"It's hard to believe," says Capsicum Records founding CEO and A&R Director Roger Meltzer, "-- and it's still a struggle to survive as a global indie based here in Hartford, CT, USA -- where few thought we would come this far or last this long -- but July 1st marked the 10th anniversary of the home of our Reggae-In-Fusion label and its unique "roots on the bottom, and pop on the top" sound.
"I will just say what I have in every radio interview -- I get too much credit for our success. None of this would have happened without the genius of "Reality" Weekes and "Ifield" Joseph as my co-producers, arrangers and engineers, and the man who masters our records, the inimitable Ray Kennedy of Zen Masters in Nashville, TN."
In conjunction with the label's anniversary, Meltzer announced the launch of Capsicum's "Lost Masters" project and the release of dancehall/reggae remixes of six 1980's r&b/funk chart busters from Meltzer's time as the co-founder of Brothers United Together Music with the late David Morris, after serving from 1977-79 as a staff writer-producer-arranger at Philadelphia International Records/The Sound of Philadelphia.
"Besides all the blood, sweat and tears it took to establish our bonafides as a label with radio stations and artists, there has been the often acrimonious struggle to recover the rights to the songs I wrote and sound recordings I produced with Davy. Many of them went on to become chart toppers and some are even now still sold as collectors items for over $300 USD for an original 12-inch vinyl single, especially in overseas retail markets. I was stunned to learn an "unofficial" video of :Don't Send Me Away has had over 7,000,000 hits on Youtube, Facebook and other social media until Garfield Fleming told me he's met fans of that song of all ages on his tours of Europe and Japan. Many of the younger fans told him their parents had taught them the song as an example of why they preferred old school music, and the kids had to agree. Many of them even said they knew the song better than Delphonics' smashes La La Means I Love You and Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time.
"Many of them weren't even sold to the record labels which had originally agreed to distribute and promote them for us -- some were merely leased in return for distribution and promotion -- to be returned after their expected life expectancy had expired; but many of those small labels went under without paying the royalties due under those production agreements, and many of those catalogs in turn were bought out by other labels which also chose to default on those royalty obligations," explained Meltzer.
"I won't recite that litany of horror stories here; but I often tell young people aspiring to careers in this industry that there will be times when it seems like everything that ever crawled out from under a rock is in this business and all you can do is to learn the business of the business and protect your intellectual property with what few laws exist to generate your copyrights and royalties. At this point there's not a lot to be gained crying over spilled milk and unethical executives encountered; but more importantly, we got back some of our best work, and now it's time to move on.
"So, instead of throwing a party for one night, I have decided to re-release those funk/r&b masters as fusion remixes with modern reggae and dancehall grooves. I have no doubt many of them will become hits all over again" -- not only with the Baby Boomers, but with today's Generation Y crowd who don't believe a dancebeat and a melody are incompatible..."
The project will include six cuts and lead off with a remix of the original version of Don't Send Me Away featuring Philadelphia native son Garfield Fleming whose influences from r&b immortals Davy Ruffin, Bobby Womack and Teddy Pendergrass are undeniable. The "B-side" of that song was a funky club favorite entitled You Got Dat Right which will also be remixed and re-released. The project also includes remixes of two songs featuring Houston's Archie Bell, the romantic and sensual Touchin' You and the ultra cynical Don't Wait For The World. The other two remixes will feature the vocal magic of former Buddah Records artist Davy Morris, on the NYC monster club hit Saturday Night which also features the bass work of co-writer Gary Lunsford, and Somebody You'd Love To Love, a funky tribute to the mind-numbing power of visual attraction.
Morris of Philadelphia and Las Vegas, NV, also contributed all the keyboards and sang most of the background vocals on the original masters, which also feature the other original members of the acclaimed B.U.T. rhythm section, Lunsford on bass, Ron Gentile on guitar, with Donnie Smith and later Phil DeMarco on drums.
The Original B.U.T. Rhythm Section