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Black Uhuru's Derrick "Duckie" Simpson - Off The Road with Dave Lawrence

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Find the entire Off The Road series at hawaiipublicradio.org/offtheroad.

Today HPR All Things Considered Host Dave Lawrence welcomes back reggae legends Black Uhuru, making their first appearance as part of Off The Road, and their original member and longtime leader, Derrick "Duckie" Simpson. Black Uhuru will be releasing a new album, “New Day”, featuring Dylan Dharma, Andrew Bees and King Hopeton on LAW Records in March 2022. They’ll have a brand new single — “Jamaica to Here” — due in October. It follows up their Grammy nominated 2019 album, “As The World Turns”.

Black Uhuru is one of the pioneering roots reggae bands, critically acclaimed for a string of albums that propelled them into the stratosphere of reggae superstars, opening stadium shows for the Rolling Stones at places like Wembley Stadium and earning international praise for their socially conscious messages. The band formed in 1972 in the Waterhouse area of Kingston, Jamaica. Duckie is the sole original member remaining in the group that at different times had reggae figures like Don Carlos, Garth Dennis, Junior Reid, Michael Rose, Puma Jones, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.

In today’s feature, Duckie explains how the pandemic first impacted his life, interrupting plans for what he called among Black Uhuru’s biggest tours ever of Europe. Those dates are now rescheduled for 2022. He also talked about how he’s been working on demos and new music there in Jamaica, not having played live since the pandemic started, and described how he’s been avoiding crowds to stay safe. He talks about some of the American musical luminaries he was privileged to see live as a little boy, and also pays tribute to two massive reggae icons that have been lost over the last year – Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals and Bunny Wailer, of Bob Marley and The Wailers. He tells fascinating stories about both.

Additionally, we’ve published the complete 45-minute interview with Duckie, with riveting tales of his childhood, and how he and Black Uhuru’s history has intersected with James Brown, Third World, and The Rolling Stones.


Hear the complete new interview:

See Duckie's 2017 interview with Dave:

See Andrew Bees 2017 interview with Dave:

Hear a 2017 phone interview with Duckie, Andrew Bees, and Dave:

See Duckie's 2019 interview with Dave:

Off The Road started in April 2020 when the pandemic led to a halt in the touring entertainment industry. Connecting with artists around the world since, we’ve offered intimate conversations and many exclusive musical performances with some of the biggest names in music, spanning many genres, eras and styles. Some of the highlight artists we’ve welcomed so far include The Police, Taj Mahal, 10,000 Maniacs, Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Al Di Meola, Alice Cooper, Soul Asylum, John McLaughlin, Deep Purple, Third World, George Benson, Heart, Joe Satriani, The Doors, Randy Brecker, Peter Frampton and System of a Down.

Dave Lawrence is the local host of All Things Considered, Road Stories (formerly Off the Road) and Stargazer.
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