Crack Of Dawn – 1976 – Crack Of Dawn
I’ve been a fan of Funk My Soul since shortly after starting my FaceBook page Fat City Vinyl & Music Blog – I rather randomly came across FMS one day and was impressed with not only the records shared, but the depth of knowledge about all facets of soul & funk music and have since been introduced to many artists and recordings I was not previously familiar with, or had only heard of in passing. My page (also on Instagram and YouTube as Fat City Vinyl) and FMS share a similar format and mandate to share great music from our collections which we are inspired by – while funk and soul are certainly on the decks at Fat City Vinyl it is my long time love of Jamaican music that has resonated with many visitors; accordingly when asked to share a record from my collection with the audience of FMS I immediately thought of Crack Of Dawn, a historic Canadian release rooted in 1970’s soul and funk but also with a strong reggae and Jamaican connection. Thank you Funk My Soul for continually promoting quality music and for giving me this opportunity to speak to your fans!
A1 Keep The Faith 2:44
A2 Board Walking 3:02
A3 Somebody’s Watching You 3:10
A4 The Key 2:50
A5 Oh What A Feeling 2:45
B1 It’s Alright (This Feeling)2:39
B2 I Can’t Move No Mountains 2:32
B3 Boobie Ruby 2:20
B4 Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is 2:49
B5 Stand Tall 2:49
Inside this unassuming cover is a serious slice of Toronto area funk and soul with a strong reggae connection and history.
Crack Of Dawn was the first black Canadian group signed to a major label; the band (primarily made up of young Jamaican- and West Indian Canadians) revolved around two brothers, Carl and Rupert Harvey, plus Carl Otway on drums and fronted by Glen Ricketts (active to this day as a solo reggae artist).
Carl Harvey (guitar & bass) is one of the unsung legends of Canadian music; inspired by Jimi Hendrix he took up the guitar and between Crack Of Dawn and his own solo work (he recorded a solo album, Ecstasy Of Mankind, in the late 70’s which was reissued by the Makasound label in 2005 after a history of unauthorized releases), he made frequent trips back to Jamaica, recording for producer Bunny “Striker” Lee and racking up credits on numerous albums including Kaya Dub with Lee’s house band the Aggrovators and Johnny Clarke’s King In The Arena. He frequently backed up keyboard maestro Jackie Mittoo, appearing on Jackie’s albums In Cold Blood and the Canadian release Let’s Put It All Together – it was Mittoo in fact who spotted a bootleg copy of Ecstasy Of Mankind in the UK and alerted Harvey. Carl also played on Willi Williams’ Messenger Man LP and produced the worldwide pop/reggae hit Hands Up by Sway; in the early 1980’s he joined Toots & the Maytals, beginning a long association with the group and appearing on the Grammy winning 2004 release True Love as well as sharing stages around the world with the top names in the rock music industry.
Crack Of Dawn lays down a strong dose of soul and funk with a subtle Christian message on opener Keep The Faith and the Stevie Wonder styled The Key (which appeared as a single along with the bubbling Chuck Jackson penned It’s Alright). A cover of Crowbar’s 1971 hit Oh What A Feeling adds a thrumming stadium rock touch while Glen Ricketts contributes original songs Somebody’s Watching You, the salaciously funky Boobie Ruby and the Marvin Gaye style growler Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Rupert Harvey closes the album with his own Stand Tall with a funk-reggae feel.
A radically different band lineup released Horizons in 1981; the Harveys had departed with Rupert helping to found successful 80’s Toronto reggae band Messenjah (with Carl producing their 1987 album Cool Operator) and releasing two solo albums as Ojiji.
Thank you Fat City Vinyl & Music Blog for your amazing contribution and for introducing me and FMS visitors on this brilliant album.