Studio dream comes into port
Big Ship has grown from an idea, to a song, to a record label and now a studio, the base of Freddie McGregor's son and ace producer Stephen, as well as the Big Ship family, which includes Chino, Shema McGregor, Bramma and Laden.
"It happened that after a while, mi brethren start call mi Big Ship and me respond," McGregor told
The Sunday Gleaner
. He started the label in 1983, branding already firmly in his thoughts. "Me think Big Ship could be a concept like McDonald's and Kentucky," he said.
So, although he was signed to major label Polydor from 1986 to about 1988, and had popular songs such as
And So I'll Wait For You
, he was not interested in moving on to Arista when that arrangement ended. "Me say me want to start mine and be a Polydor one day," he said, adding that he saw how Bob Marley "fight with the thing".
helping young artistes
Plus, he said, he knew that he could also assist in easing the way for talented youngsters, recalling the arduous audition process which people had to go through at places like Studio One.
The Big Ship studio was started in 1996 after Freddie McGregor did a Japan splash and dealt with a company named 24/7, which he still works with today. The first song recorded there was for a birthday, McGregor remembering that it was in October and everything had just been wired up. Benjy Myaz and Noel and Dalton Browne were the first musicians to play in the studio.
He is working on an untitled album for which Stephen is treating 20 of his father's songs as if they are being recorded for the first time. "If what we do so far is anything to go by - mad, mad!" an enthused Freddie McGregor said.
- Mel Cooke