Max Romeo’s Last Hurrah
Forty-two years after his entry into the musical arena, reggae pioneer Max Romeo, is ready to hang up the gloves. In a recent interview with the Gleaner, the singer indicated that he is in the closing stage of a rich and colorful musical career.
By Basil Walters | Observer Staff Reporter
There won’t be a 44th album by Max Romeo. He is currently working on his 43rd and, he says, final, at the Charmax Studio in Palm, Treadways, St Catherine. In addition, when he heads to Europe next April, the approximately 28-day tour will be his final extensive trek.
“I will be 65 on November 22. I am slowing down before my body tells me to,” he said. “I feel like 16, I run and skip like I am 16.
“I will be just producing and I won’t be doing any heavy-duty tours.”
That last album is Max Romeo: The Last Hurrah and includes a cover of Imagine and his original My Woman among its 12 tracks.
He has been working on the closing album for about a year and a half (“I want the final one to be just right”) and hopes to release it in April to coincide with the tour. He returned from a European trek about a month ago and will be heading out again in early December for festivals in France, Poland and the Czech Republic – all familiar territory. “Europe is into roots reggae on a major scale,” he said.
The last show is slated for the O2 Arena, London, the city in which he first performed on his first overseas outing, the Wet Dream Tour in 1969.
Wouldn’t Change A Thing
Looking back at more than 40 years of recording and performing, Max Romeo said, “If I should do it over I would not change a thin.” He names War Inna Babylon, done with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, as his best album. The tour that stands out for him is a 1999 trip to Brazil with Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs. “That’s the last tour Dennis Brown did and I happened to be part of it,” he said. “That was a very interesting tour.”
Dennis Brown died shortly after returning to Jamaica.
Still, Max Romeo is not pleased with the lack of recognition in Jamaica, although he says he has been recognised by Europeans. “I have never been awarded and commended. I feel I could be treated better by the (local) industry,” Max Romeo said.