Sizzling, soulful reggae backed by the Upper Cut Band confirmed for Friday night’s main stage.
Two of reggae’s best-loved and longest serving performers will take to the main stage together at this year’s Wilkswood Reggae Festival when Earl Sixteen and Carroll Thompson headline with the Upper Cut Band on Friday night. Both Earl and Carroll have several decades of musical pedigree between them and they have both been successful as solo artists as well as providing vocals for a stella cast of other musicians. The Upper Cut Band will provide a solid, seasoned backup to produce a bubbling lovers and roots stew of bright and breezy horns, wailing guitars, melodic keys and pumping drum and bass.
Carroll Thompson is the self-styled ‘Queen of Lovers Rock’, bursting on the scene in 1980 with her million-selling self-penned debut album, Hopelessly in Love. The album stayed in the UK reggae charts for a record-breaking two and a half years, much of that time in the Number 1 slot and it spawned a number of hit singles: ‘I’m So Sorry’, ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Simply in Love’. As well as fronting the Sheffield-based jazz-funk band, Floy Joy, her romantic and sensual voice has featured on recordings with with Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Maxi Priest, Sting, Billy Ocean, Chaka Khan and Aswad. After recording with Michael Jackson, he fondly referred to Carroll as ‘the voice that launched a million babies’.
Earl Sixteen is another reggae stalwart, first performing in his native Kingston as lead vocalist for the Flaming Phonics in the early 70s. His rich, roots rockers style (influenced but his idol, Dennis Brown) has since featured on recordings by Linval Thompson, Augustus Pablo, Clement Dodd, Sugar Minott, Yabby You, Derrick Harriott and Mikey Dread’. Based in the UK since 1985, he has made guest appearances on tracks by Leftfield and is perhaps best known in the UK as vocalist with Dreadzone, performing with the band since 1995.
The Upper Cut Band have been delivering their inimitable style of UK roots reggae since the summer of 2008 and have spent the past two years rocking festivals and clubs throughout Europe and the UK, sharing the stage with artists such as The Skatalites, Earl Sixteen, Macka B and Fantan Mojah. The dynamic of the band is such that the frontman position is kept open enabling them to interchange vocalists. In essence they are a session band, but can be seen performing regularly with an array of reggae artists with differing styles such as Solo Banton, Horseman, Tippa Irie (who they performed with at last year’s festival), King Lorenzo, Junior Reid and Big Youth.