BLACK SLATE – Biography + Members
Black Slate is the Roots Reggae, Dub & Lovers Rock Reggae band that helped put the British Reggae sound on the charts in the 70s and 80s. Formed in London in 1974 by musicians from England, Jamaica, and Anguilla, Black Slate was recognized as a band that was able to blend reggae into their own unique sound. Their first charting hit was “Sticksman,” released in 1976, followed by “Mind Your Motion” (TCD, 1979); “Amigo” (Ensign, 1980) broke into the Top Ten Singles Charts and, to this day, this song remains a rallying call for the Rastafarian way of life.
Following a tour in Europe in 1978, and backing Reggae stars Delroy Wilson and Ken Boothe, Black Slate signed with Ensign Records and released “Boom Boom,” a single, and the Sirens In The City album. More albums followed such as: Amigo (TCD Records, 1980), Ogima (Hit and Run, 1981), Six Plus One (Top Ranking, 1982), Midnight (TCD Records, 2013), World Citizen (Unit 8 Records, 2013) and,
Now And Then (TCD Records, 2014).
After a sold-out tour of New Zealand, band members made the decision to stop touring in the mid 1980s and, in 2011, decided to begin the process of regrouping and planning Black Slate’s return to recording and performing again. In 2013, Black Slate released a full album, Midnight (TCD), and the single, “World Citizenship,” (Unit 8 Records).
Remaining close friends over the years, original band members Anthony Brightly (keyboards and vocals), Chris Hanson (guitar), and Desmond Mahoney (drums) agreed to reunite and revitalize Black Slate. Adding Colin McNeish on bass guitar, F Junior and Jesse Brade on vocals, and Horace Burke on keyboards, the reunited Black Slate debuted at the prestigious Miami Reggae Festival in November 2013.
One of Black Slate’s latest albums, World Citizen (Unit 8 Records), was released on April 15, 2014. Veteran Reggae journalist Robert “Higherman” Heilman reviewed the album for Reggae-Vibes.com, and stated that, “From Roots to Lovers Rock, every track is a winner that is expertly mixed and presented.” (http://www.reggae-vibes.com/rev_sin/bls-worl.htm.) World Citizen will be supported by the band’s upcoming concerts in Europe, South America, the U.K., and the United States.
In June 2014, Black Slate performed a stirring set at the world renowned Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (SNWMF) in California to wide acclaim and rave reviews:
Jacqueline Ocaña of United Reggae Magazine wrote:
“Across the fairgrounds, Black Slate closed down the Village Stage on Sunday night with a full audience of roots music fans. This was the first appearance for the U.K. band at SNWMF. They ran tunes like “Brutality” and “Rasta Festival”, and fans begged for more, even as curfew set in and the band said their final goodbyes. The intimacy of the tiny stage under the trees, with low ambient lighting and the closeness of the stage, always seems to offer an enchanted experience. And with such an incredible band, it was the perfect ending to the festival.”
Sista Irie of Island Stage Magazine wrote:
“UK based Black Slate fused the conscious vybz with musical perfection. Fans were fully engaged, crowding around the stages reflecting heartical devotion and unabashed adoration.”
Justine Amadori Ketola of Reggaeville.com wrote:
“Perhaps the deepest vibes of the weekend were from another group that made a rare U.S. appearance in true SNWMF fashion. Black Slate from the United Kingdom took my heart at the Village stage with a sound that is so much a statement on how reggae was and is part of the Diaspora from Africa. They use 60s and 70’s R&B vocal style and African cadence and tones and mix it with the energy and pulse of UK rock set to a deep roots reggae beat. They even move on stage like a rock and roll band, very physical and ensemble oriented.”
Black Slate: a well-respected band of talented and creative men who are again ready to bring their special brand of Reggae music to the world.
“We play music because we love playing music. We are ready for the road again,” Anthony Brightly said recently. “A venue of 100, or a stadium of 10,000, we will be on the road to bring the message to every place people want to hear Reggae music. I see a continuation of our journey…”
VISIT BLACK SLATE’S WEBSITE:
• Amigo (1980, TCD RECORDS)
• Ogima (1981, TCD RECORDS) (CD)
• Six Plus One (1982, TCD RECORDS)
• Midnight (2013, TCD RECORDS)
• World Citizen (2013, Unit 8 Records)
• Now And Then (2014, TCD Records)
• "Sticksman" (1976, CNR) - NL #31
• "Mind Your Motion" (1979, TCD)
• "Amigo" (1980, Ensign) - UK #9
• "Boom Boom" (1980, Ensign) - UK #51
• “World Citizenship” (2013, Unit 8 Records)
Black Slate is…
Anthony “Pure Silk” Brightly – keyboards and vocals
Chris “Music House” Hanson – guitar
Desmond Mahoney - drums
Colin “Steam Fish” McNeish - bass guitar
FJ – vocals
Jesse Brade - vocals