Justin Hinds special on Positive Vibrations 5/29/10
Kuelker will play previously unaired interview clips with Justin Hinds, and he will be joined in the studio for conversation with Virgil Bland. Bland, a driver for Hinds and the band for several of their U.S. tours, will share personal memories in what will prove to be a singularly special program.
Positive Vibrations airs every Saturday night from 9-11 p.m. Central with co-hosts Michael Kuelker and Professor Skank alternating. KDHX streams live [see kdhx.org] and all shows can be heard two weeks after they have aired.
Justin Hinds is one of the most important artists to come out of Jamaica in the last 50 years. Hinds was born on May 7, 1942, grew up in the north coast Jamaican village of Steertown and was based there all of his life.
Hinds began his career with the ska rave-up “Carry Go Bring Come” in late 1963. The song, which cautioned against rumor-mongering, was a huge and widely anthologized hit. Before long he was on par with some of the best singers of the period, including Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Jackie Opal and Toots Hibbert. With his backing vocalists the Dominoes, named in tribute to Fats Domino, Hinds recorded exclusively for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label until 1974. These years produced an astonishing amount of good music, and much of it was overtly churchical – songs such as “Cornerstone,” “Holy Dove,” “Jordan River,” “King Samuel,” “Mighty Redeemer (pts 1 & 2),” “Prophecy Must Fulfill,” “Satan,” “Sinners Where You Gonna Hide,” “The Ark,” to name only a few. He consistently drew from the deep well of proverbial wisdom in crafting his lyrics, and his vocals showed the stamp of his gospel and rural roots.
Hinds withdrew from music after Duke Reid’s death, but was coaxed out of retirement by Island Records for two albums, Jezebel (1976) and Justin Time (1978). Disillusionment with the record industry set for Hinds, and it wasn’t until St. Louis-based Nighthawk Records sought him out in the 1980s that Hinds again returned to the studio. The 1984 album Travel with Love put Hinds in front of members of Bob Marley’s Wailers band and was a winning return to form. Although a proposed tour featuring Hinds and the Wailers band never materialized, Nighthawk continued its relationship with the singer, issuing Know Jah Better (1992) a few years later.
Following a well-received set at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in 1997, Hinds was inspired to tour the USA extensively, and with him were stellar musicians, including a horn section with Vin Gordon and Deadly Headley. Hinds performed three times in St. Louis in this period, shows which spanned his extensive catalog from the sixties to the present. He also contributed to the ethereally beautiful nyahbinghi album Wingless Angels with the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and fellow north coast Jamaican musicians, and he appeared on an album by The Coyabalites around the same time.
Hinds was recording and performing with the Jamaica All Stars in the mid-2000s when he was stricken with cancer. He died on March 17, 2005.
Though the world was robbed of a classic Jamaican artist by his premature death at the age of 62, Justin Hinds’ musical memory has never been far from the playlists of Positive Vibrations.