Ocho Rios is a small town situated at the north coast area of the island of Jamaica. Perfectly positioned on a sheltered sandy cove backed by picturesque mountains, Ocho Rios has quickly become a popular holiday resort and port of call for cruise ships. For tourists there's a wide choice of restaurants, bars, shops and nightlife and every sort of watersport. Hop in a taxi and in minutes you can be making the splashy climb up of the popular and exciting Dunn's River Falls or stroll in the beautiful Shaw Park Gardens.
However, Ocho Rios has much more to offer especially if you're a fan of reggae music. In the seventies and eighties Ocho Rios was put on the map and brought to higher heights thanks to record producer and sound-system operator Jack Ruby (d. 1989) - who built his studio complex there - and artists like Burning Spear, Justin Hinds & The Dominoes and the Black Disciples. In the late eighties and nineties Ocho Rios based music activities were further increased with the foundation of the Grove Music & Recording Studio, Roof International Dub Cutting Studio, the start of Jamaica's premier reggae radio Irie FM, new record labels like Courtney Cole's "Roof International" and Barry O'Hare's "Xrated Records" and the regularly held White River Reggae Bash with up-and-coming artists as well as reggae vets on stage. In the nineties artists like Prezident Brown, Daweh Congo, Tanya Stephens and Mikey Spice started their recording career in Ocho Rios. Even the Archangel - the late great - Garnett Silk came to Ocho Rios to record his first notable songs for Courtney Cole's "Roof International" label.
In the second half of the eighties Carl Young founded Grove Music Recording Studio and employed Stephan Stewart as his main engineer. In 1988 Stewart gave his friend Barry O'Hare the chance to develop his talent and skills as a recording engineer. Another engineer who frequently worked at Grove Music Recording Studio at that time was Delroy Collins, who actually was the first to record and produce the sorely missed Garnett Silk when he came to Ocho Rios as a rather unknown young artist.
Besides many well known and lesser known Jamaican artists like Sugar Minott, Jah Mali, Rochel'le and John Junior who recorded at Grove Music Recording Studio there were also renown international artists who finally found their way to Ocho Rios in order to record their songs. To name a few: Soul II Soul, Tricky and Steel Pulse.

Probably the most successful employee at Grove Music Recording Studio is Barry O'Hare. As a recording engineer he was involved in Third World's "Committed" album and the Burning Spear's albums "Jah Kingdom" and "Rasta Business". Furthermore he was responsible for the 1990s remixes of Burning Spear's "Living Dub Volumes 1 & 2", which are released by the U.S. based reggae label Heartbeat Records. Nowadays Barry O'Hare is a well known producer, composer, musician, recording and mixing engineer, who has founded his own "XRated" record label and "BoHare Productions". In association with the Dutch record label "RUNNetherlands" he has released some really noteworthy material, including two albums with cultural deejay Prezident Brown with whom Barry O'Hare has a long lasting musical relationship.
Besides that he discovered Mikey Spice and the gifted roots songwriter and singer Daweh Congo, produced and recorded youngsters like Anthony B, Sizzla, Determine and Tanya Stephens but also reggae vets like U Brown, Jack Radics and E.T. Webster. He was also the driving force behind the release of a successful series of "Mighty Mike Continuous Mix" albums.
A few years after Carl Young had started Grove music Recording Studio he gave Ocho Rios another novelty as he initiated Jamaica's first reggae radio Irie FM, the one popular radio station which rules the Jamaican air waves and can be heard all over the island on frequences 105.5 and 107.7 FM, delivering 70% ragga, 20% roots music and 10% dub. Next to popular radio personalities like Elise Kelly and Mutabaruka (who presents his highly acclaimed weekly radio program "The Cutting Edge") Michael Jones aka Mighty Mike is the host of afternoon radio's most popular show. Before he joined Irie FM in 1992 he perfected the art of selecting through years of experience working in several clubs and hotels. In 1996 he took a new step in his career by showcasing his mixing skills on a series of so called "version galore" albums.
Together with Stephan Stewart the inevitable Carl Young is the show producer behind the Reggae Bash at the White River Reggae Park, a unique location in Ocho Rios. This private property has all facilities to do right to its main intention, namely to be a steady open air location for regularly held various artists shows. Throughout the years the White River Reggae Bash has welcomed on stage artists like Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, Sizzla, Beenie Man, Anthony B, Brigadier Jerry and Garnett Silk.


Selective discography:

For those who want to check out the music that was mainly or entirely recorded, mixed and/or produced in Ocho Rios we have compiled this list of relevant - mostly still available - albums.

  • Axx Of Jahpostles-Give Thanks And Praise (RUNNetherlands)
  • Burning Spear-Marcus Garvey (Island Records)
  • Burning Spear-Man In The Hills (Island Records)
  • Burning Spear-Jah Kingdom (Mango/Island Records)
  • Burning Spear-Rasta Business (Heartbeat Records)
  • Daweh Congo-Militancy (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Doniki & Steady Ranks-Come To Give Praises (Kariang Records)
  • Donovan-World Power (Island Records)
  • Earth Messengers-Ivory Towers (Mango/Island Records)
  • Foundation-Flames (Island Records)
  • Foundation-Heart Feel It (Mango/Island Records)
  • Kulcha Knox-Praise Jah Again (Kariang Records)
  • Neon Prophet-Reggae Party(Neon Prophet Records)
  • Super Morris-Mr. 5L Man (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Prezident Brown-Hurt Dem Belly (Flynn & Flynn Records)
  • Prezident Brown-Big Bad & Talented (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Prezident Brown-Prezident Selections (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Professor Frisky-Rougher (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Jack Radics-What About Me (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Ernest Ranglin-Play The Time Away (Grove Music)
  • Garnett Silk-Nothing Can Divide Us (VP Records)
  • Garnett Silk & Mikey Spice-Toe 2 Toe (Charm)
  • Link 'n' Chain-New Day (RAS Records)
  • Mikey Spice-Happiness (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Heathen Chant : Mighty Mike's Continuous Mix (RUNNetherlands)
  • Tanya Stephens-Big Things A Gwaan (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Bam On The Roof (Roof International)
  • Various-Drum Song : Mighty Mike's Continuous Mix (RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Healing Of The Nation (Kariang Records)
  • Various-Lovers On The Roof (Roof International)
  • Various-Many Moods Of Love Vol. 1 (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Many Moods Of Love Vol. 2 (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Producer's Trophy: Roof International (Hightone Records)
  • Various-Roof Top Skanking (Roof International/RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Ragga Party Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 4 (Roof International/RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-White River Reggae Bash Vol. 1 (RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Xrated Gang Vol. 1 (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Xrated Gang Vol. 2 (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • Various-Xrated Gang Vol. 3 (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)
  • E.T. Webster-Freedom Fighter (Xrated/RUNNetherlands)

Writers: Teacher & Mr. T. ~ July 1998. Pictures: Souljah / Barry O'Hare: Teacher.



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