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NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW ENTRYáá 9/22/08áá Scroll down down down and click Read More for the latest!

Greetings and Welcome to my blog. It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since the first Reggae Report was printed.á In 1983, Michael "Mikey Zappow" Williams and I decided it was time to spread the word -- and music.á So a one-page newsletter, filled with news and upcoming and past events, was hand-delivered to Reggae record shops and West Indian restaurants throughout Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.á Oh, we got the looks... Mikey - famous as the band leader and bass player of Zap Pow and writer and performer of "This is Reggae Music," and me, a nice Italian girl from Ohio (via Miami and Europe) who worked for Marley's manager Don Taylor and producer Joe Gibbs, fresh from directing a major 4-day Reggae festival with my good friend and mentor Clint O'Neil, armed with a tape recorder, camera, and tenacity -- and people looked at us like we had two heads... well, actually we did... two smiling happy heads working together for one goal, one objective -- to tell the world about Reggae music.á But I don't want to get ahead of myself here...á Next time, I'll start at the beginning...the first time I ever heard the one drop, the bass thump, and the message music that touched my soul and heart forever.á Irie!

Growing up in a musical family, I was surrounded by music.á I thought it was quite normal to have a live band playing in the dining room every week.á My father, a musician since youth, had been playing music with his father and brothers for many years, until World War II separated them, and then everything changed.á Fast forward to his return, getting married, having kids, working in the steel mill, but his love for music and performing never changed.á He formed a band with some friends, playing guitar and mandolin, did some singing, and it really was the only time I would see him happy.á I found it made me happy, too.á So I always hung around, watching, learning, and discovered that music was a source of happiness...not only for me, but those guys who played, and for the people who listened and danced.á I never had the opportunity to learn to play an instrument, but I knew I was a musician at heart...and soul.
Upon moving to Miami, I soon found friends who enjoyed music as much as I did.á Musicians were everywhere in Coconut Grove in the '70s, and I once again felt the joy of live music.á I had a drummer boyfriend, John, and I soon was back hanging around 'the band.' Practice was like school and the live gigs were great.á John asked if I wanted to go to Europe with him in the summer of '74.á The band had plans of touring as their American 'southern rock' sound was quite popuar 'over there.'áá Soá youngá and adventurous, offá I went withá John, the guys, and 27 pieces of luggage and equipment, to spread our music around, beginning in Paris.á We stayed with a musician, of course, who introduced us to the very cool European way of life, and helped us buy our orange VW van.á The music scene was awesome in Paris, but the urge to move on led us to pack up the van and we headed for Amsterdam.á Can't really describe A'dam in a few paragrpahs, let's just say, I never saw any place like it before -- or since.á The musicians there were great, too.á The band performed at all the hot clubs -- the city had many -- and they became quite popular.á After a year, it was time to move on again, to where the opportunity to work steadily and earn in US dollars (it was worth something in those days) was calling.á Nurnberg, Germanyá (excuse that there is no umlaut over the U) became our destination.á Military bases were everywhere and they all had GI clubs.á It was during this period that my German friends introduced me to a new kind of music -- Reggae.á It sounded even cooler when you rolled the r-r-r-r-r's like my German pals did.á
At Eva and Ushi's flat, in the center of Nurnberg's old town, a group of girls and musicians were drinking wine and ... well, let's just leave it at that.á They put on a record, yea, a record, and there it was (sing along) "You can get it if you really want it, but you must try, try and try, you'll succeed at last."á I was drawn to the beat and dance floor by the groovin' Germans who told me this was music 'from where I was from.'á What? I said...it sounded like nothing I had ever heard before.á They pulled out the Atlas, and since Miami is in close proximity to Jamaica, they insisted it was 'from where I was from.'á Okay... I then took up the album cover and said hello to my new friend, Jimmy Cliff.áá It was love at first sight -- and sound -- and the love affair continues today. (However, the affair with John had ended.)á Later I will tell you how and when Jimmy Cliff came into my life - live and direct - and played a prominent role in the development of my career and my magazine, Reggae Report.á Bob Marley & the Wailers were touring Europe in the mid to late 70s, drawing huge numbers -- like 100,000 fans in the Milano football stadium (more than the pope who 'played' there just a short time before) and some 70,000 fans in Frankfurt.á A Reggae convert, I had a feeling that this was the music that could - and would - change the world.á One drop at a time.á
I decided to return to the US when I had the opportunity to work with David Crosby.á However, I never made it out to San Francisco in 1980.á Instead, after almost seven years in Europe, I stayed in Miami, in Coconut Grove, and settled back in to the once familiar lifestyle.á Looking for work in 1981, I discovered a job in the paper that said "Music Business, Assistant Manger" - I read ' fun, music, travel!'á I called and asked, "So, who do you manage?"á When the young lady I was about to replace said "Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff...oh, and Gregory Isaacs,"á I told her I'd be right down.á So I put on my 'going to get the job clothes'... and guess what?á They worked!áá More next time on my first day, May 11, 1981, and the course it had set me on.á Irie!

My new job was set to begin at 10AM on Monday, May 11, 1981.á During the week leading up to that day, I had a couple meetings with Don Tayor, the manager of Marley, Cliff and Isaacs. A smooth talker in a silk shirt and sandals, the casual music business pro played hard ball over salary negotiations.á He questioned how and why a nice Italian girl from Ohio would want to be in "this crazy businesss... working with Jamaicans."á I reminded him I was Italian, so crazy was easy, I grew up with musicians, so that was no problem, and I was drawn by my passion for the music...period.á I had a business background, good with numbers, knew my way around an office, and really really wanted this job.á The street-smart Taylor, a self-made millionaire who grew up in a Kingston ghetto, and Quattro, the little Italian girl from Ohio who fought for her pay, finally came to an agreement.á I was set to begin on Monday, May 11.
Don was out of town a lot in those days.á We sealed our deal while he was in L.A.áá At that time, Bob Marley was very ill, undergoing treatment for cancer in a German clinic in Bavaria (where I had lived), and preparing to come home.á I so wanted to meet Bob; I prayed that he would get well and I would get my wish.á As God and life would have it, it didn't work out that way.á Bob was returning to Miami, on his way home to Jamaica, when he was admitted into Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, near downtown Miami.á Our office was south of there, in Kendall, about 20-30 minutes away, and Bob's mother, Cedella Booker, lived even further south, another 20 minutes or so.á Don and I spoke over the weekend and he said he was looking forward to working with me and that I should be prepared because the week ahead was going to be very busy.á Not only was Bob ill and in the hospital, but Jimmy Cliff was coming to town on Wednesday, May 13, for business and to record a TV show (it turned out Jimmy didn't know that, and wasn't very happy when he found out!)á
I looked forward to Monday, and getting started.á I was excited when I went into the office.á Don wasn't in yet, so I began to set up my office.á There were posters and pictures, magazines and albums everywhere!á A real treasure trove for a Reggae lover.á I didn't like the harsh flourescent lighting so I brought in table lamps.á I hung pictures of Bob and Jimmy and Gregory, I hung gold records (and believe me, that was a thrill), and looked over the files and folders to see what I was facing.
Around 11AM or so, Don came into the office.á Distracted and uneasy, he sat down to discuss what I would be doing that day, and in the days to come.á He was an experienced manager, with a background in R&B and soul music.á He had been working with Bob Marley since the mid-70s, and the two got along very well.á They had their moments, according to Don, but after the licks and tricks, they still worked well together.á So much so, all the accounts set up in the US and the Caribbean were under Don Taylor's control.á And I had the check books to prove it.á
Shortly after Don's arrival and giving instructions, the phone rang.á I answered, "Don Taylor Artist Managerment, may i help you?"á A very anxious voice asked for Don.á It was Rita Marley.á I handed him the phone, and he looked as if the world was about to end.á He hung up and dashed out the door.á "It's Bob," was the last I heard.á
Now I was uneasy.á Not quite sure what to do, I continued to organize my office and straighten up the outer office area.á I never touched Don's office.á He knew where things were, and that was fine with me.á It was about 11:45 AM when I received a call from Don.á "If anyone calls, you don't know anything," was all he said.á
But I knew...and my heart sank with sadness.á Wow, I thought.á Wow...my first day on the job and he's gone.á Well, I'm here now... and here I'm gonna stay.á Everything happens for a reason, I said to myself.á And I waited.
It was about 2PM when the door swung open and in walked Don and Rita Marley.á It was the first time I ever set eyes on her, and she didn't look like the grieving widow to me.á No tears.á She had a strange look on her face as she came into my office where I awaited instructions.á She slowly looked at my newly hung Bob Marley pictures and gold records, and without a word, she calmly turned and walked out.á As she and Don did whatever it was they were doing, Chris Blackwell, head of Island Records, arrived, soon followed by the David Steinberg the Philadelphia lawyer, and Marvin Zolt the New York accountant.á Later they were joined by Brenda Andrews, representing the music publisher, who just flew in from Los Angeels.á As the meeting went on, I was asked to type this and find that.á Quickly admonished for asking questions about the documents I was typing, I didn't know until many years later what exactly had gone in Don's office.á In those few hours, the future of Bob Marley's legacyá was decided.á More next time... Irie!

I was amazed at the speed thatá Bob's finances were being juggled about.á While the family at Ms. B's house was dealing with the loss of their son, father, brother, and friend, the manager, lawyer, accountant, record label owner, and music publisher were wheelin' dealin' with Bob's estate.á Behind closed doors, the many off-shore accounts in various names were being changed and readied for the ensuing chaos that was sure to follow.á Bob died without a will, so according to Jamaica law, the wife and the children split 50/50.á Fair enough.á Or was it?á Everyone wanted their share of the pie and it would be weeks, months, years, before it wasá sorted out.á Bob Marley Music went to Rita Marley Music that day, aided by Rita being so good at signing Bob's name.á That's no secret.á Bob said it, Don T. said it...and many years later, Rita said it.á She acknowledged signing her late husband's name, but only, she claims, at the prodding of the lawyer, accountant, et all.
Later in the afternoon Don and Chris wanted to go to the Marley/Booker house.á I drove Don's Rolls Royce the few miles there, witness to the casual conversation between two moguls.á One part that sticks in my mind was when Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" came on the radio.á The talk turned to the famous hand-clap sound effect.á Chris thought outloud, something to the effect that Marvin Gaye was over, and who wants to listen to him.á In a knee-jerk reaction I raised my hand from the steering wheel, looked at him through the rear view mirror and said, I do.á "Sexual Healing" went on to be a major hit song for Marvin Gaye, and the hand-clap sound effect was the beginning of the synthesizer revolution.
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