Junior Reid to celebrate 60th Birthday with One Blood Family Fest on June 3rd, 2023

Respect is something Junior Reid learned to show since he started in the music business 45 years ago. His appreciation for reggae’s past and future is reflected in the cast for One Blood Family Fest which takes place June 3rd at Plantation Cove in St. Ann Parish,  Jamaica. 

The event, which features an all-star cast, celebrates the veteran singer’s 60th birthday. The man behind hits like Original Foreign Mind, Babylon Release The Chains, One Blood, and Listen to The Voices, believes in the adage that age is merely a number.

“Mi feel like six, not 60. Mi feel great same way,” said Reid, who has assembled a strong cast for his show.

Stephen and Julian Marley, I Wayne, Big Youth, Warrior King, Bushman, Chezidek, Cedric Myton, Jahmiel, and Chuck Fenda are some acts on the card.

According to Reid, he wants to send a strong message by selecting a diverse lineup.

“When yuh mix di foundation with di future, it shows where di music coming from an’ where it reach. Di elders can teach di youths an’ di youths can teach di elders…dis is where di strength of di music is,” he explained. 

Reid’s career has ebbed and flowed, although the positives outweigh the disappointments. His first song, Speak The Truth, was produced by his mentor Hugh Mundell and released in 1978.

He considers One Blood, released in 1990, as the highlight of his career. Inspired by racial strife and gang conflict in the United Kingdom and Jamaica, it is Reid’s signature and a rallying cry at his shows.

One Blood has been sampled by hip-hop acts like MIMS and Wu-Tang Clan. His appearance on the 2006 hit song It’s Okay with rapper The Game, solidified his presence among hip-hop fans.

Junior Reid is from Waterhouse, a tough community in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital. That area has produced acts like The Wailing Souls and Black Uhuru and engineer/producers Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock and Lloyd “King Jammy” James.

Although they came from different backgrounds,  Mundell, a protégé of Augustus Pablo, was his biggest influence. 

“Mundell was a youth who believe dat yuh mus’ own yuh own thing. Him mek mi know sey there is nothing like when yuh can go into di studio an’ voice yuh song, an’ own yuh masters an’ publishing. Mi love Hugh Mundell fi dat,” Reid stated.

Best known for the classic, Pablo-produced album, Africa Must be Free by 1983, Mundell was murdered by a gunman in Kingston that year. Reid was with him at the time but escaped injury. 

His next stop was Sugar Minott’s Youth Promotions which produced Original Foreign Mind. He also did a stint with Black Uhuru, replacing Mykal Rose who left in 1985.

Approaching his 60th birthday, Junior Reid is still hunting more hit songs. His latest effort, Frontline,  is a collaboration with rapper I BORN. 

By Howard Campbell