An ode to Joe

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

Monday, October 24, 2016

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REMEMBERING Joseph Hill, a tribute album to the influential lead singer of Culture, will be released in 2017, 40 years after the group created a stir with the song, Two Sevens Clash.

Hill died in Berlin, Germany, in 2006 at age 57. Penthouse Records’ Donovan Germain, who produced the album, said he had a personal stake in the project.

"Joseph Hill was one of my favourite artistes, but you don’t hear a lot of Culture songs on the radio. I want to introduce him to a different generation," Germain told the Jamaica Observer.

Germain selected the songs, then approached several acts to record their favourites. Hill’s son, Kenyatta, covered Stop This Fussing And Fighting, while Queen Ifrica put her spin on the ominous Two Sevens Clash.

A version of Natty Never Get Weary featuring Hill and Buju Banton is also on ‘Remembering’. George Nooks, who was a member of producer Joe Gibbs’ camp with Hill in the late 1970s, covers Baldhead Bridge.

Hill said Two Sevens Clash was inspired by a Marcus Garvey ‘prophecy’ that said there would be mayhem on July 7, 1977. That day, many schools and businesses in Jamaica closed.

Germain was living in New York City at the time. "That was a big, big song in New York. It’s what brought Culture to the world," he said.

From the market town of Linstead, Hill was a percussionist with the Soul Defenders band that played on hits at Studio One like Picture On The Wall by Freddie McKay.

He formed Culture in 1976; the trio had a big hit that year with Jah Jah See Them A Come. In the latter stages of their career, Culture recorded for a number of independent labels including RAS Records and Heartbeat Records.

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