Nothing but the truth

Doctor Dread tells his story

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

Saturday, March 07, 2015





FOR his book The Half That's Never Been Told: The Real Live Reggae Adventures of Doctor Dread, RAS Records founder Gary Himelfarb chose the opening line of Bob Marley's Jah Live ('The truth is an offence, but not a sin') as an introduction.


"I did not write this book to put anyone down, it is not in that spirit which the book was written," Himelfarb told the Sunday Observer. "In fact, it is the opposite. It is a celebration of the amazing life I experienced thanks to the many great reggae artistes, musicians and other Jamaicans who allowed me into their culture and caused me to become the person I am."


'The Half That's Never Been Told' was launched last Wednesday by Akashic Books at the Brooklyn Public Library in New York.


It details Himelfarb's involvement with reggae through RAS, a Washington DC-based company he started in 1981. The man known globally as Doctor Dread distributed the music of top stars such as Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor, Culture and Israel Vibration.


He writes about his relationship with some of those acts in the book. The chapter on Isaacs recalls an incident at the Anchor recording studio in Kingston in which the singer reportedly drew a gun on Himelfarb.


The 60-year-old Himelfarb insists the book is not sensational.


"It is just one person's view of his life. I apologise if anyone is offended, but it is only the truth as I saw it," he said.


Himelfarb sold RAS years ago and is now involved in the food industry. He operates the Doctor Dread's Famous Jamaican Jerk company in 'DC'.


Recently, he has toyed with a musical comeback. He has been linked with projects by singers Jah Cure and Barrington Levy.


At Wednesday's launch, music was provided by an all-star band led by David Hinds of Steel Pulse. It also included Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, Bob Dylan's longtime bass player Tony Garnier and renowned Jamaican percussionist Larry McDonald.


 

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