Johnny Osbourne & The Full Watts Band Live

I saw a posting for an interesting event happening in Brooklyn and I chatted up the host a friend – Brett Tubin – of the Channel Tubes label. He sent me some background of the band performing that night plus stuff from their recent gig backing Johnny Osbourne which I’ve posted below.

(Editor’s note: only slight changes were made to flesh out the story)


This is the band that musicians go to see. It’s not about money, its about the love of the music…hearing it played oh so right.

The Full Watts (Rocksteady Review) Band is an all star cast of seasoned New York reggae musicians put together by Eddie Ocampo and myself. We have been putting on free reggae showcases every couple of months at our favorite Cajun/ pizza hangout in Brooklyn. Parties have been getting bigger every time. The crowd is usually made up of our musical peers, a pretty much who’s who of the local ska and reggae scene including artists and producers like Ticklah, Carter Van Pelt, Clive Chin, Slackers, Bluebeats, Skatalites, etc but it’s been growing everytime. They even take the tables away so more people can dance.

It would take waaaay too long to list the bands that the musicians are from. The majority of the band came from The Jammyland All-Stars who were a NYC backing band based around the famous Jammyland record shop. We regularly backed Glen Adams, Susan Cadogan, Milton Henry, Sammy Dread, Ari-Up, Ranking Joe, Sister Nancy, etc.

In the tradition of Jamaican vocal groups Full Watts has 3 vocalists who are great by themselves… but the magic is how they blend together. Most shows are carried by the 3… but we also tend to have many special guests…. Milton Henry, Uzimon, etc.

Johnny Osbourne Brooklyn GigWe just did a last minute gig with Johnny Osbourne a few weeks ago where we did about an hour and half with Johnny.. Truly a high point for the band and myself especially.

Check out this great review of the gig from Boomshots that included this sweet quote:

“Johnny leveraged Full Watts’ tight execution and lush harmonies and rode the riddims with a veteran’s authority, skatting with an intensity that demonstrated his total embrace of the moment. He predictably stop-started the band at every bawl of ‘forward’ from the crowd, which may have been for every single song. Such is the level of recognition among Osbourne’s many fans who had ventured out for the performance. The audience pumped up Johnny Osbourne, and Johnny Osbourne responded. It was a loving serenade and revealed again the essence of the artist-audience rapport that defines Jamaican popular music.”

Take a minute to watch the following videos to get an idea of how cool the shows must be.

Johnny Osbourne – We Need Love

Johnny Osbourne – Jah Promise

Johnny Osbourne – Fally Ranking

Some footage with Special Guests Uzimon and Milton Henry.

The band includes the following musicians (with others sure to join in the fun every now and then):

Drums – Eddie Ocampo
Bass – Steve Capecci
Riddim Guitar – Brett Tubin
Lead Guitar – Justin Rothberg
Keys – Gideon Blumenthal
Vocals/Melodica/Sax: Tim Schletter
Vocals/Percussion: Tavo Arawak
Vocals/Percussion: Mani Arawak

If you’re in the Brooklyn area this weekend catch em live at Two Boots (514 2nd St, Brooklyn, NY 11215) on Saturday June 23.

They will be doing 2 sets, around 3 hours, of wicked tunes from the cream of the crop including the Techniques, Joe Higgs, Heptones, Melodians, Gladiators, Johnny Osbourne, Cornell Campbell, Carlton and the Shoes, Alton Ellis, Tommy McCook, Jophn Holt, and MANY, MANY more classic favorites.

Connect with The Full Watts Band on Facebook.

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.