Houston’s Nyam Cash promotion in association with God Alone promotions – First Annual Houston Caribbean Reggae Jam -Saturday September 15, 2012 exceeded all my expectations. Who would have known Texas could put on a show so powerful. I live in Texas however I travel outside to get my; Live band real roots flavor. Lol
This is how it started: I called Glen (Washington) about two and half weeks ago to see how his previous show went and he informed me that he, Cocoa Tea and Luciano was going to be performing at Houston’s First Annual Reggae Jam and, that I should come down. Wellbeing that he is my boss and friend, I decided why not – I am now rested having just come off the road with InnerVisions Reggae Band. Following all that hype I was getting a little bored in Dallas. (smile). Plus in all these years I had never had an opportunity to interview Cocoa Tea. Interesting fact is Cocoa Tea was one of Mikey Dreads’ dearest friends, yet Cocoa Tea and I only crossed paths once in 1991 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. That in itself makes me know Reggae is a small world on a well-traveled road. We are all constantly beating the tour path down and missing each other by miniscule of seconds it’s just amazing.
On to the Show – Houstons’ First Annual Caribbean Reggae Jam held at The Royal Place in Houston, Texas. Whoever came up with this concept of three Jamaican Powerhouses on one Bill, should receive an award!!!
As soon as the fliers hit the streets, featuring Cocoa Tea, Luciano and Glen Washington, you could feel the momentum building on the social media and on the streets. Not just in Houston, but across Texas. One fan wrote “Damn when did you add Glen Washington? As if Cocoa Tea & Luciano wasn’t sufficient. “Niceness” Father Fenzik of Fenzik promotions in Dallas said “this is THE show; I knew it when I saw the flier”. Yes just at that time they had become known as Three the Hard Way. The Lover – Glen Washington, The Messenjah – Luciano and The Sealer – Cocoa Tea who can always seal the deal. Why three the hard way? Well each of these magnificent performers on their own are a musically and lyrically force to be reckoned with. Together they come stronger than a hurricane, typhoon and earthquake rolled into one; and they proved just so.
First up: When the crowd heard his voice the screaming was deafening – the voice they were hearing was none other than the Big, Brown and Sexy one – Glen Washington backed by the Step by Step Band and supported by three female backup singers. Glen is no stranger to making women fall out of control during a performance; however tonight he was in rare form, he gave them much more. The women as usual hugged the front of the stage like a well fitting glove, just wanting a little piece of the Big, Brown, Sexy one. Glen being part of nature’s plan just couldn’t turn away. He has a sexy way in making the audience draw to him like bees to honey; it’s safe to say he love them up musically – right and proper. Singing hit after hit such as Number ONE girl, One fine day and selections from his newest album “Masterpiece”, reeling the crowd in with that sexy look that comes so naturally to him. One lady screamed to him to “take her” it was just a funny and magnificent moment. I love to see Glen laugh and smile with his audience it’s no wonder they feel that close association to him. Always, they are reaching up to the stage for him to touch them.
What is the saying when you feel the music it will make you feel “Irie”. Glen was reeling them in like an expert fisherman. Now don’t get it wrong, the men were also singing along with EVERY song. It’s just that the women were in control of the surrounding stage. (smile). While I was walking the crowd to get the real feel, I overheard a man say “Victoria secret must have made a lot of money this week,” indicating all the women trying to get next to Glen Washington, made sure they purchased the sexiest outfits around just for him. The women were screaming “I love you Glen”. When you watch him work that stage it’s like he is telling the crowd “no one can love you like I do, no one can treat you as I do, no one will love you like I do, because I care”. I am here to tell you Glen does sing Roots and Culture as well, but it is the love songs that makes him as sexy as he wants to be and every women wishing they were his Number ONE girl, he has the unique ability to communicate with his eyes and voice and making you think you and you alone are the most important person in the room. Lol. This night he was first on the line-up – the promoters made a perfect choice – if you want something to taste good, you put a little sweetening in it right? Well Glen Washington is most definitely equipped to sweeten up any audience as he did with perfection tonight; the LOVER MAN for real
Next up: Luciano – The Messenjah who started his performance by singing off stage, expertly building up the fever of an already hyped crowd who no doubt knew they were in for a special treat. Once Luciano actually took the stage, the crowd once again went hog wild. This time the Rastas’ were jumping up and down with joy like there was no tomorrow, why? Because the Messenjah took to the stage running; immediately up off his feet and taking the audience to a higher plain. Luciano being the well-tuned performer he is – hit them with the message so hard, the people could not contain themselves. It was like he was the pied piper, he blew his horn (in this case his sweet vibration of a voice) and you instantly knew he had the presence to lead the people where he wish. Lawd – I was standing there wondering if I was to go into cardiac arrest, the excitement was just that overwhelming. This performance was extra special as Luciano has been away from this part of the U.S for well over 4 years. It’s been at least 10 years since I have seen him perform live in Texas, this performance was long overdue.
By the joyful expressions on the faces of ones in the audience, you could see the people had been starved for the Messenjah. Man when he was singing Rivers and Valleys the crowd went into frenzy. By the smile on “Lucies’’’ face, you can see he was also enjoying the vibes. He too kept hitting the audience hard with hit after hit without let up. The following is an excerpt I had written from my experience of a Luciano concert some years prior.
This is taken from the reggae festival guide 2004 special moments section:
Now let’s head over to Dallas, Texas, where publicist Mushiya Jobe-Strickland had what she calls an empress love moment when LUCIANO, DEAN FRASER and JUNIOR KELLY appeared at the Caribbean Grill:
“I was in front of the stage with my eyes closed and I was just really feeling the vibes as Luciano performed. Then I could sense all eyes on me and when I opened my eyes, to my surprise everyone was taking delight at my expense. (Smile) Why? When I looked up at the stage, I saw that Luciano had stopped singing and was looking down at me. He offered his hand into mine and he held my hand as he sang a song especially to me. I can truly say that if it were possible, I would not have ever washed that hand! To this day, Luciano is my heart. He takes special care of his people – a pure and true Rasta Man.”
Now right after this appeared in the magazine, I started getting stalked literally by some female, who took the article in a literal sense as some fans do! The power of the Messenjah. Over the years traveling with Mikey Dread I’ve had the privilege of seeing a Luciano performance and I have to say this show Saturday night was the BEST Luciano performance ever!!!!!! Beat after beat – Luciano turned up the heat – he is truly the Messenjah!
The Final Act: Now we come to The Sealer!!! – Cocoa Tea, I use to have this saying -I need some Sugar in my coffee (meaning Sugar Minott) and some Cocoa in my Tea (meaning Cocoa Tea). Just like Jamaica Cocoa Tea is sweet, sweet! – Off stage Cocoa Tea is so humble and sweet, who knew he would pack a one, two knock-out musical punch as he did tonight! Once again just the mention of the name Cocoa Tea by the announcer made the crowd go ballistic. It looked like a scene from Africa where the people with the rings around their necks would jump high up and down off the ground. Lighters were flicking, cell phones snapping and recording you name it. The scene was just extra crazy! Cocoa Tea hailing from Rocket Place, Clarendon in Jamaica started singing with a sound system at an early age. In 1983 he sang a song called “Volcano” he took the mic by accident and tore up the place. In 1984 he moved to Kingston and as they say the rest is history. Cocoa Tea has been around for quite some time and is timeless. He is not referred to as Cocoa Tea for nothing; his musical delivery is just awesome. Quiet as he is, he comes alive on stage. His energy is immeasurable, and when he started singing “Rykers Island” it was on!! The audience and I (smile) was singing right along with him, knowing every word. As a matter of fact whenever Cocoa Tea opened his mouth to sing any song from him repertoire, the audience was all over it, taking over the song. Lol. It was a great joy to see and hear. Cocoa Tea is skillfully playful with his interaction with the audience. They give back to him the joy he give them; it’s a pleasant sight to see.
I was just stunned; musically he has not changed a bit over the years. He has that same energy and charisma I remembered so many years ago. The last time I saw Cocoa Tea perform was in 1991 in Montego Bay. It felt so good to experience the same vibes. After having the privilege of witnessing him live again he brought back some wonderful memories of the great times in Reggae and it felt great. It’s those same feelings when you know reggae was an enticing experience with Dennis Brown Sugar Minott, Mikey Dread, Jospeh Hill and Culture and The Mediations and so on. Cocoa Tea one of the last of the original reggae legends of his time is simply fabulous, completing the number of Three the Hard way. Solid vocals, undeniable charm and warm playfulness. Cocoa Tea is like fine wine, he has only gotten better with time and totally refined.
The Root of Reggae is very much alive in abundance. Just these three guys alone in one night. Three the Hard way – Glen Washington, Luciano and Cocoa Tea can attest from their performances, Roots and Culture, Lovers Rock, Vintage and Conscious Reggae the Roots are here for Eternity.
This was the first Annual Houston Caribbean Reggae Jam and not only did they pack the place, it was a successful venture all the way around. I am personally looking forward to it next year, whether or not I am living in Dallas. Hey, I did drive 4.5 hours there and 4.5 hours back. It was worth every minute and more.
Give thanks to Nyam Cash promotions /Promoter Bronco and Sam for the hospitality and for a well-organized, class one, top shelf event. People will be talking about this show for years to come! Also give thanks to Dwayne Smith – Club Riddims and Vibez Shop- great looking out.