Sep
17
2018

Bill King, Wayne McGhie & Pablo Paul | 'Promises'

The backstory to this track is as interesting as the track itself
Bill King, Wayne McGhie & Pablo Paul | 'Promises'

It was 1974, and Toronto was undergoing a cultural shift. The usual pop fare was starting to assimilate the rhythms of the Caribbean – not just Soca, and calypso – but a music known and beloved by those who immigrated from Jamaica called, ‘Reggae.’ 

THE UNKNOWN RECORDING

Over a Forty-four year period, Bill King either stored in a garage, basement or transported fifteen 2” tape recordings, most absent track sheets, and recorded between 1974 to 1985. Some were jazz and others reggae and funk sessions with his various bands. 

Out of curiosity King had four of those 2" tapes baked (in order to attempt to preserve magnetic tapes you can bake them to reduce moisture) 
The baking process was successful, the stems retrieved and sent to Renegade Studios, owned by Jesse “Dubmatix” King. 

Within in these packs are players such as bassist Harvey Brooks of Bob Dylan and Electric Flag fame, Everton Paul and Wayne McGhie – Reggae Hall of Fame honorees, jazzman Pat LaBarbera of Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones fame and brother Joe – long -time drummer for Tony Bennett and a long cast of luminaries. Both Kings were thrilled at what the heard. Tracks that have a timeless quality about them and capture the spirit and cross-cultural curiosity of the musicians involved. Players without borders!

THE ORIGINAL RECORDING SESSION

Guitarist/vocalist Wayne McGhie and drummer Everton ‘Pablo’ Paul were part of that first wave of musicians who introduced the music of their roots to a city about to recognize the imprint people from afar were about to make on Toronto. 

“Born in 1947 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Wayne McGhie received his elementary musical instruction in guitar from his sister. "I taught him to go up the scale on the guitar and if you ask me now how, I don't know, because he followed his dream and I dropped what I had," says McGhie's older sister Merline. "Dance was my passion, music was his passion." 

However, Merline remained close to her brother because of his generosity and was his caregiver in the last years of his life up until his death. "He was kind. He never asked for anything and if he had it he would give it to you. He was kind, he was generous. 

McGhie was part of the influx of West Indian musicians heading from the island to Canada: musicians like Studio One veterans Lloyd Delpratt and the legendary Jackie Mittoo, who had worked with Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jimmy Cliff before coming to Toronto and Everton Paul. McGhie's sister remembers Mittoo as a regular visitor to their place, drinking wine and playing music regularly with McGhie.” CBC Radio Canada. 

Wayne, Pablo and Bill met one evening the early seventies at the Masonic Temple in Toronto. The featured artist that night was keyboardist Jackie Mittoo. “I heard something in the rhythm section that was ‘off the map’ original and exciting and asked the trio if they would be part of my future endeavours”, said Bill King. The three, along with bass player George Philip became part of King’s ‘big music adventure’ the next few years. 

During those years they became house band at the famed El McCambo Club in Toronto and recorded when possible. One such session produced three long-lasting tracks. The funk instrumental, “Sawbuck” – “Nothing’s Gonna Take You Away” recorded by Chaka Khan after a co-write – rewrite with Buffalo, NY native Debbie Ash and the one known vocal duet between McGhie and King and composed by Bill King – “Promises”. 

“Promises” is everything you need to know about the friendship, compatibility and innovative measures the trio brought to a music about to surface in North America. McGhie sings and plays rhythm guitar. King sings and plays left hand synth-bass and Fender Rhodes, Everton Paul – drums and percussion. Bert Hermiston - tenor sax. 

‘Big ups’ to Michael Haas at Inception Sound for the ‘shake and bake’ and stems and to Jesse ‘Dubmatix’ King for remix and mastering.

PERSONELL

  • Bill King composer/vocals/bass/Fender Rhodes 
  • Wayne McGhie vocals/guitar 
  • Everton 'Pablo' Paul - drums/percussion 
  • Bert Hermiston - tenor sax 
  • Cover art Bill and Jesse King! 
  • Mix and Mastered - Jesse 'Dubmatix' King