Ken Boothe celebrates Journey

By Howard Campbell Observer senior writer

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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IT is only appropriate that in the year Ken Boothe celebrates his 50th year in the music business, he releases the album, Journey.


The 12-song set was released Monday and marks the singer's debut as a producer. Boothe called the shots on all the tracks which were recorded at his St Andrew home studio with stalwart musicians such as guitarist Dwight Pinkney, keyboardist Robbie Lyn and bass player Benjy Myaz.


The 64-year-old Boothe was philosophical when he spoke with the Jamaica Observer about his Golden Jubilee.


"No man is invulnerable yuh nuh mi brother. A lot of people from my pack have checked out so 50 years in any business is an accomplishment," he said.


Boothe who performs for the first time at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival Thursday at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium says he kept things simple in his new role as producer.



"I wanted to bring back the old style an' have only 12 songs on the album, not like everybody nowadays who have 18-19 songs an' most of them don't soun' good," he explained.


Journey has yielded two singles (the title track and See Love In Your Eyes) to date.


Born in the tough west Kingston community of Denham Town, Boothe has worked with a number of great producers including Arthur 'Duke' Reid, the former policeman who recorded his first song, Uno Dos Tres, for the Treasure Isle label.


He was among the top vocalists of the rock steady era during the mid to late 1960s, cutting songs like Moving Away, The Train, Puppet On a String and Lady With The Starlight. Boothe was equally at home with the new reggae beat that emerged late that decade, recording the laid-back Silver Words for producer Winston 'Niney' Holness in 1973. The following year, his cover of American group Bread's Everything I Own topped the British national chart.


Like several of his contemporaries from the rock steady period, Boothe's work has found a new audience through sampling. He and Shaggy covered The Train for the 1994 movie, Money Train, while rapper Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg) called on his song Artibella for last year's hit, La La La.


To celebrate his 50th year as an entertainer, Ken Boothe is scheduled to start a two-month tour, starting in Europe in March.


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