Tenor Saw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tenor Saw
Birth name Clive Bright
Born December 6, 1966
Kingston, Jamaica
Died August 1988 (aged 21)
Houston, Texas, United States
Genres Reggae, dancehall
Occupations Singer-songwriter, singjay
Years active 1980s

Clive Bright (December 6, 1966 – August 1988), better known as Tenor Saw was a prominent dancehall singer in the 1980s, and one of the most influential singers of the early digital reggae era. His best-known song was the 1985 hit "Ring the Alarm" on the "Stalag 17" riddim.

Biography[edit]

Born in Victoria Jubilee Hospital, Kingston, Jamaica, Bright was raised as the fourth of six children in the Payne Land, Maverley and Olympic Gardens areas of West Kingston before the family settled in Duhaney Park.[1] Bright had a religious upringing and sang in the Seventh-day Adventist Church of God choir in Olympic Gardens.[1] Seeking to make it as a recording artist, Bright approached several of Kingston's producers. After being rejected by several others, George Phang gave the youngster a chance; His first single, "Roll Call" was recorded in 1984 for Phang's Powerhouse label, on the "Queen Majesty" rhythm.[2][1][3] He moved on, with his friend Nitty Gritty, to work with Sugar Minott's Youth Promotion sound system and Black Roots Records label, having hits in Jamaica with "Lots of Sign", "Pumpkin Belly", "Run Come Call Me", and "Fever".[2][3] His most successful single, however, was "Ring the Alarm", voiced over the "Stalag" riddim for Winston Riley's Techniques label.[1][2] The singles' success saw Tenor Saw work with Prince Jammy, recording "Pumpkin Belly" on Jammy's (then) new "Sleng Teng" rhythm.[3] Further hits followed in 1986 with "Golden Hen" (on the Uptempo label), and Minott issued Tenor Saw's debut album, Fever, that year.[2] In common with most dancehall albums of the period, most of the rhythms were digital adaptions of older tunes from the 1960s and 1970s, usually produced originally by Coxsone Dodd or Duke Reid. Thus, "Shirley Jones" is based on the "Rougher Yet" riddim (named after Keith "Slim" Smith's "Rougher Yet"), and "Eeni Meeni Mini Mo" uses the "Real Rock" riddim from Studio One, while "Roll Call" versions The Techniques' "Queen Majesty" from Duke Reid, and "Lots of Sign" uses the bassline of "Tonight" by Keith & Tex, produced by Derrick Harriott.[citation needed]

By the time the album was released, Tenor Saw had relocated to Miami, joining the Skengdon crew, where he recorded "Dancehall Feeling" and "Bad Boys". He recorded "No Work On a Sunday" for Donovan Germain, before moving to New York, where he recorded with Freddie McGregor ("Victory Train"). His last recording, "Chill Out Chill Out", was a duet with General Doggie.

In August 1988 he was killed in Houston, Texas, with the official cause of death determined as a case of hit and run, although other sources insist that he was murdered.[3][4] He died at 21 years of age. Tenor Saw is regarded as one of the most influential singers of the early digital reggae era of the mid-1980s.[2]

Influence[edit]

Tenor Saw's friends and colleagues Nitty Gritty ("Who Killed Tenor Saw?") and King Kong ("He was a Friend") both recorded tributes the year after his death.[3]

Sublime's song "Jailhouse" on their self titled album is a mix of "Roll Call" and The Wailers "Jailhouse" with some of Bradley Nowell's Lyrics.[citation needed]

Supercat's song "Nuff man a Dead" is about the death of Tenor Saw and other superstars of the time.[5]

311 samples Tenor Saw's "Ring the Alarm" in their song "Prisoner" from their Transistor album.[citation needed]

The guitar riff at the beginning of Sublime's song "Greatest Hits" is the same as the one at the end of Tenor Saw's song "Golden Hen" which is in itself a version of the Junjo Lawes' riddim Diseases.

The rap group Fu Schnickens also did a version of "Ring The Alarm" [1]

Daniel Lanois' Black Dub also covered "Ring The Alarm" on their self-titled debut album.

The song "Fell, Destroyed" by Fugazi from the album Red Medicine includes the line "Ring the alarm or you're sold to dying" and the lyric sheet included with the album pays "respects to Tenor Saw".

German rap group Dynamite Deluxe produced a track called "Lots of Sign", with guest-appearance Patrice singing the hookline taken of the same titled Tenor Saw song.

HipHop-Crew Lifesavas from Portland use the melody and lyrics of "Fever" for their same titled song. Song is on the Spirit in stone LP, released 2003.

Independent rap artist, Brother Ali samples Tenor Saw's "Ring the Alarm" in his song "Champion" from his album Shadows on the Sun.

Brooklyn MC, Mos Def, references "Ring the Alarm" in his single "Universal Magnetic".

Big Audio Dynamite's "Rewind," from their Megatop Phoenix album, quotes "Ring the Alarm".

Albums[edit]

  • Clash (1985) Witty (with Don Angelo)
  • Fever (1986) Blue Mountain/RAS
  • Wake the Town: Tribute to Tenor Saw (1992)
  • Strictly Livestock (1986) Greensleeves (with Various Artists)
  • Clash (1987) Witty (with Cocoa Tea)
  • Tenor Saw Lives On (1992) Sky High
  • With Lots Signs (2003) Jet Star (Tenor Saw meets Nitty Gritty)
  • Tenor Saw Meets Nitty Gritty (2008) VP

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Bonitto, Brian (2013) "Tenor Saw Lives On", Jamaica Observer, 9 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e Larkin, Colin (1998) "The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae", Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9
  3. ^ a b c d e Sawyer, Rick: "The Tragedy of Tenor Saw", JAMSBIO Magazine, September 4th, 2008 (archived version at the Internet Archive
  4. ^ "Black Echoes Online - In Memoriam", Black Echoes
  5. ^ "Nuff man Dead" lyric

External links[edit]