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The Gladiators updated rock steady and ushered in rockers. Their numerousrecords and dynamite live performances brought Jamaican music to whole newinternationalaudience.
Albert Griffiths started out under the name 'Al & The Ethiopians,' and had aradio hit "Train To Skaville." Following the release of that successfuldebut,he recruited David Webber and Errol Grandison to form The Gladiators vocalgroup. Clinton Fearon joined in 1970 on bass and vocals; he left The Gladiators in 1987.
The 1970s were a time of struggle for The Gladiators amidst the whirlpool ofthe Jamaican reggae scene and constant jockeying for position between themany talented players. They had some popular singles, like "Jah Jah GoBefore Us" , "On the Other Side", and "Roots Natty." In 1973 ErrolGrandison left the group, and was replaced by Gallimore Sutherland, whoremains to this day.
Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

The Gladiators

They signed on to Virgin Records and the masterpiece "Trenchtown Mix Up"transpired at Joe Gibbs Studio with "Prince" Tony Robinson producing and theyoung Sly Dunbar on drums. They also hooked up with The Mighty Diamonds forsome recordings, overcoming old rivalries.
In the '80s they toured extensively in Europe and the Americas, and recordedthe legendary album "Gladiators" at Coach House Studios. Eddy Grantproduced it and members of Aswad contributed rhythm tracks. "Gladiators ByBus", "Babylon Street" "Back To Roots," and "Live at Reggae Sunsplash1982" (with Israel Vibrations) were also released, as well as thecompilations "Vital Selection" and "Dreadlocks The Time Is Now." In thelate '80s the albums "Country Living" and "Dread Prophesy" agitated theirlegions of fans. The 1998 Heartbeat release "Bongo Red" brings together some of their mostpopular songs and adds them to rare tracks like the Lee Perry-produced"Time." Produced by Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd, the recording accessed agood bit of material previously unreleased from the vaults of Jamaica'shistoric Studio One label.
The Gladiators' appearance at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival isnothing short of legendary. After more than a decade away from theirAmerican fans, the show is sure to be a red-hot performance, with plenty ofremembrance in store.

Artist Biography courtesy of Mara Weiss

 

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