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Chuck Fender and Johnny Clarke live in London

Chuck Fender and Johnny Clarke live in London

Chuck Fender and Johnny Clarke live in London

By on - Photos by Andrew Thompson - 1 comment

Mr Clarke is a worthy late replacement for Half Pint on this Brixton double header show.

Sampler

“It’s been five years” said the Living Fire AKA Chuck Fender to an enthusiastic London crowd - some of whom may remember his no show at a luckless promotion at the Stratford Rex in 2007. And although in the excitement, he did refer to the Brixton Hootananny as “Birmingham” there was no doubt in their minds as to where he was – giving the UK due attention as part of a tour that has already taken in Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Poland and Italy with Austria’s hardworking House Of Riddim band.

Dressed in a flannel shirt and black vest the New York-born, Spanish Town-raised deejay delivered fiery fare like I Swear, Jah Is Worthy and All About The Weed, each time prefaced by a blast of Richie Spice’s cuts on their respective rhythms. “They say Chuck Fender you bun too much fire” he then conceded, “so I’m going to sing for the ladies” giving them Good Man In Your Life and his Cherine Anderson combination Are You Coming Over Tonight. Of course, the biggest reaction came for his hit Gash Dem, which was played both before and after his encore. True to his raw delivery, Fender didn’t sugarcoat the harsh realities that feed his lyrics, telling the story of the six year old girl whose brutal attack inspired the song – noting the irony of it getting banned when such a horror was allowed to take place. The House Of Riddim, who Fender praised saying “They understand Jamaica and they understand fire” typically didn’t waste a note all night.

This time it was fans of billed chief support act Half Pint who were disappointed when his eight-date tour was abruptly cancelled. Yet promoter Cecil Reuben was able to secure the veteran Johnny Clarke at short notice as his replacement – showing it’s not what goes wrong but how you fix it that counts. “We started the dancehall thing” said Mr Clarke, by way of appeasement. He was in fine voice over five rub-a-dub era recordings of hits including Declaration Of Rights, None Shall Escape The Judgment and King In The Arena, chiding the engineer when they rewound too slow. “Next time, Rastafari” was his parting promise as he left the stage. The opening act was London-based Jamaican singer Soulie Roots.

Chuck Fender returns to Germany, Switzerland and the House Of Riddim’s home of Austria before hitting Jamaica for a Christmas Day bash in St Elizabeth. The Hootananny will be back with another highly prized appearance from the legendary Leroy Smart on December 11th.

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Reproduction without permission of United Reggae and Andrew Thompson is prohibited.

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Posted by Christiane Nicely on 11.23.2011
Very nice article, Angus! And I love the photos, Andrew! :-)

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