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BORIS GARDINER FOR “STARTIME CONCERT” IN KINGSTON, MAY 5!

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL—

Observer senior writer

 

 Boris Gardiner —

 

Fifty years after he played the bouncy bass line for Nanny Goat (reputedly the first reggae song), Boris Gardiner remains active as an artiste. The musician/singer is one of the acts scheduled to perform on the May 5 Startime show at Mas Camp in east Kingston.

The unassuming Gardiner has impressive credentials. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, he established himself as one of reggae’s top bassists, playing on songs like Gonna Fight, I Got The Handle and Equal Rights by The Heptones; and Junior Murvin’s Police And Thieves.

With his brother, Barrington, he also co-wrote and played bass on the 1974 song Every Nigger Is A Star, later covered with great success by Big Youth. Every Nigger Is A Star enjoyed something of a renaissance two years ago when superstar rapper Kendrick Lamar sampled it for his hit song Wesley’s Theory.

During the 1970’s, Gardiner was bandleader for the Boris Gardiner Happening, a band that included guitarist Willie Lindo who produced I Wanna Wake Up With You, the song by Gardiner that topped the British national chart in 1986.

Boris Gardiner has mentored several artistes and musicians. He introduced Hugh Mundell and Earl Sixteen to the music business; they were two of the new wave roots singers who emerged in the late 1970’s.

 BorisGardiner:Happening

Gardiner was an established musician at producer Clement Dodd’s Studio One in 1968 when he played on Nanny Goat, by an unknown duo named Larry and Alvin. Regarded by some musicologists as the first reggae song, it has a distinct bass feel that drove hit songs like Tony Rebel’s Chatty Mouth and Brinks by Degree.

Interestingly, Gardiner will share the Startime bill with Marcia Griffiths and Leroy Sibbles (of The Heptones) with whom he worked at Studio One in the 1960s. Horace Andy, Cornel Campbell, Ernie Smith, Sanchez, U Roy and Xylophone complete an impressive line-up.

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