Leroy Sibbles shifts gear

Howard Campbell

Friday, June 15, 2012

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ROCKSTEADY great Leroy Sibbles has launched a new phase of his career, stepping into music production with his Bright Beam record label.

Sibbles, who earned fame as a member of the Heptones harmony group, has already produced songs by two newcomers — singer Sagitar and deejay Chapter. He says the label was inspired by a concept his father came up with over 50 years ago.

"He had a grocery, Bright Beam Grocery, an' he operated his thing in a certain way. A beam is a bright light that shows the way an' that's what we want to do," Sibbles told the Jamaica Observer.

So Much by Sagitar and Chapter's Hussla are the songs currently being pushed by Sibbles and company. He stressed that breaking a new generation of artistes will be Bright Beam's focus.

"Is the youth dem time now, yuh nuh. We do our thing an' is time for the youth dem to step up an' do fi dem thing," he said.

Chapter, a 'hardcore deejay' who hails from Buff Bay, Portland, is the more experienced of the Bright Beam charges. Previously, he was a member of the duo Hard Knocks which recorded sporadically for independent producers.

He became Chapter after Hard Knocks dissolved. Hussla, which features Sibbles on bass, is his first song for Bright Beam.

Sibbles actually got Bright Beam started three years ago with his reggae cover of soul singer Bobby Womack's Harry Hippy, a self-produced song that did fairly well for the veteran singer.

After a lull, he revived the label with Sagitar and Chapter.

Sibbles is no novice to music production. Forty years ago, he was one of the driving forces at the legendary Studio One, singing harmony and playing bass on some of the biggest rocksteady and reggae hits.

His distinctive bass lines helped turned songs like Baby Why (The Cables), Skylarking (Horace Andy), Foggy Road (Burning Spear), Queen Of The Minstrel (Cornel Campbell) and Ten To One by the Mad Lads in classics.

Sibbles, however, is best known as lead vocalist for the Heptones which also included Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn. They are arguably the most successful harmony group from the rocksteady era of the late 1960s.

He expects to bring that experience to the fore and help put his artistes at Bright Beam on the musical map.

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