by Howard Campbell
UNITED KINGDOM – Kush I, a Jamaican reggae artist based in the United Kingdom is following trends in that country, by releasing his new album solely on vinyl. The format has enjoyed a massive revival there in the last 10 years.
Kush I said the album, Stand up Firm, should be out this summer. The title song is the lead single and will be released in August to celebrate the 132nd birthday of Jamaican Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first National Hero.
According to Kush I, “Vinyl should appeal to the target market” in the UK and Europe where he does most of his shows. “At the moment, I am not doing downloads as download sales generally have fallen.”
Reggae acts touring Europe, including Stephen Marley, take hundreds of vinyl albums on the road and report strong sales. Because the UK and Europe have a vibrant sound system culture, vinyl records retain a loyal following.
It is in the UK where vinyl has performed best. In 2015, vinyl sales topped three million copies there, with albums by Amy Winehouse, Rag’n’Bone Man, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Oasis and David Bowie clocking solid figures.
Stand up Firm is Kush I’s second album. His first, Solid Ground, was released nine years ago and featured songs based around his Rastafarian beliefs.
The latest is similar and has collaborations with stalwarts Cedric Myton of The Congos, Big Youth and Chaka Demus, as well as neo-roots singer I Wayne.
Once Solid Ground was released, Kush I began considering work on a follow-up.
“I immediately started thinking about another album and wanted to build on what I had learned about music. But it was a round five years ago that I seriously started to put things together in the shape of an album,” he said.
Drummer Sly Dunbar and keyboardist Ansell Collins, members of the famed Revolutionaries band at Channel One during the 1970s, are among the musicians who played on Stand up Firm.