The Wailing Souls tell us about Coxsone Dodd, Gregory Isaacs, and John Holt
“Mr. Dodd was like a father to us…”
Jamworld876: In 2002, you released the album “Square Deal,” produced by Coxsone for Studio One. Which musicians did you work with?
Bread: We worked with Studio One musicians. What really happened, he had some tracks that Soul Vendors, and the Skatalites had done from the 70’s, and then he had those tracks there. He gave us some of those tracks to write new lyrics. Then now, they had some current musicians, some younger musicians like Morgan, Dalton Brownie, and them man them you know, who laid some of the tracks them too. Because we did some new tracks.
Jamworld876: A couple years after that Coxsone passed away…
Bread: Yeah, we were there. We were in the studio.
Pipe: We had just drove away, and went back to our hotel. And we get a call. We have to go back down there. We were there taking care of some business.
Bread: Talking to him like ten minutes before.
Pipe: Motown had bought out my portion of his own publishing. We had this song in a movie, the same song “Back Out With It,” and we found out the movie was produced by HBO. So we go to him to sign up all the papers, so we could get our money. We never forget, it was a Tuesday. And we leave him at the studio after signing all the papers. We just go outside there. And we drove back to our hotel, and we get a call from his son: “Dad has just passed away! He had a stroke.” So even until now we haven’t called in that money yet. [Laughs]
Bread: So we have to go back down there. Everybody was just there, hanging around, you know.
“We and him had a different relationship than most people…”
Jamworld876: How was it like to work with him?
Bread: He was a genius. We and him had a different relationship than most people. He was like a father to us. Really. Through we were so young, we weren’t really “gravalicious” as we would say it. We never used to run down the money, like some of the other artists. Because that’s what they did. Most of them run down the money. They signed away their rights. They would write a song, and because they can’t wait to get the record sales, they would go in for money money money. Then he would let them sign the papers, and then they don’t realize that they’re signing away their rights.
Pipe: [Laughs] They signed off things without reading.
Bread: Because they didn’t even read the stuff. Later on, they found out that Mr. Dodd owned them part of the publishing. It wasn’t so with us. Him always have a certain respect for us. And we have a certain respect for him too.
Pipe: We didn’t go out there like the rest of the artists them. The rest of the artists them, every Friday, them call in money. We didn’t call in no money like that. Because remember we were still going to school for some of we, you know what I mean. We didn’t call in no money, because we know it was repetition. We know sometimes, because he knows the business. And you as a young adult who doesn’t know the business, he’s going to rip you off. You doesn’t know what really happen, you know what I mean. But as bredren, we never aroused him about anything. The day we go, we have shown him that we are some different kind of kids.
Bread: And as a mater of fact, if he doesn’t see us for a while, he’ll call us. Sometimes, in America…
Pipe: Even when we there a New York. [Interrupting Bread]
Bread: I run into him and just take way with him and gone. We really had a good relationship with Mr. Dodd, I would say that. I personally agreed along that guy. I really loved that guy.
“We miss most of the artists who passed away…”
Jamworld876: Is there any other Reggae artists that has passed away that you really miss?
Bread: Artists who passed away? Most of the artists who have passed away. We really miss them. Especially Gregory (Isaacs) and John (Holt). You know why I say that? Gregory Isaacs. The last international show he did before he passed away, it was we and him, in Peru. Like we did that big festival in Peru, Pipe. It was about a month or two after, he passed away. And then John Holt.
Pipe: No! Weeks after! [Interrupting Bread]
Bread: He dropped down on the stage. Remember, we was doing One Love concert.
Pipe: We were doing the concert together.
Bread: We just came off stage before he went on. And we were outside talking to the promoter. The Skatalites went on. Then, he went on. Then, all of a sudden somebody run came to us and say “Hey bredren! John Holt drop down on the stage!” You know a true we have a good relationship with John from long long longtime, you know what I mean. He was with the paramedics aside giving him oxygen. We talked to his road manager. His road manager said “he’s alright, and thing.” And he seemed to be alright. Then, a couple months after that, he died. We really miss those two guys, you know, passing away.
Keep on reading:
- 1/3 The Wailing Souls tell us about Jamaican Independence and Reggae music’s evolution
- 2/3 The Wailing Souls tell us about Coxsone, Gregory Isaacs & John Holt