Freddie's Di Captain sets sail in August
FREDDIE McGregor is scheduled to release his 36th studio album, Di Captain, in August.
The 15-track set is his first album of original songs since Mr McGregor which was released in 2009 by VP Records.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, McGregor said singer Etana and British artiste Gappy Ranks are among the guests on the album.
Guitarist Dalton Browne, a longtime member of McGregor's band; the Firehouse Crew, Paul 'Computer Paul' Henton, the Gumption Band and Dean Fraser played on Di Captain.
"The album was recorded over a four year period. We did some work at Stingray Studios in England, and Big Ship studio here in Jamaica," McGregor explained.
The owners of Stingray are McGregor's cousins. They collaborated on his Grammy-nominated album Anything for You.
McGregor points out that Di Captain holds special significance to him for a number of reasons.
"The album happens to be coming out in the summer during the time Jamaica will be celebrating its 50th (year of) independence. We also had a deadline for delivering the album to Japan where the release date is August 22. Japan has been a major market for my music over the years," he explained.
Tracks on the album include a cover of the Burt Bacharach standard, A House is Not a Home, which was produced by Steely and Cleevie; a cover of Jerry Butler's Let it Be Me featuring Etana; and Standing Strong featuring Gappy Ranks.
Another cover (of The Beatles') You Won't See Me and the celebratory Move up Jamaica Move Up are included on a three-song EP which has been released in Japan.
McGregor says with the outcry from Jamaicans about the sad state of contemporary reggae, fans can expect a lot of quality from Di Captain.
"We hope that this album will get a chance to be heard. It is a very important album for me", said McGregor.
McGregor began his musical career in 1963 at age six as Little Freddie at the legendary Studio One.
He would later form a duo with Ernest 'Fitzroy' Wilson as Fitzie and Freddie.
Next, he teamed with Wilson and Peter Austin to form the Clarendonians.
McGregor was still at Studio One in the 1970s, recording hits like Bobby Babylon.
His popularity soared in the 1980s when he released the outstanding Big Ship album which included the big-selling title song.
That decade, he scored a number of hits including two British pop singles in Just Don't Want to Be Lonely and That Girl (Groovy Situation).