(Cornerstone Ras/2008) 11 tracks
My journey as an artist has had many highs and lows, (thank God there have been more positive memories than negative ones) but the greatest moments of my musical experience are those occasions where I have been blessed with opportunities to collaborate with other talented artists.
Although I have worked with many great acts all over the world, the artists featured on these recordings are all from the UK and for the most part, played a major role in my musical evolution and international success.
For instance, the English Beat were huge in the 80's and when I realized they were going to perform and judge a talent contest at a local venue, I had to sign up. After winning the competition Ranking Roger introduced himself to me and told me he loved my style and would to like to try out some ideas in the studio. Over a short time we became brothers and recorded 'Pato & Roger A Go Talk'which was featured on the 'Special Beat Service' album and launched my name globally! We later recorded 'Pato & Roger Come Again'and the international hit 'Bubblin' Hot'. Roger was also responsible for the production of my most successful reggae single in the UK 'Alto Tosh Gotta Toshiba'
All the guys in UB40 grew up in my neighborhood, so we were all aware of each other's contribution to the local music scene. Although they rapidly became international pop icons they remained true to their roots and continued supporting local reggae talent. My first chance to work with them was on an album called 'Baggariddim' which was basically a UB40 Dub Project featuring a long list of unknown local MCs. I recorded two tracks on this album, one of them being 'Hip Hop Lyrical Robot' which was also featured on their USA EP release and made gold sales. 1 S years later I was able to return the favor and invited Ali & Robin Campbell to record 'Baby Come Back' for my 'Collections' album. The track was released as the only single from the album and stay at the top spot on the UK Charts for 4 weeks straight.
Tippa Irie was a major force on the British MC scene. Saxon Sound System was by far the most exciting outfit in Europe and Papa Levi, Daddy Colonel &Tippa Irie were the leaders of the pack. When my manager at the time (G.T.Haynes) took Tippa under his wing, we became a dynamic duo, touring the UK and Europe extensively while recording many hit singles.
David Hinds of Steel Pulse, Peter Spence, Musical Youth, Stephen Morrison and Yasmin Alexander were all local artists in my hometown of Birmingham, so it was only a matter of time before we would be able to come together for a musical collaboration. My love, respect and admiration for their artistic excellence goes beyond words and I will always treasure the lessons and the vibes we shared during those recording sessions and live performances.
Last, but by no means least, was my experience working with Sting. I was still buzzing from the news that 'Baby Come Back' had sold 30 million copies worldwide when my phone rang. It was Stoker calling from LA in a very excited voice, explaining that Sting had found out that he had produced my hit single and wanted him to do a reggae remix of'This Cowboy Song'. (from the Fields of Gold album) Stoker asked me if I was interested in chatting some lyrics on the remix, silly question!
There are no words to express the following months of traveling with Sting on his private jet, doing interviews, TV shows, Top Of The Pops and a live performance in Italy with Madonna & George Michael. Sting is an awesome person and he treated me (and my band The Reggae Revolution) with the utmost love and respect. After the promotion of'This Cowboy Song' Sting offered to return the favor, so during the recording of my'Stay Positive' album, I asked him if we could do a remake of his classic hit'Spirits In A Material World', silly question!
The song was featured on the Ace Ventura soundtrack 'When Nature Calls' and was a huge hit in the UK and South America. There are various mixes of the song, but the upbeat ska version on this record is my favorite by far.
When all is said and done, I have been very blessed and I thank God for all the amazing opportunities and experiences I have enjoyed. If music is the fruit of life...
Pato Banton January, 2008