reggae fans, a chance to experience yet another treat in Boston. Third World has had an amazing career, spanning over a quarter of a century. Not too many bands can say that their founding members have been together all this time, even in other fields of music, except a proud handful of musical talents. Third World has been living on a spiritual high, a driving force to create original material, while maintaining their cultural Jamaican roots, spreading positive messages of peace, love and unity in a most productive manner. They are truly “Reggae Ambassadors” and are internationally known. This band deserves a book rather than the brief synopsis I have compiled about who Third World is and how they began. As a 12 year old youth in 1973, Stephen “Cat” Moore, Third World’s skilled guitarist, cellist, harmonica player, backing vocalist, had been playing with a band called “Inner Circle.” To put in perspective, the band “Inner Circle” are what you hear, anytime you watch the hit TV show Cops. “Bad boy, bad boy watcha gonna do, when they come for you?” Yes, that’s them on the theme song! Well, being a teen on the road started to interfere with his studies, so he quit the band to finish his schooling at the Jamaican School of Music and pursue his dreams further, which consisted of creating his own band. Without having to be on the road he dabbled in music production and had many clients. He joined up with Richie “Bassie” Daley, another graduate of the Jamaican School of Music, with a smashing unique style of his own on bass guitar, becoming another founding member after his exposure while backing legendary Toots and the Maytals. Soon after, the major puzzle piece of the Third World sound was in the lyrics and voice, of William “Bunny Rugs” Clark another former member of Inner Circle, whose voice is so distinctive that I’ve always referenced him as the Teddy Pendergrass of Reggae. The Blue-Notes weren’t complete without Teddy and Third World was not complete without Rugs’ magical voice, that has mesmerized audiences for years, since their opening acts in front of 35,000 or more on famous Bob Marley and The Wailers tours, to cross-over playing the under card to the Jackson Five. Superstar recording artist and producer, Stevie Wonder, has been a huge fan of Third World, and Third World has the same admiration and respect for him. The relationship was formed during one of Jamaica’s Reggae Sunsplash events, in a tribute to the late great Bob Marley, where Stevie Wonder sang the song “Master Blaster” as Third World backed him with their instruments. This relationship brought forth many reggae artists crossing over to R&B, starting with Mr. Wonder producing and collaborating on a huge hit song called “Try Jah Love.” After this event much collaboration was made with Third World, turning them into chart toppers. Gerald Albright worked with Third World on their 1983 hit, “Lagos Jump.” The brass section of the band Earth, Wind, and Fire played on Sense of Purpose as well as Reggae Radio Station in 1987 and even Daddy-O from the band Stetsosonic, added a rap to their 1989 smash album, Forbidden Love. There have been many keyboardists and drummers such as Michael “Ibo” Cooper and Willie Stewart, also credited with “Now That We Found Love,” which was a disco-reggae version of the O’Jays original song, all great and all original sounding, adding their special flavor to the band; however the aforementioned trio has remained the same, but growing, changing, fine tuning, and aging like fine wine. Their sound is timeless and Third World has been sailing through the years and currently in their 21st album, not to mention four solo-artist albums by the founding members. The newest album is called, “Ain’t Givin’Up” which is on Shanachie Records and features the newest two members of the band, recruited by Third World, because they are recognized as the finest stock of raw talented Jamaican musicians. They are Herbert “Herbie” Harris on the keyboards and Tony “Ruption” Williams on drums, who replaced former band members, Michael “Ibo” Cooper and Willie Stewart, who are a hard act to follow. To catch a Third World show is to catch a piece of history in the making, so when they come to town, grab a date and be ready to “Try Jah Love!” If you were having a bad day, you’ll be leaving with a “big up” Jamaican smile. “Ya Mon! It’s all Irie!”