Return of the outlaw

Observer senior writer

Friday, February 22, 2019

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AS an aspiring deejay in Askenish district, Hanover, Terry Ganzie remembers listening to artistes “who mek sense. People like Wailers, Barry Brown, Gregory Isaacs an' Super Cat.” He believes the music he has made since his first song in 1989, follows suit.

One of the marquee dancehall artistes of the 1990s, Terry Ganzie turned in a solid performance at Rebel Salute in January. He said it came after a self-imposed break from a music business that has turned its back on quality and embraced mediocrity.

“Right now yuh have a market out dey fi real music an' dat's where me look. God bless who still a mek good music,” he said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

Need A Little More Time Alone, War Everywhere and Life are some of Terry Ganzie's new songs. The latter is a collaboration with Luciano, War Everywhere was done for a European company, while Need A Little More Time Alone is produced by Honeycombs Records, a Linstead label.

They carry the fiery Rastafarian message that has been a theme of his music since the late 1990s when he became a Rastafarian. Earlier songs, such as Welcome The Outlaw, Ragga Ragga and Whosoever Will, were dance-crashers in the 1990s.

He insists his current songs are just as potent, but there is little love for them on radio. He blames that on “politics”.

“Wi nuh haffi go inna details but yuh have nuff song out dey wey people neva hear an' dem dey pon chart. Everybody know wha' gwaan…a reality,” he said.

Like his contemporaries, Terry Ganzie (aka Vandorne Johnson) developed his toasting skills on sound systems. He worked the small circuit in his native parish before recording his first song, More Vibes, 30 years ago for producer Ed Robinson's Top Rank label.

His breakthrough song was Welcome The Outlaw, a raucous call-to-arms number produced by Lloyd “John John” James. Ragga Ragga (Bobby Digital), Whosoever Will, Showdown (Penthouse Records) and Prepare fi War (Shocking Vibes) made Terry Ganzie a dancehall heavyweight.

Reflecting, he feels that success came with a price.

“Me'd always dey wid studio wey concentrate pon di big artiste dem…African Star, Startrail, Penthouse. After a while wi jus' do things pon wi own.”

Last year, Terry Ganzie took a six-month break to refocus on his career and record songs strong enough to get him genuinely back on the charts. His performance at Rebel Salute may have been just what the doctor ordered.

“Right ya now, wi nuh inna no competition with nuh artiste. Wi jus' keep it real,” he said.

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