March 2001 saw the release of Morgan Heritage's brand new album "More Teachings..." almost immediately followed by the U.K. and European "More Teachings" tour. Because L.M.S., consisting of their younger brothers Laza and Shy-Poo and sister Myriam, have had their second album release some weeks earlier and are also part of the family it is obvious they are involved in this tour too. One of the places to be to watch this "Royal Family Of Reggae" perform live on stage was at the "Effenaar" in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Fiji Sound System from Belgium warmed up the audience before members of Morgan Heritage, L.M.S., and father Denroy Morgan stroll on stage dressed all in black.

A show of the Morgan family is more than just performing music, it is a spiritual and positive experience, which is fully expressed through the opening part... an almost 25 minutes lasting, impressive rootical drum and chant style performance, which includes accapella renditions of songs like "Words Of My Mouth" and "The More We Are Together".

After a short break it was time for L.M.S. to take the stage. They were welcomed by an enthusiastic reacting audience, thus confirming that they already have established their name among the reggae fans. They did a short although energetic and powerful set. L.M.S. treated the people to songs taken from their two albums including "Cease All Wars", the awesome title track of the "Zion Gates" album, "Fire" and "Laws Of The King", another great tune from that new album. When they did their wicked version for the "Liberation" riddim, entitled "Never", they got great approval from the audience.

Then came, what the people had been waiting for... Morgan Heritage, dressed in loose fitting khaki as to underline that they are reggae soldiers on a mission. And indeed, they are intent upon spreading their Rastafarian message of peace, love and unity to their audiences all around the world. Compared to last year's tour their set list featured only a few new songs, all coming from their "More Teachings.." album. "Helping Hand", "Kebra And The Fetha", and their key song "Jah Seed" were expertly performed as were also their already tried and trusted pieces "Revolution", "Trodding Jah Road", "One Bingi", "Live Up", "Protect Us Jah", "Trodding To Zion" (incorporating a tribute to the two great Jamaican singers Jacob Miller and Bob Marley), "New Time, New Sign" and "One Calling" (delivered as an extended version with additional lyrics of "So Long Rastafari").

Jah seed has been planted in I and I. He's our root and the source of our lives. We are the branches, the leaves that have life. We are the apples of Jah eyes. Forever for life.

Again the audience was treated to the awesome "Liberation" riddim, with Morgan Heritage performing their cut for the riddim and also Mr. Mojo and Laza from L.M.S. stepping forward to deliver a part of Capleton's "Jah Jah City". After Denroy Morgan had joined his childre on stage to perform the title track from his solo album "Salvation", Morgan Heritage ended their very enjoyable and entertaining show full of spiritual and positive vibrations in fine style with the modern anthems "Reggae Bring Back Love" and "Don't Haffi Dread", the latter also featuring L.M.S. and Denroy Morgan. The Morgan Family fully showed their high degrees of professionalism regarding their musicianship and stage act, which made that the audience not only witnessed a great show, but also some truly sublime moments.

Afterwards we were able to have a chat with Peter and Roy "Gramps" of Morgan Heritage. Talking about the beginning of their breakthrough when the reggae massive welcomed the release of their two "Jamaican" albums "One Calling" and "Protect Us Jah" - the first produced by King Jammy, the other by Bobby "Digital" Dixon - which were both released at almost the same moment, we wanted to know about the difference in production style of these ace producers. "When working with King Jammy one gets the so-called 'old skool' sound, while Bobby Digital is a producer who brings a more modern sound to his production work. He creates the new millennium sound. That's why King Jammy's productions sound rougher than the more polished Bobby Digital produced efforts. We will always work with both producers." So far Morgan Heritage has worked for various producers like for example the already mentioned King Jammy and Bobby Digital, but also Donovan Germain, Phillip "Fatis" Burrell, Bulby & Fatta and others. "As long as the vibe is OK it doesn't matter. The producers we work with have to relate to our intentions, our visions, our feelings, otherwise it don't work. There has to be a positive vibe."

Unlike so many other reggae artists who record for various production houses and sometimes release truly inferior material regarding their usual output, Morgan Heritage never fails to maintain their high quality level. "The reason for this is because we don't sing on any riddim. We are very selective in the choice of the riddims, we always try to pick the right riddim for a Morgan Heritage tune. It has to fit in the concept of our music." The renown Dean Fraser produced Morgan Heritage's "Down By The River" which actually became a huge hit. "This song becoming a hit really surprised us as we didn't expect it to be that successful. Of course, especially in the UK and Europe the promotion of this tune was good but that alone doesn't turn a song into a hit song. If you don't have the substance in the song, it will never become a hit tune. A song has to stick to the listener's mind just like for example Mr. Vegas' "Heads High" did. Then you're halfway and there's a chance it becomes a hit song."

Morgan Heritage also started doing production work which actually led to the release of the "Morgan Heritage Family & Friends" sets. "We want to correct the misconception that we then started producing. We were already producing before these sets appeared. Our first album entitled "Miracles", which was released by MCA Records, was produced by ourselves. However, our production work first time really started to surface with the release of the first "Morgan Heritage Family & Friends" set with tunes like Capleton's "Jah Jah City". This set proved to be successful and thus our production work came to the attention of many people." Because these one riddim sets were highly anticipated one is wondering if they are working on the release of the next compilation set.

"There's a new "Morgan Heritage Family & Friends" album coming soon. Can't tell the name of the riddim as we have not decided how we will call it." Last year, when Morgan Heritage toured in Europe, there were rumours that they had plans to do a tour with some of those Friends. "Yes there are plans. It might become a reality but definitely not in the next two years. Maybe within four or five years there will be a 'Morgan Heritage Family & Friends' tour." In the near future the reggae massive can expect "...more teachings from Morgan Heritage. We are convinced that music inspires people. That's why we bring a positive message. Through our faith and through our music we want to uplift the people. We want to inspire people to value life."

Text: Teacher & Mr. T. Photos: Teacher.

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