I remember having met Chris about 10 yrs ago while living in London. We were both playing at Cello’s Coast to Coast, while the club was in Orchard St.. What struck me about Chris was is Reggae knowledge: he’s didn’t look one of those “I-know-it-all” kind of guy and he was quiet, just busy playing records. I thought he was just another Reggae collector.
Then a couple of years ago I was reading People Funny Boy and there you are! Mr. Chris Lane is in there, so I discover the fella went to JA well before it was fashionable to do so… He’s done a lot and he has seen a lot, so I decided to get in touch with him, with the help of Mr. Steve Rice. The following is a brief introduction to the man himself. Enjoy!!!
Chris Lane was born in London in January 1956 and started buying reggae records 13 years later when his family acquired their first record player. At 17 he was writing a regular column for the prestigious Blues & Soul> magazine and soon made his first month-long trip to Jamaica, spending his eighteenth birthday at the newly built Black Ark studio co-writing a song with Lee ’Scratch’ Perry and Bob Marley. He spent the rest of his time hanging around Kingston’s other studios conducting trail-blazing interviews with legendary reggae arists and producers such as Big Youth, Prince Buster, Bunny Wailer, Augustus Pablo, Derrick Harriott, Niney The Observer, Dennis Brown and Coxsone Dodd. Despite being recognised as the leading (if not the only) authority on reggae at the time, and going on to contribute articles and reviews to> Melody <Maker, New Musical Express, Let It Rock, Music Week, Black Music< and the first reggae fanzine Pressure Drop, he decided that his ambitions lay in other directions and in 1976 founded Dub Vendor (the specialist reggae retailer) with fellow reggae fan John MacGillivray. Although he left the company after a couple of years it wasn’t long before he re-entered the business as a producer, recording four tunes for Dave Hendley’s Cruise label.
In 1980 he renewed his partnership with John MacGillivray, this time as co-owner of Fashion Records, and continued to hone his skills as a producer, arranger, engineer and musician, often working with other labels and producers in addition to his Fashion production duties. During the early eighties he mixed a dub album (‘Natural Dub’) for Prince Lincoln & The Royal Rasses, acted as live sound engineer and producer for the renowned Night Doctor band, and later played guitar and percussion for Maxi Priest’s original Caution outfit, engineering their debut album (‘You’re Safe’) and mixing their first hit singles into the bargain. Chris also engineered and mixed for wide variety of other producers at Marc Angelo’s Studio and cut dub plates for London’s top sound systems in his own A-Class Dub Studio, occasionally compiling albums and writing sleeve notes for companies such as Trojan and Greensleeves, having stopped writing for magazines at the start of the eighties.
In the nineties he mostly concentrated on Fashion Records (and it’s associated labels – Fine Style, Top Notch, Jungle Fashion and Dub Organiser), producing, playing and engineering top quality music with many of reggae’s most respected artists and musicians – he has worked with Mykal Roze (of Black Uhuru), Junior Delgado, Johnny Clarke, Augustus Pablo, Glen Brown, Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, Pat Kelly, Cutty Ranks, Top Cat, General Levy, Smiley Culture, Mafia & Fluxy, Steely & Clevie and Sly Dunbar to name but a very few.
Chris gave up producing records in 2000, but still continues to assist in compilation projects for Trojan and Pressure Sounds (amongst others), supplying information and sleeve notes, posters and labels, original source discs and other archive material when needed. He has also recently had articles published in Record Collector and the respected French Natty Dread magazines, and occasionally deejays at highly regarded reggae revive clubs such as Pressure & Slide, Tighten Up and Coast To Coast as well as the Boogaloo <soul nights in South-East London.
ORIGINAL ROCKERS – Augustus Pablo Greensleeves (Co-compiled, sleeve notes)
CLASSIC ROCKERS – Augustus Pablo Island (Sleeve notes)
CLASSIC ROCKERS Volume 2 – Augustus Pablo Rockers International (Compiled)
DUBBLE ATTACK – Glen Brown Productions Greensleeves (Compiled)
BOAT TO PROGRESS – Glen Brown Productions Greensleeves (Compiled)
CHECK THE WINNER – Glen Brown Productions Greensleeves (Compiled)
GEMS FROM TREASURE ISLE Trojan (Compiled, sleeve notes)
SONGS FOR MIDNIGHT LOVERS Derrick Harriott Trojan (Compiled, sleeve notes)
BEST OF BEVERLEY’S Trojan (Compiled, sleeve notes)
MELODICA MELODIES Trojan (Compiled, sleeve notes)
THE UPSETTER COLLECTION Trojan (Compiled, sleeve notes)
EVERYDAY SKANK – Big Youth Trojan (Co-compiled, sleeve notes)
LEE SCRATCH PERRY – THE WONDERMAN YEARS Trojan (Co-compiled, sleeve notes)
ORIGINAL JAMAICAN SOUND SYSTEM STYLE – Various R&B Artists EMI (Co-compiled, sleeve notes)
THE BIG GUNDOWN – Spaghetti Westerns & Reggae Trojan (Compilation, sleeve notes)
AQUARIUS ROCK – Herman Chin-Loy Productions >Pressure Sounds
REGGAE PRESSURE – Boss Sounds 1969 to 1970 Trojan (Compiled with Noel Hawks and Dave Hendley)
…also contributed information, images and original music sources for many others!