Snoop covers Ken Boothe

By Howard Campbell Observer senior writer

Friday, August 24, 2012    

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Musically, the differences between Ken Boothe and Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg) are like night and day. The former is one of reggae's great balladeers while the latter is an icon of the gangsta rap movement.

Recently, Snoop announced his conversion to Rastafari after a visit to Jamaica and says he has switched from rap to reggae. His first song as a reggae act is La La La, a cover of Artibella, a song Boothe first recorded in the mid 1960s when Snoop was not even born.

Boothe, 64, told the Jamaica Observer that Snoop's legal team contacted his son and business manager, Chadan Boothe in June, and expressed interest in doing the song.

"I never spoke to them at all but it's a great thing to know a man like dat listen to the music. It jus' show dat those songs live on," Boothe said.

La La La was released in July and has drawn favourable response in the United States. It has been particularly popular on YouTube, recording over three million hits to date.

Artibella was co-written by Boothe and fellow singer Strangejah Cole. The original version was produced by Clement 'Coxson' Dodd for his Studio One label but Boothe later cut the song for Phil Pratt.

Pratt was one of many independent producers who sprung up throughout west Kingston in the late 1960s. For his version of Artibella, Pratt used one of the hottest sides around at the time.

Accompanying Boothe on the song were bassist Aston 'Family Man' Barrett, his brother and drummer Carlton Barrett, guitarist Alva 'Reggie' Lewis and keyboardist Glen Adams.

These musicians formed the core of producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry's Upsetters band. They played on Duppy Conqueror, the Wailers' classic song for Perry, as well as Slim Smith's Everybody Needs Love and Stick by Me by John Holt, both produced by Bunny Lee.

For Boothe — who had a number one song in Britain in 1975 with Everything I Own — it is the second occasion one of his songs has been covered by a pop act. The Train is Coming, a rock steady hit for him in 1968, was given new life in 1995 when Shaggy recorded it for the Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson movie, Money Train.

He says he is familiar with some of Snoop's work and is happy the song he recorded nearly 50 years ago is making waves with the hip-hop generation.

"It's a great thing, I'm not one of dem artiste who feel dat the artiste from my time is the best. Every generation produce great artiste," he told Splash.





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