My Personal Journey Through the Land of Music
Me at 14 Years Old
My Musical History
I wanted to take time out to share my journey through the land of music with every one else here. I believe that is what our responsibility is to those coming up after us, to inspire and be inspired. I have had the benefit of getting to spend time with some very kind and patient folks who let ask those "How high is up" questions. And it was during the early years that a woman named Cheryl who work for Ras Records and was helping to promote a Reggae band I was in at the time called Redemption Posse told me that I could write really well and that among my other band members who also wrote, that I was the better writer of the trio and that if I kept at it I would make it big someday. Still working that out, but as a Jazz drummer by the name of Joe Orr once told me, "It's not over kid till the wheels fall off". I live by those words to this day.
I used to live with and take care of Betty Wrights niece and and two nephews when their mother Suzanne divorced Phillip, Betty's brother and they moved in with me as they had no money and place to stay at the time. I met Peggy Quattro during this period, she had been working for Don Taylor Artist Management and later with Joe Gibbs Music in the early 1980's here in Miami. I got to meet Sly and Robbie during this period while there were recording and producing the talented Gwen Guthrie on her Debut album at Criteria Studios in studio "C", I also got to meet and talk with the legendary Tom Dowd. It was during those years that it was pointed out to me that I needed to start seeing myself as an artist because of my ability to pen songs that others really liked and thought were good if not great. But in those days I was more interested in playing than writing and many of my songs were grounded in Reggae music's social commentary and revolutionary themes. Not exactly top 40 hit material at the time.
P.P. Arnold and Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels
A Brief History of My Mentors
I was also hooked up with P.P. Arnold an American-born soul singer who enjoyed considerable success in the United Kingdom in the 1960s and beyond. Born into a family of gospel singers, Arnold married early and had two children. She had a series of menial jobs until the early 1960s, when Maxine Smith, an ex-girlfriend of her brother contacted her with an offer. Maxine and her friend Gloria Scott had managed to arrange an audition for three girls to replace the original Ikettes, the dancer/singer troupe that provided vocal and dance accompaniment for the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Initially, Smith and Scott were stood up by a third girl, and they were desperate for another vocalist to make up the trio, Smith contacted Arnold, whom she knew to be a singer. At the audition the three young women were offered the job on the spot, but Smith convinced Arnold to attend a concert in Fresno that night before making a final decision. When she arrived home at 6:00 the next morning, Arnold's furious husband struck her. Arnold left him immediately, and after placing her children in the care of her parents, joined the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.
After several years touring the United States with the Revue, she came to England in 1966 when the Revue toured there in support of The Rolling Stones. Impressed by her powerful and soulful voice, Mick Jaggerconvinced Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham to sign Arnold to a recording contract with his newly founded Immediate Records record label. Arnold quit the Turner band to remain in London and establish a solo career. She enjoyed several major British hits on Immediate, including songs written for her by Paul Korda, who wrote "The Time Has Come." She recorded songs written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane from labelmatesThe Small Faces, who also backed her on several recordings. Arnold was in a brief romantic liaison with Marriott in 1967 and also provided backing vocals on the group's hit "Tin Soldier", as well as touring with them during 1968.
Her first backing band, The Blue Jays, had been inherited from American soul singer Ronnie Jones. This was followed by The Nice, led by Keith Emerson on organ who had just quit from The VIP's - later to be known as Spooky Tooth - on organ and piano, David O'List on guitar, Lee Jackson on bass and Ian Hague on drums. During this period Pat toured alongside Delaney and Bonnie & Friends, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks,Blind Faith, David Bowie and others, and she scored several hits including the original version of "The First Cut Is the Deepest" and "Angel of the Morning", plus the Marriott-Lane song "(If You Think You're) Groovy". After the collapse of Immediate in the late 1960s, Arnold signed a production contract with the Robert Stigwood Organisation and released two singles on the Polydor label, produced by Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees, but a planned album with Gibb was never completed. - From Wikipedia
Miami, the Magic City
During that time in Miami when I met her and Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels who was married to her, and they had a son together named Kojo Calvin Samuels. Arnold and Samuels returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. While living there, Arnold's marriage to Samuels ended and just two weeks after the split, her daughter Debbie was killed in a car accident. After her daughter's death Arnold withdrew from public life for some time, not re-emerging until 1978. At this time she was reunited with Barry Gibb, who wanted to complete the never-finished solo album for her. Again this did not materialise, but Arnold was eventually teamed up with Barry's youngest brother Andy Gibb for a duet recording of the Carole King song "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". During this time Fuzzy really became a mentor to me with my writing of songs after having met him and Patricia after their divorce. I was also going to high school with her oldest son Kevin from the previous marriage, and so this is how I came in contact with them.
First Professional Gig
Becoming a Professional
I was being taught how to play Congas from Daniel Ben Zebulon, who was a well known percussionist who had performed at Woodstock with Richie Havens, and also had played on several Stevie Wonder hits "Boogie On Reggae Woman", "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life". I was playing in a Calypso band lead by Daniel's brother Dink Ramsey at the time In Coconut Grove at Monty Trainers raw bar and at the Fountaine Bleu hotel. Daniel also participated on the Andy Gibb Album along with P.P. Arnold and then a few later he played percussion on Dennis Brown's "The Complete A&M Years" which were Joe Gibbs Productions.
New York, New York
I would later get to work with Dennis Brown in New York as a recording engineer and collaborator for song ideas along with Bassist Val Douglas and Guitarist Sangy Davis who co-wrote Bob Marley's song "Wake Up and Live" from the Survival album. I never knew what became of the songs I had worked with Dennis Brown as they were never released at the time.
Redemption Posse - a reggae band I formed in Miami, Florida in the late 1979-1987 with founding members Jahmark Da Costa (Now .."Jahmark and the Soul Shakers"..) and Emanuel Walsh, the band was signed to Ikus Records by Anthony "Gilly Dread" Gilbert of the Wailers camp. Redemption Posse Appeared in Jamaica in 1986 at the Reggae Sunsplash Beach Party and the band took the honors for Best Songwriter and Best Performer in the 1986 Jamaica Festival Song Competition with the song entitled "True Believer" one of the hits from the album released on Ikus Records label.
Charlie Tee and Apple Juice
Self taught on piano and guitar I join a R & B jazz funk fusion band called "Apple Juice" in New York headed by band leader, lead and background vocalist and saxophone and keyboards Charles Tuiit aka Charlie Tee. Featuring vocalist Janet DeJesus, Emery Jones on Bass and Lead and backing vocals, Richie Cutler on lead guitar, Wayne Douchette. on drums, lead and backing vocals, myself on Lead and Background vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards.
Charlie Tee had previously worked as a background singer and Saxophone player with Billy Joel and later David Sanborn as background singer in his band. Charlie was also doing a lot of commercial work at CBS and its his saxophone licks that you would hear in those famous Mac Tonight MacDonalds commercials on television. I got to meet Hiram Bullock and Marcus Miller during those years also while they played with both Sanborn's band and David Letterman's house band.
How I Became an Engineer
Becoming an Recording Engineer
I became a full fledge recording engineer and midi computer tech during those years, especially after hooking up with a multi talented musician named Ricky Williams who was a blind keyboard player who had played keys on the hit "We Are Family" for Sister Sledge and on Several hits for K.C. and The Sunshine band. It was through my association with Ricky, who ended up living with me for nearly two years in a small basement apartment in the bronx's on 225th street and Gunhill Road, that I met Tommy McConnell drummer for the group SKYY. Between Tommy and Ricky they turned me into a computer programmer / engineer / producer working with the earliest versions of Pro Tools, MOTU's Performer, Cubase Visions, and Cakewalk sequencer programs. it was at this point that songwriting came back into play for me in my career, as I found it very frustrating to have so much music going on in my head and no one with whom I trusted to help me recreate what was going on inside my head that I felt the need to try and express musically, So I learned to play with a steadfast dedication to being a multi instrumentalist, and with the help of midi I began composing again.
Go West Young Man
I then got a call from an old friend from Miami that I should come out to Las Vegas and Meet Haile Maskel who was the former bass player for Cedrick Brooks band Light Of Saba and later for Ras Michael and The Sons of Negus. As a bassist Haile help compose the bass lines for Bob Marley's hit "Could You Be Loved" and for IJahman's first two albums "Hail I Hymn" and "Are We A Warrior".
I began playing keyboards with Haile Maskel and his 101 Band since 1989 and as a Percussionists and Keyboard player with his band the Rastafarians. Also I played Keyboards with Rastafarians band member drummer Patrick "Shaka Man" Houchen in his band during this period also and as fellow recording engineer and producer at Jubilee Studios.
Becoming a Music Producer
I co-produced, recorded, and engineered five albums with Maskel and one Dancehall album with Shaka Man entitled SPEXX, which featured several up and coming new artist in the Reggae music scene in Los Angeles. Later I co-produced with Shaka Man The smash various artists dancehall album "Mutiny Pon De Bang Gah Rang" with tracks from Sugar Minott, Daddy Freddy, Shaka Man, Ruby J., Jr.P, Knovak Kneeland, Alvin, Haile Maskel, Jah T, Clive Ross, Precha, Yoli, Malcolm X, and Ron C.
And later the smash remix dancehall album "Mutiny PonDe Bang Gah Rang Remix", with tracks from Sugar Minott, Daddy Freddy, Shaka Man, Ruby J., Jr.P, Knovak Kneeland, Alvin, Haile Maskel, Jah T, Stonie, E.D. Ameng, Boiwundah, Blacka, Kenyatta, Legit, Nitro, Michgan, Clive Ross, Precha, Yoli, Malcolm X, and Ron C.
Wild Life Muzik
Wild Life Muzik Ent. based in Hollywood, Ca. put out a well varied set, packed with 18 vocal tracks, ranging from dancehall to reggae to r&b.
The album kicked off with an spoken intro by Wayne Ranks, followed by an uptempo duet from Mikey Spice and female deejay Levi. An ultra smooth reworking of the Ken Boothe classic Everything I Own. Talented Lukie D. teamed up with deejay Zulu for an excellent r&b lovers cut entitled Platonic, and the same goes for the combination Kenytta and Nardo Ranks in the outstanding Don't Front. More r&b sounds on Love Can Make You Happy, followed by Jack Radics' reggae version of Come See About me. The combination of Sugar Minott and Mad Cobra made a perfect love song, Swelele uses the same riddim for the track Lioness. Major Damage takes over and lays down the boasting dancehall track Mind Is Willing. Volvo and Hindu delivered a fast paced version of United We Stand. The tracks Long Way and I Like Your Flow. The most outstanding cut on the album was Everton Blender's Defender Of The Faith, and Dennis Brown contributed the standard Long Life. E.T. Webster had a pretty love song and reggae veteran Triston Palmer sang about righteousness in the closing track Love And Peace.
Most tracks on this album were produced by 3 Natti and voiced at several Jamaican and American studios. On this disc the crew included myself, Fabian Cook, Swelele, Clive Ross, Shaka Man, Computer Paul and Tim & Donald Hayes.
Meeting the Legends
I got to co-produce and record two songs during this period with another legend Ike Turner "Only Women Bleed" and "Blues In The Night". I got this opportunity because Ike wanted me to teach him the ins and outs of using Rolands R-8 rhythm drum machine, with which I was well acquainted. I got to share my stories with him of my time with P.P. Arnold in Miami and he talked about the days of the revue and what it was like back then.
I got to work with funk and soul singer, songwriter and record producer, Otha Leon Haywood. He is best known for his 1975 hit single "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You", which has been much sampled by Dr. Dre and others. while recording at his studio in Los Angeles he over heard a drum sequence I was laying down on tape, and he asked who was that drummer that was playing. I told him it was me and that I had programmed it in a sequence. He told me that it sounded like the real thing was being played live and that I was the best Programmer he had ever heard recreate a drummer's playing with a machine. he told me I could come and program for him anytime and that if he ever had any such projects I would be the first one he would call upon.
In 2000 I got the chance to work with Bunny Wailer on an Album entitled "Communication" worked as both musician and recording engineer on a song entitled "Millennium Rock". I am Playing all Instrumentation: Drum Sequences, Keyboards, Casio Saxaphone, Nord synthesizer on the cut except for lead guitar and bass played By Haile Maskel. The basic tracks for the song were recorded in my personal studio in Long Beach, California Tiger's Lair Multimedia Studios. I never thought I would have the opportunity and pleasure of working with a living legend and being able to contribute to his musical legacy.
All in all it has been an incredible journey so far, and I am looking forward to what may transpire in the future of this journey called music.
Check out the music of Patrick Ross
- Patrick Ross Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos
Patrick Ross Lyrics, Songs, Music, and Videos by the band Patrick Ross at ReverbNation