Legendary Jamaican singer Kiddus I, who has a fascinating story, has worked with a number of different producers since he returned to the music scene about ten years ago. It started with Earl “Chinna” Smith and his Inna De Yard project and it has been followed by three studio albums – Green Fa Life, Topsy Turvy World and Take a Trip. All recorded together with European musicians.
Now Kiddus I has a new collaboration. This time with Japan’s Dub Store Records and ten piece outfit Reggaelation Independance.
Kiddus I meets Reggaelation Independance is an EP with five tracks – three vocal cut, one dub version and one instrumental. And all tracks have their own unique character and style. Flying at Knots – also released as single with a shorter version – is tough roots with prominent horns, Wake Up is a funky excursion and Future is a beautiful acoustic jam with nyabinghi drumming.
A delightful EP that shows several sides of this jazzy singer.
Legendary Jamaican singer Kiddus I is back with a new album, following his Topsy Turvy World, released in 2013.
Kiddus I has a fascinating story. It starts in 1972 when he recorded his first tune. It was later followed by a brief appearance in cult classic Rockers and the much acclaimed single Graduation in Zion, which was featured on the soundtrack. And now – in the late 70s – Kiddus I more or less disappears and resurfaces more than 20 years later. He’s part of guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith’s nyabinghi project Inna de Yard and drops his debut album in 2004. It’s then followed by a successful reissue program and another new album Green fa Life.
His career gets a fresh start more than 30 years after he started in the music business and his brand new set Take a Trip is, just like its predecessor, recorded in Europe. But not in Germany this time. The Homegrown Band is from France and the recordings on this beautiful album dates back about ten years when they backed Kiddus I on a French tour.
The set was completed in 2009, but no label was interested at the time, but luckily enough Iroko has now decided to pick it up. But it seems only natural since Kiddus I has never rushed anything in his career.
Take a Trip is organic, mellow and jazzy reggae with live instrumentation complete with breezy horns, easy skanking bass lines and slick guitar. Kiddus I is a poetic and spiritual artist and his individual voice has remained remarkably intact and he sounds just like he did 40 years ago.
He and The Homegrown Band know roots reggae and they even manage to make a much-covered tune like As Time Goes By interesting and fresh.
Just sit back and enjoy the ride – it’s a smooth one.
Earlier this year legendary Jamaican recording artist Frank Dowding, better known as Kiddus I, dropped a recently recorded album. Even though Kiddus I has been in the recording industry for almost 40 years Topsy Turvy World is only his third album, not including compilations.
Kiddus I is not a well-known singer outside hardcore reggae circles and is probably best known for his cameo in the cult motion picture Rockers from the 70s. His smooth Graduation in Zion was also included in the soundtrack. That particular tune is his trademark.
I had the opportunity to have a chat with Kiddus I. I reached him on the phone when he was in one of his homes in Jamaica. He was surprised when I called, even though his PR-agent had made the necessary arrangements. Happily enough he had a moment or two to give an interview.
It was a long interview and we covered a lot of issues and topics. What striked me was his spirituality and never-looking-back attitude. Read the full story over at United Reggae.
Jamaican veteran singer and percussionist Kiddus I is cult figure on the scene with the performance of his Graduation in Zion in the classic movie Rockers from the mid 70’s. But music wise he hasn’t released much, at least not until recently, partly because the master tapes to his debut album was lost in the late 70’s. They did however surface only a couple of years ago and released as Rocking Rebels.
Kiddus I himself also want awal sometime around 1980. He returned to the studio in 2005 to record the acoustic Inna De Yard, a set that became his debut album. Since then he has managed to put out Green Fa’ Life and now Topsy Turvy World, his third studio album in almost 40 years.
On Topsy Turvy World the producers have taken seeds from 70’s Kingston and planted them in Germany in present time. The album is a time capsule to an era when Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs reigned the charts.
To recreate the sound the producers have used a number of veteran session heavyweighters, including bass man Aston “Familyman” Barrett, keyboard player Tyrone Downie, guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith and percussionist Uziah “Sticky” Thompson.
The organ is given a prominent place throughout the mix and Kiddus I sings his personal and cultural lyrics with a jazzy and breezy tone. He’s an excellent singer and his tenor voice sounds almost better today than more than 30 years ago.
Twelve of the 13 tracks are original compositions and even though they’re marked with a huge roots reggae mark, you can trace influences of blues, soul and R&B.
One can’t but wonder what could have happened to Kiddus I if he had dropped that debut album back in the 70’s.