Have a Boss time

Dennis Alcapone, headlining the Boss Sounds Festival 2011
Dennis Alcapone, headlining the Boss Sounds Festival 2011
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THE line-up has been announced for one of the UK’s greatest reggae and ska festivals.

 Boss Sounds returns to the North East on October 29, when Madness greats Lee Thompson and Mark Bedford will join a host of Jamaica’s finest musical exports.

 Topping the bill at the Northumbria University event, which has been trimmed to one day, is one of reggae’s originators, Dennis Alcapone.

 He was one of the first artists to “toast” or rap over songs, and a major influence on the U.S. hip-hop scene, which copied his trademark style of talking over records.

 He cut seminal versions of songs such as Cherry Oh Baby – later popularised by UB40 among many others.

 Those who were there will remember his show-stealing set at the 2009 Boss Sounds Festival, when he took to the stage resplendent in white suit and red bowler hat.

 Alcapone will be joined onstage by Winston Reedy, former singer with the UK’s first reggae band, The Cimarons.

 Also on the bill is one of the biggest female names in reggae, Dawn Penn, who is making her Boss Sounds debut.

 She’s best-known for her 1992 No3 hit You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No), which made it big 25 years after it was originally recorded with the legendary Coxsone Dodd at Studio One.

 Nutty boys Lee and Mark from Madness will be playing with The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra, which has become one of the UK’s hottest ska outfits.

 It will be the first time the 12-piece, who play versions of original Jamaican ska songs, have played in the North East, and their performance will be eagerly-awaited.

 Featuring a full horn section, they have been favourably likened to The Skatalites, who headlined the first Boss Sounds Festival in 2005.

 Also on the bill are Owen Grey, one of the few original ska artists still performing live, and Winston Francis, who started his career back in the 1960s, with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer as backing singers.

l Tickets, priced £17.50, are on sale from outlets around Newcastle, or 227 4757.