Breadback gives Coxsone Dodd classic production a ‘Brighter Shade’

January 27, 2023

B illboard producer Richard Bramwell, known widely as Breadback, has added a modern yet authentic spin to the 1967 classic 'Darker Shade of Black' rhythm, which was originally produced by legendary Coxsone Dodd and featured the musical stylings of Jackie Mittoo.

Influenced by the foundation era of reggae and dancehall, Breadback said that the remake is timely for the upcoming Reggae Month celebrations.

"The theme of the remake which I have named 'Brighter Shade' is to bolster reggae and dancehall as an ever-evolving genre and one that still has more positive energy to give as we look to celebrate our culture next month," Breadback said.

He continued, "The Studio One production dominated the 70s to 80s. On stage shows yuh hear the artistes asking for 'darker shade', and it has been recreated several times. As an old-school youth and lover for that era, I wanted to add my spice to it. It is a familiar sound and it answers the demand for more music which reflects the roots and also shows that the music still has life. All when dem say dancehall dead, it cyaa dead."

For the Brighter Shade rhythm, the producer commissioned the talent of bassist Donald 'Danny Bassie' Dennis of Firehouse Crew. It has several icons of the genre, including Sizzla and Bounty Killer, who collaborate on How Dem Fi Fight Reggae, as well as Capleton, Turbulence, and Beenie Man lending their creativity and experience on the project. Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have been featured on one or more versions of the original rhythm. Dean Fraser played over the horns live, which Breadback said was Bounty Killer's suggestion.

"A lot of artistes can't sing or deejay on old school riddims, but all the acts on it have done the project justice and now is the right time for its release. Music is in a spot where people are speaking about the demise of our culture [so], me reintroducing this again is bringing familiarity to people," Breadback asserted.

Praising the contributions of Dodd to the reggae genre, Breadback opined that many of the newer rhythms making waves are remakes of an old school production of his, or another producer of that generation.

"A nuff old riddims get lick over man. I am one producer who doesn't mind having them played over and showing a new interpretation. But yuh can't remake a riddim and flop it. Is 'bout 10 years me have this riddim, and me say me really need fi put it out now," Breadback said.

"We had to re-record Sizzla's track because as I said, this has been in the making for many years. To have grown up around Firehouse Crew, and among the greatest musicians and recording artistes, I feel a great sense of pleasure to have it ready for the public ears," he continued.

- S.L.

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