Black Slate Golden Anniversary Tour
First there were the hits,
then there was the legacy, then there was the reunion, then there was the short film. And now there is the Feature film, the album and the Golden Anniversary Tour.
Featuring three (3) of the founder members - Anthony Brightly, Desmond Mahoney and Chris Hanson – Black Slate are bringing their Golden Anniversary Train to a venue near you soon.
Arguably one of the biggest hidden gems of Black British history is the story of Black Slate. Formed in 1972 as schoolchildren, the band’s history is peppered by a veritable calendar of firsts and achievements.
To start with, the core members were first generation British born children of Caribbean parentage. At that time most youngsters of what would become known as the Windrush generation were born in the Caribbean and relocated to the UK at a very young age.
Their debut hit ‘Sticksman’, was reportedly a million seller across Europe notably hitting the pop top tens of countries like Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland. Sticksman is cited by many as the first Black British social commentary hit loved by Black youth and the then burgeoning punk rockers alike. Their next major hit, Amigo, repeated the feat whilst also hitting in the UK and spawning a World Tour which included Australasia.
Cutting their teeth as a backing band at the seminal Phoebe’s Club in East London they would go on to contribute to perennial classics like Pablo Gad’s ‘Hard Times’ and Carroll Thompson’s ‘I’m So Sorry’.
Desmond Mahoney would go on to become one of the most sought after session musicians in Britain. Chris Hanson would go on to be one of the most important cogs in the furtherance of the UK Musical genres from Lovers Rock to Jungle, Grime and sound system culture with his dub cutting, galvanic plant, mastering studio and pressing plant. Anthony Brightly would go on to become one of the leading players in the UK music scene as a record producer with his own Sir George label, Sound system and as a Club owner and promoter.
The road to this Golden Anniversary was started when the band reformed and toured the America’s, UK and Australasia in 2017. In 2021 they released a short film ‘The Sticksman Record’ about the creation of their debut hit as a precursor to a feature film about the band and now this World Tour.
World-renowned, international UK Roots Rock Reggae Band Black Slate, as featured a short documentary entitled “Young, Gifted & Black” name after the classic song recorded by the late, great Nina Simone!
The aim of the documentary is to encourage young people to never given up on their plans, hopes and dreams, but nurture it so it grows. In addition to highlighting the young people, the documentary will showcase individuals who are active in the community.
What an epic time it has been since the return of Black Slate!
In addition to the phenomenal success that the band have experienced with their album “Peaceful Demonstration”, they have once again toured in Europe, Australia and were welcomed back to New Zealand with open arms more than once!
Let’s also not forget the magical night at the Jazz Café in June 2019 and playing at Hootananny September later on in the year.
They didn’t stop there; they appeared on Sky news, The Robert Elms Show as well as giving several interviews. Black Slate were and still are in heavy demand!
So what now?
Despite the brief interruption of COVID-19, the band continued to work as much as they were able behind closed doors on their latest project: “Young, Gifted and Black”. Not just an album, but with a short film that premiered on 23rd September 2020.
Keep your ears and eyes ready.
Who is Black Slate
WHO IS BLACK SLATE
Black Slate was formed and based in the United Kingdom in 1972 and worked originally as a backing band, members would work with other Jamaican artists like Leroy Smart, The Heptones, Johnny Clarke, Ken Boothe, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, Sly & Robbie and Peter Tosh. In 1975 Black Slate became their own group and had a hit in 1976 with the song Sticks Man. The band had other successful songs during this period like Mind Your Motion,Boom Boom and the the massive world wide hit: Amigo.
During this period the Black Slate band would travel on thirty day tours as a support act for artists like Peter Tosh with whom they toured with on several occasions. The tours were all across Europe to Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, and throughout Italy. Wherever there were music festivals the band was present on the lineup. The band also performed at the Rainbow Theatre in London to a sold out crowd and shortly thereafter toured to Australia and New Zealand.
It was during this period that the British rock and roll explosion was happening and in reggae there was a parallel contingent happening with groups like Aswad, Steel Pulse, UB40 and Black Roots all taking off during this period from the years 1977-1979. It was also during this period that the “Rock Against Racism” movement was taking shape and Anglo bands like The Jam, Generation X and Adam and the Ants were teaming up with their Afro-British counterparts.
The band began to grow weary of touring to this degree. Three of the original members chose to take a hiatus from touring life to help raise their families and establish sustainable business ventures. Although the original lineup’s lead singer and bass guitarist decided to carry on with touring with a new lineup. The rest of the band started families secondary businesses and decided to remain at home in the UK and build businesses
Some of whom were already pursuing careers outside of the band, in particular Anthony Brightly who was a well-regarded DJ often leaving performances to crowds of 500 people to go and spin records to a crowd that was twice that size. As a DJ Mr. Brightly would become a driving force in the advancement of Lover’s Rock and UK reggae in general through his work as a Disc Jockey, Club owner, Artiste Manager and event promoter, shaping airplay and artist growth both at radio and in the club setting. In 1987 Mr. Brightly also became the manager for sound system collective Stone Love Movement and was instrumental in shaping their career globally to become the biggest touring sound in the world.
Original member Chris Hanson became a sought after mix and mastering engineer, adding his unique touch to thousands of songs over the past several years right up to the present. He founded Music House Dub Cutting, Mastering and Processing which over the past 25 years has been responsible for 80% of the mastering in reggae albums including releases such as the recent EP by Chronixx ”Dread and Terrible”.
Mr. Brightly relocated to the Caribbean island of Antigua in order to raise his young boys in a different environment outside of the UK. When these original members’ children began college, they determined it was time to hit the road again.
Their latest album Peaceful Demonstration is released on the on TCD Records the label named for Tony (Anthony), Chris and Desmond, the original members of the band founded in 1972 in the United Kingdom. After 40 years in the music business, the deep roots reggae band returns with their first full-length album released since the album SIX PLUS ONE in 1982 which was released digitally in 2014.