Jamaica has been in the news lately because of Usain Bolt and the great Jamaican track and field athletes. To celebrate Jamaica, know that there’s a reggae oasis here on Saturday night and his name is Junor Francis. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and delivers the goods with verve and authentic Jamaican flavor. Junior arrived to the U.S. from the island in 1986, and the authorities forgot to write the “i” in his first name, hence the atypical spelling. Junor does “The Reggae Show” on KXLU, 88.9 and KXLU.COM every Saturday night from 8-10 p.m. He also hosts an evening show on an Inland Empire station.
I know a bit about reggae; the first show I put on as KCRW’s new Music Director in the fall of 1979 was “The Reggae Beat.“ Bob Marley was the first guest that Roger Steffens, the longtime host, interviewed. The show was one of the most popular on KCRW, and countless other reggae heavyweights passed through the station during its decade-plus lifetime until it ended in 1991. I myself interviewed Peter Tosh in 1982. (I wrote a brief story about it on the blog a few weeks ago.)
Frequent travelers know that reggae is popular all over the world. I’ve been to Brazil, Russia, Cape Verde, France, Spain, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and I’ve seen more Bob Marley t-shirts in all these places than for any other musician. Marley wrote indelible, unforgettable songs filled with humanity, hope, love, and pathos, and his songs are etched into the universal consciousness of the world.
The popularity of reggae here in L.A. is evidenced by the huge success of the big Hollywood Bowl shows, Reggae Night, now in its fifteenth year. Junor Francis plays a major role in reggae’s continuing popularity here in L.A., so we thank him for being the keeper of the reggae flame.
Rhythm Planet/Junor Francis Guest DJ Playlist For 8/19/16:
- Derrick Morgan / “Forward March” / Island
- Prince Buster / “Thirty Pieces of Silver” / Blue Beat
- Desmond Dekker / “Mount Zion” / Beverley’s
- Eric Barnett / “Quaker City” / Trojan
- The Tennors / “Another Scorcher” / Trojan
- Rudy Mills / “John Jones” / Trojan
- Sound Dimension / “Real Rock” / Studio One
- Various Artists / “Sweet Jamaica” / Mr. Vegas Music
- Eddie Murphy featuring Beenie Man / “Wonna Deez Nites” / V.P.
- Beres Hammond / “One Love One Life” / V.P.
- Culture / “Behold” / Caroline Records/Virgin
- Dennis Brown / “Here I Come/Love and Hate” / V.P.