David Madden presents 'Long Live Reggae Music'

Published: Monday | March 9, 2009

Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

Trumpeter David Madden (centre) and the Cybernetics in performance at Redbones last Friday. - photos by Peta-Gaye Clachar/Staff Photographer

The music at Friday night's launch of trumpeter David Madden's 'Long Live Reggae Music' was good; but hearing it was, at best, okay and, at worst, downright painful.

Said pain was not caused by the playing of the musicians on the stage, or Madden's vocals and trumpet leading the Cybernetics through ska and rockers. It was the amplification system that caused the throbbing at the temples.

We are, unfortunately, accustomed to late starts in matters of song and dance. However, when sound checks are still being conducted after the advertised showtime, it is an ominous sign. And sure enough, the sound was never well-balanced.

Sporadic feedback

In addition, for most of the first segment of the concert, Helen Bromley's violin could not be heard, there was some sporadic feedback during the concert, there was a pause to actually get Reginald Mills' guitar playing through the amplifier and, as Lloyd Parkes sang of making reservations for two in the guest segment, his vocals were barely audible to the compact audience.

However, a humorous and effective host, Simon Crosskill, eased the late-start blues. And, while the sound detracted from it, it did not distort David Madden and the Cybernetics' talent, the other members being Errol Seaton (bass), Audley Searchwell (keyboards) and Clifton Bond (drums), plus a pair of support horn players who came on stage as required.

So the launch concert for 'Long Live Reggae Music' started with the trumpet sounding loud and clear, Madden singing "old time something come back again" and prompting a call-and-response, as the band swung into a take-off of Don Drummond's Occupation. There was a jolly "yippee yeah yeah" in the second, reggae number, Madden's competent but far-from-stunning vocals augmented by the harmony of Mills and Bromley as called for.

Swaying bodies

Changing Times and Shine Your Light continued the full-length concert, seated but swaying bodies, a testament to the effect of the beat. Madden noted the progression of a song that the Cybernetics played as Jah, but which had its first coming in 1978 as Last War by Zap Pow and a reincarnation in 2007 as Finally The Herbs Come Around by Collie Buddz.

There was a gentle blowing to go with the cool wind at Redbones as the band again revisited Zap Pow days with the 1970 Mystic Mood.

Trumpeter David Madden performs live music at Redbones on Friday, March 6.

Prilly Hamilton, Third World's first lead singer, opened the second segment of the concert, as David Madden and the Cybernetics slipped into support-band mode, the full horn section blowing the signature introduction to Sattamassagana. He leapt forward decades to Tomorrow, a recent Sly and Robbie production, and closed with UB40's ("Yeah, them turn 50 now," he quipped) determination to Sing Our Own Song, which got the audience on a high.

Simmer down

Guitarist Dwight Pinkney was a hit with the audience, playing his composition How Could I Live (made popular by Dennis Brown) and a pair of Marley cuts from his latest album, Nice Time and Simmer Down. The audience would not simmer down when he left, demanding another cut then happily jamming away to Jammin.

Lloyd Parkes played bass and sang, taking the 'Long Live Reggae Music' concert into a touch of dancehall style, as he chanted "long time me no deejay inna dance" and commenting musically, "a lot of boys nah get no girlfriend tonight," to amusement.

He went lovers' style with Reservations For Two, and really slow with Members Only, the deteriorating quality of his vocals overlooked in the spirit of the moment, as Parkes closed with his official hit, Officially.

There wasn't an official break, but it was clear that the concert had moved into another phase when the Cybernetics man said "yours truly David Madden just going, keep going", doing just that with a freedom sound that encouraged "forget all your troubles" and the Heptones' tribute to the large ladies, Fatty Fatty.

Money Maker

And, Madden went back to his early days at Studio One, playing for The Wailers, Tosh and Bob Andy, among many others. Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd asked him one day when he was going to do something for himself and the response was Money Maker.

And, the response continued on Friday night at Redbones with cuts from 'Long Live Reggae Music'.

Lloyd Parkes (left) and Dwight Pinkney having a moment during the performance by David Madden and the Cybernetics.