Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lloyd Barnes - Godfather of American Reggae

The story of Reggae in America is a story that can not be told unless you start with one man - Lloyd Barnes, AKA Bullwackie. Lloyd Barnes began his career by voicing the song "While I Was Walking" for Prince Buster in the early 60's. Lloyd was a friend and contemporary of artists like Ken Boothe and Stranger Cole. In 1967, Lloyd immigrated from Jamaica to New York City.
In NYC, Barnes started one of the first sound systems in the US (they actually transported their speakers and records boxes to their gigs on the NYC subways!). His sound played the current Rocksteady, and Early Reggae hits coming from Jamaica at the time.
By 1973 Barnes found the Sound System business to be hazardous to his health due to the level of violence that surrounded many of his dances so Lloyd decided to build a studio in his basement. Little did Barnes know that his Wackies Label and productions would signify the heights of the American Reggae industry and transform NYC into a world capital of Reggae on par with cities such as London, and Kingston.

Follow the link below for an in-depth interview with Lloyd done back in 1996 by Ray Hurford and Colin Moore for Small Axe:
Lloyd Barnes Interview


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