“The Harry J Sessions”
(Partial Records, 2018)
The eternal debate about whether white people are capable of playing black music has just reached its entirely new level and all that because G.T. Moore has delivered some real reggae jewels. How that happened?
The eternal debate about whether white people are capable of playing black music has just reached its entirely new level. However, in this case, it has reached that level a long time ago, but only now we all have the opportunity to really witness that. What is it really about? G.T. Moore, a British guitarist, and singer has been in reggae music since the 1980s when he played a guest guitar in one of the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry albums (it turned to be an album “The Return Of Pipecock Jackson”). During his stay in Jamaica, Moore decided to record several of his own songs at the nearby Harry J studio. Everything remained on this, however, until last year, when these recordings were excavated from the archives, remixed, reproduced, and finally released at the beginning of this year. Causes of this big delay are probably known just too few or maybe they just doubted the original quality, but now there is no doubt at all that these are the real jewels of reggae.
Scratch came from the toilet where he’d taken a cloth and covered it with his own shit and then he began as the journalists watched, to write with his shit on the walls of his office and the things he was writing on the wall included lines like ‘white man is sucking the blood of the black man’ and other insults aimed at western society..
If I played these tracks to someone without giving her any information about the author, she would probably think that the author is some kind of experienced (black) reggae performer from the 70s who knows what the real reggae groove is all about. Nevertheless, if I would mention afterward that it was actually a white British guitarist who wrote the songs, she would probably be more than surprised. It is a great advantage for Moore he had the opportunity to work and meet Perry, who is himself a half-man, half-groove. Surely the time spent in Jamaica and working with Perry (not to mention the Wailers and many other great Jamaican musicians who Moore had the opportunity to meet there), influenced the Moore to recognize what the real reggae means, how it is created and what is needed to reach that certain level. Perry certainly did not work directly on these tapes (Moore is credited for complete production), but his influences are more than felt on all of these tracks.
Moore described in one of his interviews how he met Perry and got a chance to work with him in a studio: “In 1979 I had a close friend in the Black Star Liner record company (Henk Targowski) and he arranged for me to do an ‘audition’ with Scratch in Amsterdam. The room was full of journalists in the morning and it was in an expensive flat with a garden that looked on to the Vondel Park (the office of Black Star Liner was also in the same house). Scratch came from the toilet where he’d taken a cloth and covered it with his own shit and then he began as the journalists watched, to write with his shit on the walls of his office and the things he was writing on the wall included lines like ‘white man is sucking the blood of the black man’ and other insults aimed at western society. Afterward, when they all went they said to Scratch ‘this is the guy we want to go to Jamaica with you and play guitar’ and Scratch said ‘come on then man, play’ and I played my electric red Gibson. A combination of rhythm and lead. (which is quite difficult) He said ‘yeah he’s good, he can come”. Read the entire interview here.
Going to the source must be inspiring. Surely, to any white reggae band performers from the West, such an adventure and meeting with the source would influence their understanding of reggae as a genre, but above all as groove and cultural weapon.
02. Reformation Dub
04.Temple Mount Dub
05.Working For The Dollar
06.Turn The Wheel Dub
08.Stony Hill Dub