Kingsway & the Inspecta

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About Big John

Big John & Toots Hibbert, 2013

Around 1980 John started to collect Reggae music through the inspiration of his dear mother, because she played a lot of Soul, Calypso, Rhythm n lues and some Reggae music at home. At a technical school he met some Rastafarians who shared the same class (and where even scorned because of their dreadlocks by nuff teachers). They invited him to attend Gatherings and reasonings and guided him on his journey through the teachings of RastafarI. They told him these teachings were not theirs but from Higher Forces that inspired them to live within consciousness according to the law of Nature and Jah RastafarI.

In those days he was also introduced to the sound system culture in Amsterdam, at venues like Blacka Rutu (at Leidseplein), Zion Hut (at looiersgracht) and clubs like de Stip and de Kroeg (both at Lijnbaansgracht). Then he started to select music alongside Sister nancy, who sold Reggae in the first Reggae Music Shop inna Amsterdam called TeleReggae (at Kinkerstraat) and had stright links with Jamaica and who was also responsible for the DubClub parties held in Paradiso with TeleReggae Sound System featuring Zebulon as selector.

Back then a lot of brothers started to build their own sound systems like Youthman Promotion owned by Wakko and Kenneth, Shashamane Sound owned by Daddy Horace and Jah Levi with Supadan (now Supa Ranking) as MC. Also Kees Kunta Kinte (one of the first to play Reggae on the radio in Holland) and Papa Lody set the trend in Amsterdam for Reggae music. Later in the eighties the Inspecta and Junior Red alongside Ranking Simeon as MC set up Echosonic Hi-Powa. Early dutch reggae bands were bands like Bloodclath, Bosrah and Unity.

John's ultimate sound system experience was in a club called "90 on the Scale of Richter" when the mighty king of sounds Sir Lloyd Coxsone from the UK played and blasted the place with thunderous bass.
In 1985 John went through a lot of tribulation, being an only child and still in his teens, when he lost his mother. She left him some money and John decided to go to Jamaica to rest his weary head and look for inner strength to overcome this sad loss. He was welcomed by the Rastafarian brothers and sisters who helped him to uplift his consciousness to higher grounds. He stayed in downtown Kingston at Chancery Lane at the Vineyard near the African Museum and Techniques recordshops and with Randy's recordshop just around the corner.
With those shops being hotspots of nuff Reggae artists he got in contact with a lot of them, like Big Youth, Rod Taylor, Bernard "Satta" Collins, the Viceroys, the Tamlins, Gregory Isaacs and many more, but Winston Jarrett became special to John. He took John through the ghettos of Kingston and got him a lot of records that were sold by sound system owners, old electrical shops and the artists themselves. That's how he met Michael Prophet, George Faith and Brent Dowe (the Melodians). After a while John left town and went to country to stay in May Penn and there he got in touch with some RastafarI elders of the Nyabhingi order. They took him to his first Nyabhingi celebration at Portland Cottage which was a true experience of love and harmony amongst people of all nations and creed. After spending almost four months in Jamaica it was now 1986 and time to go back to Amsterdam, charged with good energy to overcome nuff bounderies.

When he got back he started to select for various (pirate) radio stations like Radio Disco Action, Satelite Radio to name a few. In 1987 he met the Inspecta at a Shashamane dance at de Kroeg in Amsterdam, and in 1988 he joined Echosonic Hi-Powa, run by Junior Red (later known as Major Red, now V-Tone).

Big John selecting at Crea in the good
ole times of 1988, when dances where
nice & peaceful in amsterdam.
In the late eighties there were quite some Reggae-radio shows in the Netherlands, like Ras Simeon together with Issachar, Guidance Sounds with Joshua and Bart, and offcourse the famous Mikey Dread with " Rockers in the Morning" on the national radiostation VPRO. This show was the first official Reggae radioshow in the Netherlands.

In 1990 John was asked by the Inspecta to help him out on his radioshow " Riddim on the Wire" because Jah Marcus (Marc Walboomers, later owner of major distributor and label Walboomers) had left the show. In 1992 John alongside Major Red (V-Tone) joined the show full time.

Before that time, in 1988 Major Red, the Inspecta, Ras Simeon and Big John had already joined forces at Echosonic Hi-Powa and together they mashed up the radiowaves and dance halls alongside killimanjaro (Paradiso), Lloyd Coxsone (Drum Rhythm Festival) and nuff other sound systems.

In 2006 the Inspecta left the " Riddim on the Wire", but John continued and asked the Riddim Shower Crew to come and join him. After a few years the relationship with Groove FM turned sour and John decided it was time to leave and seek for better opportunities.

In 2010 the Inspecta resurrected Riddim on the Wire via Echo Roots (aka Wout-R) who had founded the internet radiostation There the Inspecta did seven shows until the station folded.

Now in 2012 a good opportunity presented itself. V-Tone (Major Red) had started his show "Crisp Musical Biscuits" on the Reggae Music Network and had let us know there was a good time-slot available there. Big John and the Inspecta decided to jump to the opportunity and started Riddim on the Wire again on friday december 14th. 2012 (listen here). At first every friday live between 17:00 and 19:00h, since august 23rd. 2013 between 19:00 and 21:00 h. CET (1-3PM EST).

On january 8th. 2016 Riddim on the Wire celebrated it's 25 Years Anniversary with a special SIX hour show featuring many special guests (listen the show here). This was also the goodbye of Big John and his last show as a regular member of Riddim on the Wire.

Riddim on the Wire wants to thank Big John for many years of sharing his relentless energy, great vibes, special connections, fantastic music, unique knowledge of the music and the world and love.


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