Obscure Canadian Reggae artist Rothadam recorded his anthemic "Rebel" 45s in Toronto circa 1975/76. Previously known only to hardcore Reggae collectors, Shella Records presents this Roots rediscovery as a licensed, lovingly remastered release some 40 years later.
Lovejoy Music Productions at 917 Bathurst Street in Toronto was a record shop, label and studio run by musician and welder Sid Lovejoy. Lovejoy brought fellow welder Rothadam into the studio only once-a musical crucible that forged the unforgettable “Rebel” on his LMP imprint. (Side A)
Leroy Sibbles’ foundation shaking bass and a cast of forgotten horns men combine with Rothadam’s soaring falsetto to create a slice of dark Roots perfection.
Rothadam reworked the track at Half Moon studios, for erratic Producer Oswald Creary, which was in turn passed on to Ron Lewis for release on his Ron Lew label. Rothadam was a fixture at the dingy basement studio on Weston Road which created some raucus yet sublime Roots recordings in the mid 70s.
Side B- “I was born to be a rebel” is a raw, intense Roots scorcher, a secret weapon known to kill Sounds across the planet.
Oddly neither 45 was released with a Dub version so we are left to imagine what might have been and to settle for a killer double sider.
After years of searching I found Rothadam (aka Errol Gayle) living nearby in North York. While he has largely left the music behind, the music definitely hasn’t left him.
Rothadam spent his formative years in Trenchtown before moving to Toronto in the early 1970s following a wave of fellow immigrants and Reggae musicians. Surrounded by music from an early age he was first a dancer performing in talent shows at Kingston’s Majestic Theatre and singing for his Uncle who was the first to recognize his talents.
The young singer honed his craft, eventually landing a session with Bunny Lee, however nothing was ever released and so he followed his brothers up to Canada leaving the chaos of early 70’s Trenchtown behind:
"That’s a bad area man, some guy, they just want to shoot people, some guy they want to sing you know….I leave from there and I come here..."
Gayle soon established himself as a formidable singer in Toronto adopting the unusual monicker “Rothadam” performing live and recording a small handful of 45s for local Jamaican producers.
The “Rebel” message in Rothadam’s music is obvious but more than anything the song is a call for peace and unity reflecting on his life in Jamaica and the community he left behind:
"…..because where I was living , It’s hard to don’t get involved. It wasn’t an easy thing to just live and just be happy…..Hard life man, hard life, …most of my friends when they were doing things that aren’t right…Not me. So in other words, I was born to be a strong man."