'In with fighting chance'

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Friday, November 22, 2019

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IT has been a fruitful 2019 for Third World. The veteran band kept busy touring, and released an overdue album that produced three well-received singles. Things got better on November 19 when they were announced as one of five nominees for Best Reggae Album at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

Released in August, More Work to be Done is Third World's seventh nomination in the category. It is produced by three-time Grammy winner Damian Marley. Guitarist Stephen “Cat” Coore co-founded Third World in 1973.

He has been through its glory days of the 1970s and 1980s, and an indifferent period in the 1990s that produced a series of forgettable albums. Another Grammy nod, he believes, is evidence of their recent renaissance.

“I'm very much humbled; in a journey of 46 years they're ups and downs. We had positive reaction when we were recording the album and I hope we are in with a fighting chance,” he told Jamaica Observer's Splash.

“Win, lose or draw, it's an honour.”

Rapture by Koffee, As I Am from Julian Marley, Steel Pulse's Mass Manipulation and The Final Battle: Sly and Robbie vs The Roots Radics, are the other nominees for Best Reggae Album.

Coore and bassist Richie Daley are survivors from Third World's heyday of the 1970s and 1980s, an era that yielded hit songs like 96 Degrees in The Shade, Always Around, Now That we Found Love and Try Jah Love.

The mid-1990s were rocky for the band. It saw the departure of keyboardist and co-founder Ibo Cooper and drummer Willie Stewart. Influential vocalist Bunny Rugs died in 2014.

Rugs was succeeded by A J Brown, a seasoned artiste who had a long run on the north coast cabaret circuit before enjoying a successful solo career. Drummer Tony “Ruption” Williams, and keyboardists Norris Webb and Maurice Gregory complete the current Third World line-up.

A cover of The Abyssinians' Yim Mas Gan, Loving You is Easy and Na Na Na are the songs released so far from More Work to be Done. A fourth single is expected to be out before the 62nd Grammy Awards, which takes place January 26 at Staples Center in Los Angeles


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