The Star (Jamaica)

Ashaka launches debut album ‘Call Me’


For many years, Linval ‘Ashaka’ Thomas carried the concept of a different form of reggae around, but never had the time to record those thoughts.

Earlier this year, the singer finally made it a reality with the completion of Call Me, his debut album. It will be launched on June 16 at Redbones Blues Cafe in Kingston.

“For years, I listened in my head to the kind of reggae music I wanted to produce. It would be distinctly reggae, recorded in analogue for that ‘warm’ rhythm section and capped with unrestrain­ed new-age reggae grooves on top of it,” said Thomas. “How it came together would be the challenge and it took me four-plus decades to bring this dream to fruition.”

Call Me has 11 songs including Reggae Jamaica; The Ganja Salute, I-Shence and a cover of the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. Each has the live feel Thomas was weaned on as a youth.

“I have always had a built-in bias for live instrument­s. In context, my teeth was cut on the rocksteady music of the 1960s that later evolved into reggae,” he explained. “I love the warm and sometimes undiscipli­ned nature of live instrument­s. With live instrument­s, what you hear is what you get.”


Veteran guitarist Winston ‘Bo Pee’ Bowen is among the musicians who played on Call Me which was recorded at Tuff Gong and Harry J studios in Kingston.

Keyboardis­t Paul ‘Wrong Move’ Crossdale of Firehouse also contribute­d to the production.

Thomas, who is from Fletchers Land in West Kingston, recorded one song, Bachelor Boy, for producer Prince Buster in the late 1960s.

He migrated to the United States in 1971 and served over 20 years in the US Air Force.

Since his retirement as a staff sergeant in 1993, he has recorded and performed regularly in his hometown of Belleville, Illinois.

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