Moe's Alley presents THE ITALS for a Saturday night of classic Jamaican Roots Reggae. The word "Legend" gets thrown around a lot in Reggae...but in this case THE ITALS with over 40 years in the Reggae business with hit pon hit....it's a band deserving the title. Special guests Ancestree support.
VIDEO- The Itals "Live At Montreal Jazz Festival" 1984 (Full Concert)
Audio "In A Dis Ya Time"
Audio "Don't Wake The Lion"
Audio "Herbs Pirate"
THE ITALS -
The Itals are still vital and bearing ripe fruit. In November and December they will be touring spreading their roots messages, melodies and harmonies across the US in support of their R&B tribute album - Let's Get It On. Love Me Twice, the first single from the new album is getting a lot of airplay and appreciation. Also coming out soon is the repackaged Itals compilation Mind Over Matter, which has been out of print for several years and features many of their biggest hits. The Itals previous release - For The Good Times -- is also available. The Itals DVD - My Way High Way features a song from their 2011 release - Let Them Talk.
Out of Savana La Mar, Jamaica, for years Keith Porter and his band are one of the hardest working touring reggae acts in North America. These music messengers have the horsepower and perseverance to perform in some of the farthest North American outposts. For this sacrifice, they are greatly loved and respected by their fans. Keith Porter's father was a minister in Jamaica, and with these roots, Keith has been bringing forth the message from an early age.
Known for their tight harmonies, and uplifting songs, these reggae ambassadors have been touring fresh and strong since the early eighties. After many hard years on the road, they are still youthful and in good health. Keith Porter has proven himself to be one of the strongest men in the business. His endurance is remarkable. Keith "never gets weary". The Itals are living samples of the "Rasta Philosophy".
The Itals continue to champion the roots reggae sound they helped to create. The band got their start in the late 1960s when friends Alvin "Keith" Porter and Ronnie Davis, then known as the Westmorelites (named after Jamaica's Westmoreland parish), recorded the hit single "Hitey Titey" for Clement "Coxsone" Dodds' esteemed Studio One label. Porter and Davis crossed paths again in 1975 and recorded their classic "Ina Dis Ya Time" as the Itals, taking their name from the Jamaican patois word meaning natural - pure and unprocessed.
The Itals are recognized as one of reggae's premier "harmony groups." The diverse seaside community of Westmoreland, where Keith grew up, greatly influenced his laid-back singing style, and the righteous outlook on life often described in the Itals' music. In contrast to the violence and sexism that runs through some of dancehall's most popular tunes, the Itals' roots reggae sound remains to this day focused on positivity, love and harmony.
"Got to reveal, got to reveal. The truth that is hid, has got to reveal", chant the Itals. "Sing farewell to my enemies. Sing farewell to my enemies -- Alphas love is over me." The Itals songs help us remember God and the Holy Spirit, and to count His many great blessings. Just for the gifts of sight and hearing, we could never be thankful enough. "Temptation is a thing trying to keep me away from Jah glory. I love, I love, I love - Jah glory."
When the Itals hit the stage, "Jah glory" is in full effect.
BIOGRAPHY: THE ITALS
Long before the Itals were a spark in their producer's eye, Keith Porter recorded his first hit single, "Hitey Titey", with the Westmorelites on the Studio One label in 1967. Around 1969, Keith became lead singer for a band named Soul Hermit, backed by Eugene Gray and Wignal Henry on guitars, and Reginald Seewell and Nash on base and drums. They played in numerous entertainment sectors of Jamaica until Owen Sinclair put together a new band in 1971. Called Future Generation, the band was composed of Dalton James and Roy Hilton on drums, Devon Henry on keyboards, Eugene Gray, guitar, Scott on sax, and Keith on vocals. They performed all over Jamaica for X amount of years, singing all styles of music, American R&B and love songs and native Jamaican songs.
Tiring of the club scene around 1975, Keith ran into Ronnie Davis on Orange Street in Kingston and asked him who was auditioning. Ronnie gave him a cassette with a rhythm he'd just had a hit on. "I was so happy with that rhythm I didn't look any further," says Keith. "In less than a week I had written Ina Disa Time and came back to Kingston to record it for Lloyd Campbell's SpiderMan label. Lloyd felt it needed some harmonies with my lead, so Ronnie and I both added harmony parts. There was no intention of forming a group called the Itals; the record first came out as Keith Porter. After the song was on its way to becoming a hit in Jamaica, we all went out to do some promotion. Lloyd, Ronnie, myself and Brian Thomas of RJR were sitting out back in the cantina, when Brian said 'why not call them the Itals', because now there was more than one person singing. Everyone liked that name. It sounded good, so all of a sudden, Itals was a group. It was never intentional. I've always wondered if the name was the result of Brian noticing how strict I was about the food I ate, strictly Ital."
Campbell quickly repressed the record as 'the Itals' to meet demand. Today the song remains the Itals' signature tune, and has been described by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones as "the perfect reggae track". It is included on the Rolling Stones' Artist Choice CD, released in 2003, available through Starbucks Coffee from Hear Music, a division of EMI, and in selected major chains.
The success of "Ina Disa Time" saw the group return to the studio with the addition of Lloyd Ricketts singing a third harmony part on a series of superb recordings for the SpiderMan label. Tunes like "Don't Wake The Lion," "Brutal," and "Temptation" followed on 7" release in Jamaica and New York in '77 and '78, establishing the Itals among the best Jamaican singers and songwriters. The Itals were twice finalists in the Jamaica Festival Song Competition, and their 1981 tune, "Jamaican Style," earned them a place at Reggae Sunsplash that year. 1982 saw the release of the first Itals' album, "Brutal Out Deh" on Nighthawk Records. The Itals toured the US and Canada backed by the Roots Radics. Their second album, "Give Me Power," was released to critical acclaim and hit #1 on CMJ's Reggae Route chart. In 1985, Pollstar Magazine placed them in the top 100 artists of the year.
Their third album, "Early Recordings," gathers together all the Itals' early singles and several rare pre-Itals tracks for a collector's feast from Nighthawk. The Itals' fourth recording, "Rasta Philosophy," won a Grammy nomination for best reggae album in 1987, followed by "Cool And Dread." Next came the Rhythm Safari album "Easy to Catch", followed by "Modern Age" on Ras Records. The Itals continued touring throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Over the years, the Itals have performed countless shows worldwide. Although the background harmonies sometimes change, they always sound as sweet as ever, backing the original Itals lead vocalist, Keith Porter. Now, with the release of "Mi Livity," Mr. Porter steps a little further out front and demonstrates why good reggae music allows no labels or limitations.