Deep Roots Music 2
March 16, 2008

Label MVDVisual / Screen Edge
Format DVD - Region Free
Languages Patois / English
Subtitles None
Length 100 minutes (approx.)
Producer/Director Howard Johnson
In late 1982 the UK based company Channel 4 TV broadcasted the Deep Roots Music series, a total of six episodes, exploring the extraordinary origins of reggae. From the music of the slaves which were brought in from Africa to the soundsystem days of the early 1980s, it's all here. It unlocks the lost music of the Maroons and of plantation society, and it traces a line from the buru-men and obeah-men through to the dancehall days of the early 1980s. The excellent narrator is artist, producer and radio host Mikey 'At The Controls' Dread. He actually performs a little toast here and there! His poetical style of narration matches the content perfectly and shows his engagement. The series was produced in 1981 by Howard Johnson and Mike Wallington (Executive producer). Special assistants were Rasta preacher Pepe Judah and Leggo Beast.

This DVD contains the third and fourth episode: 'The Bunny Lee Story' and 'Black Ark'. Artists featured are Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Bob Marley, The Mighty Diamonds, Nat King Cole, Wayne Smith, Prince Jammy, Delroy Wilson, Lettis Mento Band, Jackie Edwards, Byron Lee, Johnny Clarke, Prince Jazzbo, Bunny 'Striker' Lee, Junior Reed, Tommy McCook, Skully, Count Ossie Band and Mystic Revelation of Rastafari.

'The Bunny Lee Story' sees a young Prince Jammy at the controls in King Tubbys studio. Bunny Lee was a legendary producer who produced dozens of hits with top artists from the late sixties to the early eighties. In the studio Jammy operates the mixing board while artists like Wayne Smith, Delroy Wilson, Jackie Edwards and Johnny Clarke voice some of Bunny's early 80's riddims. Jammy shows how he mixes the dub version... and Bunny Lee goes wild, performing a Jamaican version of Break-Dance! In a very informal atmosphere the artists tell about their career, reggae music and Bunny Lee. At times it's not easy to keep up with the interviews, due to inferior sound quality (recording techniques were not as sophisticated as now) and the use of Patois, but that doesn't take away the perfect mood and emotional impact of the footage.

Part four shines the light on one of Jamaica's most controversial figures, Lee 'Scratch' Perry aka The Madman. He also was responsible for dozens of hit records and made fame as a producer of classic dub albums. His efforts with the Wailers are truly historical. This episode is a celebration of the influence of Rastafari on reggae, and it includes the rarest of footage of His Majesty Haile Selassie. Also featured is Nyabinghi drumming (Count Ossie, Tommy McCook and Skully), The Mighty Diamonds and Bob Marley. We see how Perry spends days at his home and in the Black Ark studio, talking, shouting, and madly orating about music, rasta and black power. Brilliant!

Just like Deep Roots Music 1 this is an historical document. Do yourself a real favor and get both volumes. Volume 3 (Money In My Pocket" and "Ghetto Riddims") is coming very soon!