Baldread and the Raggamuffin Crew
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Baldread and the Raggamuffin Crew

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"Although it incorporates elements of the Jamaican dancehall style,"

Review by Chuck Foster:
Although it incorporates elements of the Jamaican dancehall style, Baldread and the Ragga Muffin Crew, Inna Dancehall (Ringgold) is a hybrid of roots, dub poetry and California reggae with dancehall elements. The styles meet at the energy level as the singer and players offer a fulltilt live band feel on this set of all-original material that ropes in consciousness (“Teach De Youth,” “Where Mi Roots” and “Mother Africa”) with dancehall concerns, often in the same song (“Rise Up Raggamuffin”). There’s more singing than you might expect from the title (though Baldread has his own innovative “singjay” style) with some songs like “Crying,” a slow melodica reggae blues, “Running,” a loping ballad, and “On Bended Knees” reminiscent of the late Keith Hudson, and others offering a broader Caribbean feel. Recorded and mixed by Hopeton “Scientist” Brown. Whose relocation to California (this set was recorded at Track Records in Hollywood) has brought a fresh breath of air to the West Coast reggae scene. Standout cuts include “Talking Dubs” “Who de Mon” and “Confidon.” [ P.O. Box 1423, Pleasanton, CA 94566; www.baldread.com ]
- Beat Magazine


"Baldread and the Ragamuffin Crew have a pretty good idea of what they're doing"

Baldread and the Ragamuffin Crew - Inna Dancehall Recorded and mixed by The Scientist at Track Records, Hollywood, CA Produced by Scott Ringgold and Craig Ward Reviewer -Jason Meininger The hard thing about reggae music is that while everyone can identify it, not everyone can identify with it. To most people, reggae is a broadly applied, generic term for anything with a particular kind of rhythm, and most people don't have much clue about what it really is. Bob Marley seems to have become a universal constant whose Greatest Hits collection has so permeated society that a record cabinet looks bare without it. Those of a certain vintage have the taint of UB40 coloring their definition as well, but beyond that it seems like most people's knowledge of reggae fades, mentally filing it crassly under the keywords “Jamaica” and “ganja.” You're not going to get a history lesson here, though. Explaining reggae is like explaining jazz; there are as many subgenres under the umbrella of reggae as there are hyphenated say-nothing terms that categorize modern pop music. That said, Baldread and the Ragamuffin Crew have a pretty good idea of what they're doing when it comes to modern dancehall reggae on their latest release, Inna Dancehall. They have solid Jamaican grooves and positive messages as the anchors of their style, equally geared towards making you think and making you dance. Baldread's vocals are in the half-sung-half-rapped ragga style that isn't exactly monotone, but frequently focuses more on the rhythm of delivery than on tone or enunciation. The nine-member crew features four or sometimes five different percussionists, mixing with keyboards and guitar in a distinctly Jamaican way. The buoyant messages aren't just a stage act, either. Baldread (a.k.a. Mustapha Craig) is gaining a reputation for his efforts in schools and homeless family shelters in the Santa Clara county region, bringing the positive vibes to those who need it most. Even the upbeat songs on the album tend to be mellow in tempo, but the beats undoubtedly carry great power in a live setting. After all, it's dance music, it started in the dance halls (there's your history lesson) and it's meant to make you get up, get out, and move. (self-released) Contact: www.baldread.com - Reviewer: Performer magazine Reviewer -Jason Meininger


"Thanks for the excellent cd!"

“Baldread.” Ward is well known to Bay area reggae scenesters from his work with reggae/rock bands Reddi and Dub FX. He is blessed with a strong backing band that features experienced and versatile musicians, including Leonard Durham on bass, Alfonso Baskin on guitar, keyboardists Herbert Ruffin, Alex Aspect and Jawge Huges, percussionists Danny Molina, and Tom Bartolaro, Lou and Michael J. Neuberger on drums and guitar, respectively. The band effortlessly runs through mostly up-tempo reggae and dancehall rhythms. The 18-track disc is mixed by reggae legend Scientist and includes a dub mix and two remixes. The music is tight and polished without sounding mechanical or overproduced. The Raggamuffin Crew plays with precision, yet they have a kind of energy that gives the whole project a “live” feel. Lead singer Baldread has a strong command of Jamaican DJ vocal styles and he is quite a good singer as well. His melodic precision and rhythmic delivery makes him much more listenable than many DJs, who tend to be off-key. “Push Up,” “Jamaica Nice” and the title track are catchy, bouncy and danceable. The lyrics are socially conscious and positive on “Mother Africa,” “Where Mi Roots” and “Confidon,” which Baldread dedicates to “all the homeless people out there.” The crossover track “Lovely Sexy” sounds so much like Shaggy it could be the next Shaggy single. “Rise Up Raggamuffin” is a great chant over the classic “Greeting” rhythm, and “NyaB” combines dancehall with crucial percussion and hand drums. Baldread’s mostly fast-paced and staccato vocals are nicely enhanced by the lovely and sweet harmonies of Jenilee Reyes, Triniti and Nahisha Pettit. With a strong, lead vocalist, meaningful lyrics, a tight, energetic band and sweet female harmonies, this CD should bring even more deserved recognition to Baldread and the Raggamuffin Crew. — Tom Carroll

- Reviewer: Tom


"Baldread is dancehall, San Francisco style"

Jamaica reggae fans now have access to Baldread and the Raggamuffin Crew's sophomore album, Inna Dancehall.
The San Francisco band is probably one of the best known exponents of the phenomenal "ragga world beat" and is led by Craig Ward, also known as Baldread.

Ward has been a favourite of Bay area reggae fans from his stints with bands like Reddi and Dub FX. He has a very capable backing band supporting him with experienced musicians, including Leonard Durham on bass, Alfonso Baskin on guitar, keyboardists Ron Mckinley, Jawge Huges, percussionists Danny Molina, Ryan Wong and Tom Bartolaro, Lou Neuberger on drums and Michael J. Neuberger on guitar, Mustapha Craig lead vocals, Kennya Hunter back ground vocals

The band plays up-tempo and dancehall rhythms with much of the energy once thought unique to our musicians. In fact, Baldread is obviously quite familiar with Jamaican DJ styles, as well as being a versatile singer.

Incidentally, it was quite intriguing to read Performer Magazine's Jason Meininger's review of the CD which suggested that, "the hard thing about reggae music is that while everyone can identify it, not everyone can identify with it".

According to Meininger, "reggae is a broadly applied, generic term for anything with a particular kind of rhythm and most people don't have much clue about what it really is".
Baldread and his band may not be 100% reggae musicians, but they seem to have a deep love and faith in the music and, most of all, they seem to enjoy performing reggae songs.

Their music carries some effective cultural messages. Songs like Who De Mon?, Teach de Youth, Mother Africa, Jamaica Nice and Rise Up Raggamuffin are basically reggae, except for the accents and the genuinely Jamaican drum and bass.
Inna Dancehall is a lot of fun listening to, not to mention the distinctive message the lyrics leave imbedded in the mind.

The harmonies of Triniti, Nashisha and Jenilee add something special to the mix which should win a lot of respect for this improving reggae band.

- Balford Henry , Observer writer


Discography

NEW MUSIC,
Big up! From International recording sing jay, songwriter Mustapha Craig Ward, (AKA) Baldread, and his band called “The Raggamuffin Crew.” Thank you for supporting our latest CD titled, "Stand For Life". Featuring positive and uplifting messages, as well as humor and play on stereotypes. Baldread recorded this fast-rising CD at Awesome sound studio Hayward, Ca.

Baldread and the Raggamuffin Crew has music on sale now!
limited offer get the"Scientist release of the Baldread" and "Inna Dancehall" BOTH FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! when you buy the CD's from the www.baldread.com web site ONLY! You'll get Dance, Dub and Roots music mixed by the scientist Inna positive Ragga style,

OR pick up a copy at your favorite online store. Tower records.com, Amazon.Com, Sony Connect, Apple ITunes, MSNMusic, MusicMatch and more! At most of the download sites on line.

Check for our music on your local radio station
here is a small list of Baldread & The Raggamuffin Crew "Jamaica Nice" - Airplay Status Report (ASR)
Note, "radio station playlists change weekly"

KVTI
Tacoma, WA

WRHQ
Savanah, GA


WQPW
Valdosta, GA


KYFM
Bartlesville, OK

KDBX
Clear Lake, SD

WYKS
Gainesville, FL

WGER
Signaw, MI

WTGA
Thomaston, GA

WKIB
Cape Girardeau, MO

WBCG
Punta Gorda, FL

WJER-FM
Dover/Canton,OH

WJER-AM
Dover/Canton,OH

KZWY
Sheridan, WY

KUJZ
Eugene, OR

KDEL
Arkadelphia, AR

WOCO
Oncoto/Green Bay, WI

WCMT
Martin, TN

WTNE
Martin, TN

KIXR
Ponca City, OK

WMOA
Marietta, OH

WSNU
Lock Haven/Williamsport,PA

KEHK
Eugene, OR

WHIZ-FM
Zanesville/Columbus, OH

WHIZ
Zanesville/Columbus, OH

KLMJ
Hampton, IA

WWIS
Black River Falls, WI

KRAJ
Ridgecrest, CA

KEAO
Maui, HI

WBDL
Baraboo, WI

WJDF
Orange, MA

KIXY
San Angelo, TX

STATUS:
New Music Weekly (NMW) AC40 Chart

New Music Weekly (NMW) AC40 Stress Trax

New Music Weekly (NMW) Top100 Chart

New Music Weekly (NMW) AC40 Prime Mover

AC/Hot AC TOP 30 INDIE LABEL
Jamaica Nice (RingGold Records)

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Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Baldread and the Raggamuffin Crew? That’s right!
Bay area Reggae and World Beat singer, songwriter and producer Mustapha Craig Ward, (AKA Baldread), and his band called “The Raggamuffin Crew,” are climbing the A/C Top 40 Charts. Their music is being played in more than 17 different markets around the USA and in Twelve countries.
The group’s second CD titled, "Inna Dancehall" features 18 hot tracks of Ragga music featuring positive and uplifting messages of family, love and happiness! CD was recorded at Track studio in Hollywood, Ca., and mixed by the legendary “Scientist.”
The band is also working on a new CD titled “Kyanka” for release in 2005.
Baldread, who composes most of the band’s music, also provides lead and “toast” vocals. He chose his rather unusual stage name as a tongue-in-cheek twist on the genre’s traditional dreadlocks – he can usually be found sporting a clean-shaven head!
The Raggamuffin Crew is composed of well-seasoned musicians from all over the united states who now call the Bay area home and share in the positive vibes of reggae music.
In addition to being a talented musician, Baldread is also a community advocate, donating time to community programs and mentoring to “at-risk kids” through alternative school arts programs.
“Young people are looking for good adult role models,” said Baldread. “You can’t always see it, but its true, Art programs help promote leaning skills, poetry and song writing. If you can tap into that creative spirit, you keep their minds going in a positive direction and away from destructive or nonproductive activities.”
Baldread, whose name is Mustapha Craig, was raised in Kansas City, Mo, but moved to the West coast as a teenager to pursue new challenges. He joined the Bay area reggae group Red Di and became an instant hit with his high-energy performances, and a rough/tough lyrical style combined with a soft, mellow glide.
But behind he rough exterior is a heart of gold, and some of Mustapha biggest fans are the littlest fans. At community events and concerts, he invites children to climb onto the stage and perform with the band. He also established a musical program to help benefit children in alternative schools and children in homeless shelters in California's Santa Clara County.
“The words ‘Reggae music’ conjures up images of things positive and good,” said Baldread. “We embrace that with our musical style and the best part about it is, you don’t have to turn it off if little ears come in the room. Let them get up and dance with ya!”
Baldread and the Raggamuffin Crew is available for parties, concerts, festivals and club dates. To book Baldread, call:
(925) 462-1473
(925) 200-9050
Or write to the band at: P.O. Box 1423, Pleasanton, Ca., 94566
You can also send an e-mail to: baldread@baldread.com
Be sure to visit the group’s web site at www.Baldread.com