Mikey Jarrett – “Brooklyn We Rest”
We are at St Johns and Schenectady in the heart of Crown Heights Brooklyn New York city, where it all began for a reggae entertainer from the early seventies until the twenty ten the twenty eleven the twelves, fifteen or what so ever 20/20 so who knows?
Well, Brooklyn is home for 40 years. Building the entertainment business for 38 years from 1972, where it all started from my mothers living room, to the basement.
This is Keeling video and record shop, which originally was Chin Randy’s. This is one of the first early record shops where reggae is concerned in NY City.
That’s Mr Keeling Beckford. His uncle is the great Theophilus “Ska” Beckford who sang one of the first hit songs out of Jamaica from back in the days. Next time you come around you can deal with him and he can tell you another piece of the history. And he’s also the owner now for this record shop plus he’s one of the first to put reggae music on video, before DVD.
Mikey Jarrett happened to be a NY artist that grew up in Jamaica a place called Trenchtown, musically as a little youth in a band from then following the great sound like count boys of the monarch and coming to NY my original sound over here is a sound called Sons Sebastian Jnr. That is as old as I am because Sons Sebastian Jnr is from 1954 until now and is responsible for people like I Roy going from Kingston to Spanish town to DJ until now.
I remember when I was DJing back in the days in the basement when there was no security, when there was one little red light and a man would come to a dance with a shot gun under a long coat or a rifle or whatever and we lived to survive all of the early days shooting and vibes that up until today to me I think we had more fun then than even now because as an entertainer I would have a job because my sound system would play.
I started out as a Dj for sounds like Jah Wah Wah, Sons Jnr, Sir Tommy’s end up Jersey put Papa Moke on the map as a big sound, African Love, Downbeat the Ruler and many more sounds that I didn’t mention but the early days sounds around here were sounds like Bullwackie, Skatalites, when the rude boy untouchables run the place, Small Axe originally Kenyatta turned out to be Third World. So many different sounds, some of them are no longer around but places such as President’s Chateau all the way to Albany Manor, Biltmore Ballrom and the Reggae Lounge.
Early days artist were Mikey Jarrett, KC White, Roman Stewart, Keeling Beckford, I can tell you about Monyaka, Outer Limits, Reckless breed, So many people Johnny Lover another great entertainer. Love Ride who is no longer here. I am responsible for Sista Carol’s career even though Brigadier is her idol, Shelly Thunder all of them, even Shaggy. Because I was fighting for reggae music to reach to the top when they said nothing good could come out of New York. And we fight until we reached the peak because Shaggy outselled everybody. Dancehall is a venue, whether it was Foresters Hall, Chaka Moreland, 46 Bent St., Ok Ram Jam, or the great Skateland.
The dancehall and the sound system was our vehicle for people to enjoy themselves, make a dollar and spread the message with the music. That is how people from the ghetto survived. We didn’t have TV; a party in the ghetto is to go to a dance. Whether it was a bamboo fence, whether it was a concrete slab or zinc fence. That is what the dancehall was made of. The Dj’s started to rival both on the radio and in the dancehall. Big Youth and Price Jazzbo would throw words. Sister is a concubine or daughter is a concubine. One would say “Satta is what the young girls” want and other would reply, “Natty Dread is what the young girls want”. And then when I got caught up in the mix up between Gil Bailey and Ken Williams I did a special for Carl Anthony 1984, Capleton took my thing and turned it around.
I made a song called Ease up Mr Landlord on the Park Heights label because we live in tenement apartment buildings. When Gregory Isaacs was in Jail, I sang Gregory free on Gemini Sound and later Yellow Man sang Gregory free. No disrespect to the great ones, even though they say great minds think alike. I also take slang and ideas from other artist. Bob Marley took Curtis Mayfield’s thing and made a big song “One Love”, Lord I gotta keep on moving Impressions, Queen Majesty with Techniques. There are only so many letters in the alphabet. And now the man mash up the alphabet when we count we count from one to one hundred from A to Z. The man will say one’s and three’s but they done nothing with two. These were the people who were doing a thing called toasting, Another artist that a lot of people never mention his name is Prince Rough he used to DJ on a sound call Sir George the Atomic.
Everybody put their signature upon the thing where DJ fraternity is concerned. Lord Comic said Adam and Eve went up my sleeve and never came down until Christmas Eve. Up until now having a green card still means a lot, because that gives you the legality to live, work and move around freely. But you have to walk a short line because the slightest thing that you do they will take away your green card and send you back to Jamaica. It’s the early days people who feel the struggle. When you came here as a youth with your parents you think a green card is it. You probably did get yourself into trouble when you were young and when you reach a certain age that can come back to haunt you. The green card has a stipulation on it that says you are not supposed to have any conviction or a felony within 5 years time. A lot of people don’t read the fine print. So if you have done something fifteen years ago and one day you are come through the airport and something comes up. They may decide to send you back to Jamaica without seeing a judge or getting a fair trial. But they need to cut this out. This is a person who was brought to this country as a child by their parents as a minor. They don’t have any family or connection back in the Caribbean, whether it’s Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Haiti, and Guyana. And they are deporting this person even though they have already done their time for the crime.
Reggae music wasn’t accepted in this country, they said take it back on the banana boat. These days everybody comes “pon di river” or “pon di bank” everybody eats a beef patty and curry goat. Worldwide! Everybody now is Jamaican worldwide, even the Japanese! But I rate them. They come to New York and learn the style. I went to Japan and taught Nahki English and he was signed in Japan as a mega star. I had the privilege of doing a project inside here, when Haiti went through the crisis I put together 14 artist with myself right here in this store,
And as you can see Keeling’s still carries old school vinyl and hard to get records, CDs DVDs. He is the last of the Mohicans; there is a bunch of Paul Newman. Original foundation legacy from the original Chin Randy’s store.
There aren’t too many record shops anymore. Super power is not here but super power was a baby.
Sir Coxsone Dodd him and his late wife have passed. Norma Dodd was my cousin Jarrett is her name they used to be down here at Sterling and Schenectady. Keith’s record shop no longer exists in Brooklyn. Soul Heaven and so many other different places also closed.
So when you hear about even VP the legacy miles ahead, when you come to New York this is the legendary store.
The Randy’s started in Jamaica on North Parade as a family but for New York reggae is right here.