Emotional Rescue presents the music of Haile Maskel as the first in a series of reissues working with Patrick Billard aka DJ Duckcomb, to source and find rare, but more importantly fantastic songs, from this digger’s vaults and out to the wider world.
Heralding from the musically furtive 50’s and 60’s Trenchtown, Jamaica, that saw the likes of local hero’s The Skatalites bring a new sound to the world, young Michael Ashley aka Haile Maskel grew up always singing, learning piano, guitar and bass. From church to street to dancehalls, his music education led to a first recording session at 19, produced by friend Bob Marley, with Peter Tosh on keys, Robbie Shakespeare on bass and Carlton Barrett on drums, Maskel answered his calling.
The list of recording sessions is long, working with the likes of Lee Perry, Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, Light Of Saba, Dennis Brown, Johnny Clark, Sugar Minott and Ras Micheal. As a member of The Rastafarians, touring took him overseas and like many he made his home in America, settling in Los Angeles in 1983, where he launched his Opulence Sound label.
As Maskel’s in-house band, the 101’s was largely made from members of The Twinkle Brothers, including his cousins Asher and Debo Brown on drum and bass, and augmented by local players. Mixing conscious message in his love songs, here Maskel crafts a boogie disco dub riddim on which to exalt an uplifting summer jam that takes the influences of his JA roots with the Sunshine State’s optimism.
If the highly prized original wasn’t enough, the master tapes unearthed not one but two unreleased dubs. Here “Take 1” is included, providing a wonderful version on the excursion. LA native Duckcomb was integral to the reissue, ‘reasoning’ with Maskel, together a treasure trove of tapes full of unheard material is being ‘baked’ for discovery. For now, his longform Discomix is perfect, cutting and editing Maskel’s vocal along with the dubs, to complete a first archival splendor.
“Music is my life. But they’re all waiting to make it big, you know? Then they bring it out. That why Bob tell me to just record. Record. He say, anywhere me go, me must always record my idea. He say it don’t make sense to die with my idea. So if you can’t pay for the recording, just leave it with the man and he can put it out whenever. Because it’s for the people. The idea is for the people. I live by that. Everything weh Bob tell me, me live by. Him a me big bredda. Because me no have any big bredda. So Bob a me big bredda.”