Another Natty Christmas

Another Natty Christmas

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Thursday, December 03, 2020

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With a rotund figure and full beard, Jacob Miller certainly had the likeness of Santa Claus. A Rastaman singing Christmas carols, however, did not fit the script.

Miller and the Inner Circle band went against social norms in 1978 when they recorded Natty Christmas, a ground-breaking album of carols done to reggae music. Last month, the Miami-based band reissued the 10-song set with a vinyl series of red, green and gold discs.

Abebe Lewis, marketing director for Inner Circle, told the Jamaica Observer that, “We wanted to do something special and I think we achieved that.”

Natty Christmas, which also features deejay Ray I, was recorded at Channel One studio in Kingston. It featured Miller alongside the core members of Inner Circle: founders Roger and Ian Lewis on rhythm guitar and bass, respectively, keyboardist Bernard “Touter” Harvey and drummer Calvin McKenzie.

Bassist Robbie Shakespeare, drummer Sly Dunbar and guitarist Mikey Chung, who were members of Peter Tosh's Word, Sound and Power band, also played on Natty Christmas.

The charismatic Miller revels on reggae renditions of Wish You A Merry Christmas and Silver Bells, as well as originals such as Natty no Santa Claus and All I Want For Ismas.

Miller died in March 1980 in a motor accident in Kingston. He was 27 years old.

The Lewis brothers and Harvey are still the driving force behind Inner Circle, who won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for Bad Boys in 1994.


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