Friday, November 25, 2022

Bring On the Knight

Gladys Knight & The Pips - The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me

I know I was waffling about another post for November, but this one seemed too cool not to share so here we are.

For 40 years ago this weekend, what many feel is the single greatest music festival ever held took place.

At least for pure, bonkers eclecticism, it remains unrivaled in the four decades since it happened, at a brand new concert facility erected in honor of an all-time legend.

Probably the very first gigantic festival to feature all kinds of music to be held on the island of Jamaica -- a testimony to the galactic influence of Reggae at the time -- this 3-day shindig featured a diversity of acts never before seen on one stage.

The first night had the show I'm sharing today, plus The Grateful Dead, The B-52s, Peter Tosh and as if all that wasn't enough, Jimmy Cliff. And that's just half the performers for Friday.

Saturday's fare included Black Uhuru, Squeeze, and as headliner, Aretha Franklin, among others.

Sunday's closing bill had Rita Marley, Joe Jackson, Rick James and, to finish it all off, The Clash.

I've posted a few of them in the past, with the Rick James one -- where he dismisses the band for a 15-minute onstage spliff session and diatribe -- being perhaps the most memorable.

Which brings us to this little burner of a set, from when Soul immortals Gladys Knight and The Pips played.

Were these guys the first big group where the old saw of the dude backed by three chicks was reversed, and it was three guys backing the lady singer? I can't think of a previous one, but then I'm higher than Snoop Dogg at a Dispensary Expo.

Anyway, just be glad old Frank Streeter was there with his trusty tape deck to make yummy captures of almost the whole weekend, and that he passed off his tapes to the legendary sound boffin to the stars Charlie Miller, that we might have ample documentation of what made this festival The One.

Gladys Knight & The Pips
Jamaica World Music Festival
Bob Marley Performing Arts Center
Montego Bay, Jamaica

01 JWMF introduction and hijinks
02 Reach High
03 Taste of Bitter Love
04 Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)
05 I Will Fight
06 The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me
07 medley: Every Beat of My Heart/Friendship Train/If I Were Your Woman/Daddy Could Swear
08 Midnight Train to Georgia
09 The Way We Were
10 band introductions
11 I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Total time: 46:59

Gladys Knight - vocals
Merald "Bubba" Knight - vocals
William Guest - vocals
Edward Patten - vocals
Rickey Minor - bass
Spencer Bean - guitar
David Knight - congas & percussion
Ron Rutledge - drums
Gail Dietrich - keyboards
Joe Lattimore - synthesizers
Victor Hall - musical director

master soundboard cassette, recorded by Frank Streeter and transferred/mastered by Charlie Miller
slightly retracked by EN, November 2022
281 MB FLAC/direct link

Barring some strange occurrence, that will do it from me for this month. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy 40th Anniversary to the Jamaica World Music Festival!--J.