Category Archives: Reggae

Revealing Conversations

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After hearing just one song, Norman B was determined to find out more about the singer-songwriter, with a distinctive Irish brogue. “This beautiful song suggests she knows all about love and broken hearts.” He reasoned, after playing Petrol Station for the umpteenth time. Understanding the trials and tribulations of being in love, is one of the first questions Norman B asks the talented Sorcha Richardson in the upcoming interview on Life Elsewhere. The Brooklyn-based, Dublin-born Richardson chats with disarming honesty, touching on her background, writing songs, love affairs and her dad’s passion for Bob Marley and The Doors. Plus Sorcha shares three more examples of her exceptional music. Make sure you do not miss, Sorcha Richardson in an exclusive interview with Norman B on the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

The awful, sad news of David Bowie‘s death is still so difficult to comprehend. We have been inundated with requests to make available some of Norman B’s intimate conversations with David. Here then, is a glimpse of their memorable rapport. David speaks openly and eloquently with a gorgeous wit on topics as diverse as having a runny nose to his disgust with racism. Rest in peace, David.

Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

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A Conversation With Mr. B

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By the age of eleven, he planned to be a graphic designer or a radio announcer. Then, Elvis changed his life. Music became a passion. He was there, the night Andrew Oldham discovered the Stones. At art school, he learnt about the Blues, R & B, Soul and Reggae. A visit to New York in ’74 found him at CBGB, alongside Lenny Kaye and Patti Smith as Television performed. A chance introduction to radio resulted in a long career as an acclaimed interviewer. This is part one of his story, illustrated with music from Johnnie RayElvis PresleyThe Rolling Stones, Marvin GayeThe SkatalitesRoy & MillieAlton EllisToots & The MaytalsJohnny Clarke, Television and Killing Joke.

Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

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In the latest edition of Life Elsewhere, disappearing bees, a rapper and a folkie plus The Hit That Never Was.

Freelance writer and environmental journalist, Robert Hunziker talks to Norman B about a worldwide problem, bees are dying off like never before. Recent scientific research has zeroed-in on the culprits, which are neonicotinoids or “neonics,” which are pesticides manufactured by Monsanto and Bayer. However, the two manufacturers claim the pesticides are totally benign. A four-year study by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides (“TFSP”), directed at how and why so many bees, butterflies and other insects, including earthworms, are disappearing so rapidly, according to a member of the task force, “Instead of wiping out the top of the food chain, killing hawks and eagles as DDT did, neonics are wiping out the bottom of the food chain.” Bees pollinate almost every fruit, nut, vegetable, and field crop, and honey fits in the mix consequently the loss of bees is equivalent to one giant step towards mass starvation. Albert Einstein is reported to have predicted that civilization will be over in four years if bees are no more.

This week’s Hit That Never Was features the late Hugh Mundell, the highly regarded reggae artist who performed publicly just a few times in his short career, yet he garnered the  attention of many critics, causing one to write that “he had the purest voice in popular music”. Mundell recorded for the legendary Dub producer Augustus Pablo, under his own name and also using the pseudonym, Jah Levi. On October 14, 1983, twenty-one year-old, Mundell was shot to death while sitting in his car. When you go to the Hit That Never Was page, you will discover we have included the 12′ mix of Feeling Alight Girl, complete with the extended dub version.

In the second half of the program, Norman B talks with George Fuller a talented singer-songwriter and aspiring rap artist Anonymous (And.On. I. Must). George sent a copy of his very personal album to Life Elsewhere, requesting an honest appraisal. His efforts impressed Norman B enough to invite the musician into the studio for an interview to find out more about the man and his music. During the pre-interview conversation,  Fuller nonchalantly mentioned that he had recently been on tour with rap artist Anonymous (And.On. I. Must). This caught Norman B by surprise, knew he had to learn more about this unusual mixing of musical genres and generations. The self proclaimed old-dude-folkie, George Fuller and exuberant rapper, Anonymous (And.On. I. Must) explain toNorman B how they came to work together and play examples of their musical collaboration.

The Life Elsewhere Podcast is available here

Life Elsewhere airs every Monday at 9.00am ET (1400 GMT)

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Life Changing Music

Music That Changed My LifeIn the latest edition of Life Elsewhere, Norman B looks back at the music that changed his life. He tells of buying his first album at Woolworths, not knowing anything about the music. He was captivated by the brooding Greek-god like visage on the cover. It was the Memphis FlashElvis Presley. From there Norman discovered the Blues and  Elmore James which led to the new R & B sounds coming out of the USA, including early Tamla Motown and  Marvin Gaye. It was no coincidence that fledgling London bands were also being inspired by the same music. The Rolling Stones being no exception, fronted at that time by Blues aficionado and masterful musician, Brian JonesVan Morrison with his R & B and Irish Show-band roots were all but absent when he released his landmark album, Astral Weeks, a momentous life-changing release, says Norman B. Reggae has been another important part of Mr. B’s life and he cites  Cornell Campbell and Gregory Isaacs as fine examples. The consistently adventurous music of David Bowie is included in the story as are the The Smiths, The Only Ones are acknowledged for their timeless ode to addiction and  Killing Joke with their formidable melding of rock, dub and even metal in their debut release. A.R. Kane, remain still relatively unknown but their music caused Norman B to reevaluate his thinking in some areas. Finally, Canadian musician and poet Barzin is singled out because his beguiling lyrics and enchanting arrangements signify another change in life and a new way forward.

Also in the program our regular contributor on film and media Bob Ross, pays tribute to a unique, genius performer, Robin Williams. Plus the Hit That Never Was features a high-school friend of Norman B, the legendary virtuoso guitar player and singer-songwriter, Peter Green.

Life Elsewhere air every Monday at 9.00am EST (1400 GMT)

WMNF 88.5fm

streaming: www.wmnf.org

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The Hit That Never Was

The latest Hit That Never Was features the great Dennis Brown, the sadly departed reggae artist, Brown was loved by his legions of fans, including Bob Marley who dubbed him the Crown Prince of Reggae“. Dennis Brown had a prolific career which began in the late 1960’s when he was aged eleven. Brown recorded more than 75 albums and was one of the major stars of Lovers Rock, a sub-genre of reggae. After long successful but often tumultuous career, Browns’s health began to deteriorate in the late 1990’s. He had developed respiratory issues, probably exacerbated by longstanding problems with drug addiction, namely crack cocaine. On the evening of 30 June 1999, he was rushed to Kingston’s University Hospital, suffering from cardiac arrest. He died the next day, the official cause of his death was a collapsed lung.

Dennis Brown’s vast body of work includes superb covers of internationally
well-known songs, not least of all is his impassioned version of Peter Green’s, Black Magic WomanA major figure of the British Blues movement and founder of Fleetwood Mac, Green has often been lauded by the likes of Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page and was 38th in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. Norman B had the honor of going to high school with Peter Green.

The Life Elsewhere Podcast is available here

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