Culture (band)

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Culture
Also known as African Disciples
Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Roots reggae
Years active 1976–present
Labels Joe Gibbs Music
High Note
Virgin/Front Line
Blue Mountain
Shanachie
RAS
VP
Heartbeat
Members Kenyatta Hill
Albert Walker
Telford Nelson
Past members Joseph Hill
Roy "Kenneth" Dayes
Reginald Taylor

Culture are a Jamaican roots reggae group founded in 1976. Originally they were known as the African Disciples. The one constant member until his death in 2006 was Joseph Hill.

History[edit]

The group formed in 1976 as the vocal trio of Joseph Hill (formerly a percussionist in Studio One house band the Soul Defenders), his cousin Albert "Ralph" Walker, and Roy "Kenneth" Dayes, initially using the name The African Disciples.[1] They soon changed name to Culture, and auditioned successfully for the "Mighty Two" – producer Joe Gibbs and engineer Errol Thompson.[1] While at Gibbs' studio, they recorded a series of powerful singles, starting with "See Dem a Come" and including the hugely successful "Two Sevens Clash" (which predicted the apocalpyse on 7 July 1977), many of which ended up on their debut album Two Sevens Clash.[2][3][4] The song was sufficiently powerful that many in Kingston stayed indoors on 7 July, fearing that the prophecy would come true.[5] A second Gibbs-produced album, Baldhead Bridge, followed in 1978, by which time the group had moved on to record for producer Sonia Pottinger.[2] The group entered into a long-running dispute with Gibbs over royalties to the first album.

Two Sevens Clash meanwhile had become a big seller in the United Kingdom, popular with punk rock fans as well as reggae fans and boosted by the support of John Peel on his BBC Radio 1 show, and reached number 60 on the UK Albums Chart in April 1978.[5][6][7] This prompted Virgin Records to sign the group to its Front Line label, releasing Harder than the Rest (1978) and International Herb (1979).[1] Culture also released records on other labels in Jamaica, including a dub version of Harder than the Rest (Culture in Dub (1978, High Note)) and an album of different mixes of the same album (Africa Stand Alone (1978, April)).[1] An album recorded for Pottinger in 1979 with a working title of Black Rose remained unreleased until tracks emerged in 1993 on Trod On.[1]

Culture performed at the One Love Peace Concert in 1978.[6]

In 1981 the three singers went their own ways.[8] Hill carried on using the Culture name, and recorded the Lion Rock album, which was reissued in the United States by Heartbeat Records.[1] Hill and his new band recorded a session for long time supporter John Peel in December 1982, and the group went on to record further studio sessions for Peel in 1998 and 2002, and their performance at the Royal Festival Hall in July 1998 was broadcast on his show.[9] For their part, Walker and Dayes recorded a handful of songs on their own – a few of which turned up on an album titled Roots & Culture. Hill performed at the Reggae Sunsplash festival in 1985 and in 1986 the original line-up reformed to record two highly regarded albums – Culture in Culture and Culture at Work.[1]

Several album followed in the 1990s on Shanachie Records and Ras Records, often recorded with Sly and Robbie, with Dayes leaving the group again around 1994, with Reginald Taylor replacing him.[1][10][11]

By 2001 Telford Nelson had replaced Taylor.[12][13]

Joseph Hill, who came to symbolize the face of Culture, died in Berlin, Germany on 19 August 2006 while the group was on tour, after collapsing following a performance.[14] His son, Kenyatta Hill, who had acted as the group's sound engineer on tour, performed with his father's band at the Western Consciousness show in 2007, which was dedicated to Joseph Hill, and became the lead singer of Culture; Walker and Nelson continue to provide backing vocals.[15][16][17]

In 2011, Live On was released, featuring Kenyatta's performances of his father's songs such including "Two Sevens Clash" and "International Herb".[17]

Critically considered one of the most authentic traditional reggae acts, at the time of the first Rolling Stone Record Guide publication, they were the only band of any genre whose every recording received a five-star review (of bands with more than one recording in the guide).[citation needed]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Two Sevens Clash (1977), Joe Gibbs Music
  • Baldhead Bridge (1978), Joe Gibbs Music
  • Harder Than the Rest produced by Sonia Pottinger (1978), Virgin Records/Front Line
  • Africa Stand Alone (1978), April
  • Cumbolo produced by Sonia Pottinger (1979), Virgin/Front Line
  • International Herb produced by Sonia Pottinger (1979), High Note/Virgin
  • More Culture aka Innocent Blood (1981), Joe Gibbs Music
  • Lion Rock (1982), Sonic Sounds
  • Culture at Work (1986), Blue Mountain/Shanachie
  • Culture in Culture (1986), Music Track
  • Nuff Crisis (1988), Blue Mountain
  • Good Things (1989), RAS
  • Three Sides to My Story (1991), Shanachie
  • Wings of a Dove (1992), Shanachie
  • One Stone (1996), Gorgon/RAS
  • Trust Me (1997), RAS
  • Payday (1999), RAS
  • Humble African (2000), VP
  • World Peace (2003), Heartbeat
  • Pass the Torch (Tafari Records) (2007) (Seven versions of old tunes by Joseph Hill, and seven tunes by his son Kenyatta Hill)[18]
  • Live On (2011), Zojak Worldwide

Dub albums[edit]

  • Culture Dub (1978), High Note
  • Culture In Dub - 15 Dub Shots (1994), Heartbeat
  • Stoned (is One Stone in Dub engineered by Fathead and Jim Fox) (1996), RAS
  • Scientist Dubs Culture into a Parallel Universe (2000)
  • Rare And Unreleased Dub, Revolver

Live albums[edit]

  • Cultural Livity: Live Culture '98 (1998), RAS
  • Live in Africa (2002)
  • Live in Negril (2003)

Split albums[edit]

  • Roots and Culture (1982), Jah Guidance - split with Don Carlos

Compilations[edit]

  • Vital Selection (1981), Virgin
  • Rare and Unreleased Dub Revolver Records (1989)
  • Too Long in Slavery produced by Sonia Pottinger (1981), Virgin
  • 17 Chapters of Culture (1992), Sonic Sounds
  • Trod On produced by Sonia Pottinger (1993), Heartbeat
  • Strictly Culture: The Best Of Culture 1977-1979 (1994), MCI
  • Ras Portraits (1997), RAS
  • Peace and Love (1997), Rhino
  • Reggae Giants (1997), Top Tape
  • Production Something (1998), Heartbeat
  • Kings of Reggae (2001), Nocturne
  • Chanting On (2004), Earmark
  • This is Crucial Reggae (2004), Sanctuary
  • Culture & The Deejays At Joe Gibbs 1977-79 (2008), 17 North Parade
  • At Joe Gibbs (2011), 17 North Parade
  • Seven Sevens Clash (2012), 17 North Parade - box set of seven 7-inch singles
  • Stronger Than Ever: At Their Best, Rocky One
  • Natty Never Get Weary, Revolver

DVD[edit]

  • Live in Africa (2002), RAS

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 83-85
  2. ^ a b Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, 3rd edn., Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4, p. 163
  3. ^ "Joseph Hill and Culture: Age-Defying Reggae", Washington Post, 8 May 2006, p. C04
  4. ^ Porter, Christopher (2006) "Joseph Hill and Culture: Age-Defying Reggae", The Washington Post, 8 May 2006, retrieved 15 September 2012  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b Norris, Michele (2007) "Birth of a Phenomenon: 'Two Sevens Clash'", NPR, 12 July 2007, retrieved 15 September 2012  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  6. ^ a b "Obituary: Joseph Hill", Liverpool Daily Post, 22 August 2006, retrieved 15 September 2012  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  7. ^ "Culture(Link redirected to OCC website)", Chart Archive, retrieved 15 September 2012
  8. ^ Pareles, Jon (1988) "Pop: Culture, Rockers Reggae Band", The New York Times, 16 January 1988, retrieved 15 September 2012
  9. ^ "Culture", Keeping It Peel, BBC, retrieved 15 September 2012
  10. ^ Quillen, Shay (1990) "Culture adds synthesized sounds to 'Nuff Crisis'", The Cavalier Daily, 1 February 1990, p. 4, retrieved 15 September 2012
  11. ^ Stoute, Lenny (1994) "Reggaeman pounds Culture message home", Toronto Star, 28 July 1994, p. E5
  12. ^ Cooke, Mel (2003) "Culture remains humble", Jamaica Gleaner, 13 September 2003, retrieved 15 September 2012
  13. ^ Heim, Joe (2001) "Culture, Partying On In Rastafarian Harmony", The Washington Post, 26 March 2001, retrieved 15 September 2012  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  14. ^ Francis, Petrina (2006) "Reggae Icon, Joseph Hill, Dies", Jamaica Gleaner, 20 August 2006, retrieved 15 September 2012
  15. ^ Cooke, Mel (2007) "Culture tribute for Western Consciousness 2007", Jamaica Gleaner, 13 April 2007, retrieved 15 September 2012
  16. ^ Frater, Adrian (2007) "Kenyatta Hill keeps the voice of Culture alive", Jamaica Gleaner, 21 January 2007, retrieved 15 September 2012
  17. ^ a b "Joseph 'Culture' Hill lives on", The Weekly Gleaner, 1 September 2011, retrieved 15 September 2012  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  18. ^ Steckles, Gary (2008) "Spin Control", Chicago Sun-Times, 27 January 2008, retrieved 15 September 2012  – via HighBeam (subscription required)

External links[edit]