Mikey Dread - Jungle Signal (1982) [MP3 here]
::: big thanx to the DISCO DEVIL blog :::
01 - Signal One
02 - Jungle Signal
03 - Signal Three Dub
04 - Rainbow Jungle
05 - Star Chase
06 - Jungle Gym
07 - Jungle Juice
08 - Dub Jungle
09 - Theme Signal
10 - Lazer Signal
Mikey DreadA pioneering reggae artist and broadcaster, he worked with the Clash and UB40
Tuesday March 25, 2008
Worlds away from the Jamaican shanty towns where reggae supposedly originated, Dread - born Michael Campbell - grew up with his four siblings in relative affluence in Port Antonio, on the island's north-east coast. He excelled in physics at Titchfield high school, and after graduating from Kingston technical college was recognised as something of a console boffin when taken on in 1976 by the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation (JBC).
He also branched out into record production, scoring in the local charts notably with Barber Saloon, a blend of rapping and singing that became known as the "sing-jay" style. In 1978 he performed at Reggae Sunsplash, Jamaica's most prestigious annual music event, though the year ended in disputes with fellow JBC broadcasters that forced his resignation. After founding his own production company, DATC, Dread notched up hit records for other artists while maintaining his own run of Top 20 entries. These included Breakdown the Walls - heard in the 1980 ITV drama Walcott and the US movie The Rift - and the albums Dread at the Controls and African Anthem, each containing jingles from his old JBC programme.
An exploratory promotional trip to England in 1979 was extended to enable Dread to complete a course at the National Broadcasting School in London and support the Clash on a round-Britain tour early in 1980. The group made use of his studio skills, most conspicuously on the million-selling Sandinista! triple-album, and granted him vocal pride of place on Rockers Galore and Radio One, respective B-sides of its spin-off singles.
In 1982 Dread narrated Channel 4's Deep Roots Music series and created its Jungle Signal theme tune. He was also to script and present the channel's 10-part Rockers Roadshow (1983). He also furthered the cause of reggae with a stint at VPRO Radio in the Netherlands, and expeditions to Japan and continental Europe with UB40, for whom he oversaw the mixing of the successful single Red Red Wine and other items.
Still a determined self-improver, in 1984 Dread enrolled at what was then the North London Polytechnic to study advanced recording technology. Later, he gained honours degrees in music, media and business studies. He was not, however, metamorphosing into a cerebral academic: he continued to broadcast on radio and make personal appearances at, for example, the 1984 Miss Black UK Pageant in Birmingham. He also joined the board of the Caribbean Satellite Network in Miami, and taped voiceovers for TV commercials.
As a pop entertainer, he headlined tours of north America and took potshots at the charts with such releases as the 1990 single, The Source of Your Divorce. He managed well-received spots at the 2002 Montreux jazz festival and at Glastonbury in 2004, and was in demand on what amounted to a niche nostalgia circuit peopled by the likes of Bunny Wailer, Kid Creole and former personnel of Bob Marley's Wailers. The much reissued Mikey Dread's Best Sellers CD retrospective always did brisk business on auditorium merchandising stalls.
He was back in the UK on a short tour in 2006 and is survived by his wife Monika, their infant son Zylen Jahlight and six children from previous relationships.
· Mikey Dread (Michael George Campbell), vocalist, producer and radio presenter, born January 1 1954; died March 15 2008