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The latest rhythm from composer Howell Allen of famed Backyard TV media comes with a story as told by Allen himself. The project, which includes a body of compositions 8 years in the making initially started as a tribute honoring his grandmother- Miss Susan and has evolved to what it is today - 'The Bandwagon Riddim'. All the artists performing on this compilation have a personal relationship with Allen and each reflected their truths and integrity in their contribution. They were all drawn to Howell and the riddim by what some would describe as divine intervention, but the finished project imparts a sense of something new and fresh. Here are their stories:
Little Hero, Pzed & Crazy Dude visited the studio as Allen was adding the finishing touches to the project when suddenly Little Hero started singing "mama said to leave It alone". With no direction, he had picked up on the original sentiment behind the rhythm. The song, entitled "Mama Said to Leave It Alone" was completed in one sitting. Shortly after, Anthony B sent vocals of a song he had just completed; Allen perceiving the song would definitely have something topical to impart and be a good addition to the project, spoke to him and quickly added his vocals. Chrisinti, who had positively impacted one of the Backyard TV Showtime series was approached and without hesitation he added "Let The Freedom Reign"
Gumbae Culture changed the tempo with "Ragamuffin Style" which provides a contrast and balance to the finished project. Gumbae's concerns that his contribution would not fit in with the overall theme were definitely misplaced. High Ranks, NYC Assistant Principal, personal friend and uncanny Buju Banton sound-alike keeps the memory of the incarcerated reggae artist in the forefront with his "It's Not Funny", recorded without a beat or proper key, giving the track the feel that it was recorded in a sparse jail cell. Returning to the maternal theme, DJ Bugz adds “Mama Make Mistake Sometimes”, while "Who Are You To Judge Me" is performed with a passion that strains through every note straight from the heart of RightUp.
The first track on the mix tape “She Makes Me Jealous”, penned by Howell himself and produced by unsung musician Raf Allen who has a slew of hit songs under his belt is performed by Mr Easy and resulted from ongoing talks about a future collaboration. Dennis Walk, legendary reggae artist (credits include ‘Having a Party’, ‘Sad Sweet Dreamer’ and a remake of the popular ‘Margaret’) added his touch with a cover of “Makes Me Feel Good”. The first female on the project Ashley received coaching from Dennis Walks and the resulting “Treat Me Like Somebody” is a fitting addition and representation from a female perspective.
The second female to drop her vocals is an unknown vocalist, but known to many New Yorkers, a popular writer who also dabbles in poetry and songwriting – she came up with the lyrics in less than an hour and her demo so impressed Allen, that he decided to add her sultry vocals on “Love Triangle”
Last but certainly not least, wrapping it up with the artist known for his tributes to the females the Reggae Gentleman, Stephen Souza had an opportunity to add his distinct vocals to the Bandwagon Riddim with his "Sleeping Beauty" a fitting tribute to his lovely wife, and as Allen says “in my humble opinion, I believe as long as Stephen lives, he is going to have a roof over his head and a certain two long arms wrapped around him”.
This, ladies and gentlemen is the story behind the Bandwagon Riddim. Get used to it, you’ll be hearing much more.
written by: Sheron P's Conduit Show - Sundays 6-9 pm at www.e2onair.com / 347 485 1154.