I came across this amazing article in Large Up about these reggae music documentaries that had I done a little sleuthing I probably would’ve managed to find myself, but am grateful to Large Up nonetheless for taking the footwork out of it. Below you’ll find Youtube videos for three extraordinary films the first Bullwackies a sorta eighties look at reggae music in New York. The second (and my favorite) Portraits Of Jamaican Music which really delves deep into ska and the third Summer Sound In Canada, this one follows the journey of one man’s efforts to create one of the most influential reggae music studios in the North America’s.
WACKIES: BULLWACKIES IN NEW YORK
This is the story of Wackies label proprietor Lloyd Barnes, one of the original NY reggae studio operators, and the producer behind Horace Andy’s Dance Hall Style and other little-known but mind-blowing dub and dancehall discs, was directed by a guy called Christopher Coy who, as far as we can tell, never made anything else. That’s too bad because, like Wackies himself, the movie has a lot of style, showing a side of New York even most New Yorkers rarely see, way up in the North Bronx on White Plains Road.
PORTRAITS OF JAMAICAN MUSIC
Beginning with archival footage of Jamaica’s independence celebrations in 1962, Portraits Of Jamaican Music features appearances and interviews from Jamaican music pioneers including the late Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett and Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore of the Skatalites, along with one Sister Ignacius of the Alpha Boys School, home of the Alpha Brass Band (alumni of which includes Tommy McCook and Don Drummond). The cinematography could be a little stronger, but this movie’s clearly had a lasting impact: it led director Pierre-Marc Simonin to form the Jamaica All Stars, a still-active band of pioneering reggae/rocksteady musicians and singers that included the late Justin Hinds.
SUMMER SOUND IN CANADA
This documentary film, shot entirely in Toronto in the late ’70s and features reggae greats as Jackie Mittoo, Willi Williams, and Johnnie Osbourne. The Summer Records imprint has often been cited as Canada’s answer to Lee Perry’s Black Ark Studios.