Jamaica Magazine

Review: Johnny Osbourne at the Red Rooster, in Harlem – May 2012

“Me come fi gi di crowd what dem come for.  The bigger the crowd, the more you have to give.  Ninety nine percent 99% of what I sing, I write.  ‘Truths & Rights ‘is one of my favorite songs, and favorite album.  I am honored fi know say them really come to the music like that… more time it marvel me, but the people say it’s still fresh” — Johnny Osbourne on the longevity of his music!

The Reggae legend Johnny Osbourne, backed by the Full Watts band was in fine form as he gave a solid performance at Ginny’s Supper Club at Red Rooster, in Harlem before a standing-room-only crowd and well worth more than the $10 cover charge. 


The event was billed as a birthday celebration for the owner, Andrew and hosted by Clive Chin, with DJ Fidel “Twice” Luna. Johnny performed all his big hits including ‘Yo Yo Baby’ ‘Rewind’ ‘We All Need Is Love’ ‘Pretty Blue Eyes’ ‘ No Ice Cream Love’ ‘ Come Back Darling’ ‘Buddy Bye.’ Osbourne also unleashed some classic Studio One songs like ‘Can’t Buy My Love’ from his ground-breaking album ‘Truths & Rights,’ which he told me was his favorite album.  He had the crowd was rocking all night and as I could hear shouts of ‘pull up’ and ‘wheel’ (which means starting the song from the top) several times throughout the show.


Johnny Osbourne has been singing professionally for more than 40 years.  His first single ‘All I Have Is Love’ was released in 1962.  His first album was released in May ’69.  Johnny writes all his songs.  He said he was ‘honored’ by the turnout and the fact that his music still resonates with his fans both old and new, he still ‘marvels.’  He said that the bigger the crowd, the more he has to ‘deliver’ what the crowd wants.  He said he is looking forward to working with the ‘Full Watts’ band in the future.  I found out that Johnny only met the band for a 2-hour rehearsal a few days prior to the show.  Kudos on a wonderful collaboration which was presented seamlessly. 


As I sauntered through the venue to get reactions from the crowd, I met fans who knew all the songs word for word and others who were just seeing Johnny for the first time. I told one audience member that Johnny can sing into the next day, his catalog is so vast. Johnny Osbourne’s voice has not lost any of the flavor and his sound is still stellar.  He can still hold the high notes.  He was really energized by the very positive reactions from the crowd.


After completing his set, Johnny stayed around to greet and take pictures with fans and friends. He seemed genuinely taken aback by the enthusiasm with which fans wanted to have a picture with him. Host, Clive Chin, and DJ Fidel ‘Twice’ Luna then went into full ‘Johnny Osbourne’ mode.  They played another 45 minutes of strictly Johnny Osbournc songs.  This is a testament to his incomparable talent and the quality of the work he puts out.


About the Author:
Michele ‘Di Riddim Queen’ Anderson was born in St. James, Jamaica and migrated to the United States at an early age.  She host internet radio show‘Di Riddim Palace’ E2 on Air and she host an internet radio show on Mature Radio, and King Barka Radio. Di Riddim Queen is a ‘music head’ who never lost sight of her roots, especially reggae music.  She enjoys sharing her music! She has a vast collection of music of all genres dating back to her childhood days.

As a presenter on various internet radio stations, she has interviewed government officials, musicians, producers and writers, to name a few.  She has scored exclusive interviews with musician Julian Marley, Chezidek, Anthony Cruz, Sister Nancy, Althea Hewitt, Hezron, Ras Myrdahk, Warrior King, Brave Heart, Admiral Tibet, Khalilah Rose, Lady G, Kali Blaxx and roots producer, Kemar ‘Flava’ MacGregor

About the author

Michele ‘Di Riddim Queen’ Anderson