Front Line (record label)

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Front Line
Parent company Virgin Records
Founded 1978 (1978)
Founder Richard Branson
Status Defunct
Genre Reggae
Country of origin UK

Front Line was a reggae subsidiary of Virgin Records established in 1978. [1] Over forty albums were issued on the label before it folded in 1979.

Reggae music genre from Jamaica

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s.The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae," effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as ‘Rudie Blues’, then ‘Ska’, later ‘Blue Beat’, and ‘Rock Steady’. It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.

Virgin Records UK record company

Virgin Records Ltd. is a British record label founded by entrepreneurs Richard Branson, Simon Draper, Nik Powell, and musician Tom Newman in 1972. It grew to be a worldwide phenomenon over time, with the success of platinum performers such as George Michael, Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, Roy Orbison, Devo, Tangerine Dream, Genesis, Keith Richards, the Human League, Culture Club, Simple Minds, Lenny Kravitz, dc Talk, the Smashing Pumpkins, Mike Oldfield, Gorillaz, and Spice Girls, among others.

Contents

History

Virgin had been releasing reggae records since BB Seaton's "Dancing Shoes" in 1974. [1] By 1975, label owner Richard Branson had begun signing roots reggae artists, and in the three years that followed, Virgin released successful albums by the likes of U-Roy, The Mighty Diamonds, Keith Hudson, Johnny Clarke, Peter Tosh, and I Roy. [1] Johnny Rotten is rumoured to have signed with Virgin because of the company's progressive policy towards reggae. [1] In 1978, Branson decided to form a subsidiary label dedicated wholly to reggae, and called this Front Line. [1]

Richard Branson English business magnate, investor and philanthropist

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies.

Roots reggae is a subgenre of reggae that deals with the everyday lives and aspirations of Africans and those in the African Diaspora, including the spiritual side of Rastafari, Black Liberation, revolution and the honoring of God, called Jah by Rastafari. It also is identified with the life of the ghetto sufferer, and the rural poor. Lyrical themes include spirituality and religion, struggles by artists, poverty, black pride, social issues, resistance to; fascism, capitalism, corrupt government. and racial oppression. Also, a spiritual repatriation to Africa is a common theme in Roots Reggae.

Ewart Beckford OD, known by the stage name U-Roy, is a Jamaican vocalist and pioneer of toasting. U-Roy is noted for a melodic style of toasting applied with a highly developed sense of timing.

Branson and Rotten travelled to Kingston and signed artists to the label including Prince Far I, Big Youth, Prince Hammer, Tappa Zukie, Sly Dunbar, and The Twinkle Brothers. [1] Many of the artists who had previously released records on Virgin also moved to the new label. Front Line folded after two years although some of the artists remained signed to Virgin. [1]

Kingston, Jamaica Capital city in Surrey, Jamaica

Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It faces a natural harbour protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island. In the Americas, Kingston is the largest predominantly English-speaking city south of the United States.

Prince Far I was a Jamaican reggae deejay, producer and a Rastafarian. He was known for his gruff voice and critical assessment of the Jamaican government. His track "Heavy Manners" used lyrics against measures initiated towards violent crime.

Big Youth Jamaican deejay

Manley Augustus Buchanan, better known as Big Youth, is a Jamaican deejay, mostly known for his work during the 1970s.

Many of the albums were reissued on compact disc in the 2000s.

Compact disc Optical disc for storage and playback of digital audio

Compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings (CD-DA) but was later adapted for storage of data (CD-ROM). Several other formats were further derived from these, including write-once audio and data storage (CD-R), rewritable media (CD-RW), Video Compact Disc (VCD), Super Video Compact Disc (SVCD), Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD. The first commercially available audio CD player, the Sony CDP-101, was released October 1982 in Japan.

Catalogue

7-inch singles

The Gladiators (band) band that plays reggae

The Gladiators are a Jamaican roots reggae band, most popular during the 1970s. The core was Albert Griffiths, Clinton Fearon and Gallimore Sutherland rhythm guitar and singer. The two most famous albums are Trenchtown Mix Up (1976) and Proverbial Reggae (1978) with songs as "Hearsay", "Jah Works", "Dreadlocks the Time is Now". "Mix Up", "Music Makers from Jamaica", and "Soul Rebel" – a song written by The Wailers. Gladiators also cooperated with the toaster U-Roy.

Jah Lloyd, aka Jah Lion, The Black Lion of Judah, and Jah Ali was a Jamaican reggae singer, deejay and producer.

Sly Dunbar musician

Lowell "Sly" Fillmore Dunbar is a drummer, best known as one half of the prolific Jamaican rhythm section and reggae production duo Sly and Robbie.

10-inch singles

12-inch singles

Gregory Isaacs Jamaican musician

Gregory Anthony Isaacs OD was a Jamaican reggae musician. Milo Miles, writing in The New York Times, described Isaacs as "the most exquisite vocalist in reggae".

12-inch singles VOLE SERIES

Albums

[1]

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The Revolutionaries is a Jamaican reggae band.

The Twinkle Brothers are a Jamaican reggae band formed in 1962, and still active in the 21st century.

Carlton "Santa" Davis is a musician from Jamaica, primarily known for his drumming with bands such as Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Aggrovators, Soul Syndicate and Roots Radics. He has worked with reggae artists such as Jimmy Cliff, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, Big Youth, The Wailers, Peter Tosh, Andrew Tosh, Wailing Souls, Ini Kamoze, Big Mountain, Michael Rose, and Ziggy Marley.

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<i>Health and Strength</i> 1998 studio album by Prince Far I

Health and Strength is an album by Prince Far I recorded in the late 1970s but not released until 1998.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN   0-87930-655-6, p.107-108