In the world of reggae music, Freddie McGregor is known as "Mr. Big Ship." The name of one of his many albums, as well as his label and Kingston-area recording studio, Big Ship fits McGregor's reputation as a world-traveling ambassador of reggae's positive vibrations. Active in the Jamaican music scene since the early 1960s, Freddie started as a kid too short to reach the microphone, gradually molding his Rasta roots into ultrasmooth, romantic lover's rock. By now, Freddie is one of reggae's most enduring living icons. A family man (six kids!) with a part-time home in Hollywood -- a city whose mayor, Mara Giulianti, even named a day in his honor -- McGregor is known locally for his good works as well as his good music. Dr. Robert Hochstein of Fort Lauderdale's County Line Chiropractic Center treated the singer for a shoulder injury a few years ago. McGregor was so pleased with his recovery that he referred friends to the clinic -- and did a series of radio ads and billboards bearing his beaming likeness. Last year, County Line donated a new Honda Civic that was raffled off to raise funds for the Haile Selassie Comprehensive High School in Kingston, a neglected institution McGregor decided to help out. Living out the example set in one of his early songs, "Do Good and Good Will Follow You," McGregor is still famous for his philanthropic deeds -- like the Freddie McGregor Children's Fund. His last album, 2002's Grammy-nominated Anything for You, contains the most affecting love songs to date from the perennial golden-voiced ladies' man. Like they say, big ship, big heart.
In the world of reggae music, Freddie McGregor is known as "Mr. Big Ship." The name of one of his many albums, as well as his label and Kingston-area recording studio, Big Ship fits McGregor's reputation as a world-traveling ambassador of reggae's positive vibrations. Active in the Jamaican music scene since the early 1960s, Freddie started as a kid too short to reach the microphone, gradually molding his Rasta roots into ultrasmooth, romantic lover's rock. By now, Freddie is one of reggae's most enduring living icons. A family man (six kids!) with a part-time home in Hollywood -- a city whose mayor, Mara Giulianti, even named a day in his honor -- McGregor is known locally for his good works as well as his good music. Dr. Robert Hochstein of Fort Lauderdale's County Line Chiropractic Center treated the singer for a shoulder injury a few years ago. McGregor was so pleased with his recovery that he referred friends to the clinic -- and did a series of radio ads and billboards bearing his beaming likeness. Last year, County Line donated a new Honda Civic that was raffled off to raise funds for the Haile Selassie Comprehensive High School in Kingston, a neglected institution McGregor decided to help out. Living out the example set in one of his early songs, "Do Good and Good Will Follow You," McGregor is still famous for his philanthropic deeds -- like the Freddie McGregor Children's Fund. His last album, 2002's Grammy-nominated Anything for You, contains the most affecting love songs to date from the perennial golden-voiced ladies' man. Like they say, big ship, big heart.
Trouble was, with the power out, we couldn't see a damn thing. So we rested against the burnished-brown walls of the mine shaft, our helmets protecting us from the sharp shards of nougat falling from above. By the time we were rescued -- specks of caramel still clinging to our coveralls -- none of the crew wanted to see a Milky Way, Three Musketeers, or Snickers bar ever again. It took several minutes for our eyes to adjust to the harsh sunlight. Though safe again on the surface, we all knew it would be only a matter of time before we plunged the depths of the nougat mine again, emerging from the dark, creamy shaft with carts filled with chunks of the chocolatey goodness we extracted from the swirly veins of nougat beneath the earth.
Trouble was, with the power out, we couldn't see a damn thing. So we rested against the burnished-brown walls of the mine shaft, our helmets protecting us from the sharp shards of nougat falling from above. By the time we were rescued -- specks of caramel still clinging to our coveralls -- none of the crew wanted to see a Milky Way, Three Musketeers, or Snickers bar ever again. It took several minutes for our eyes to adjust to the harsh sunlight. Though safe again on the surface, we all knew it would be only a matter of time before we plunged the depths of the nougat mine again, emerging from the dark, creamy shaft with carts filled with chunks of the chocolatey goodness we extracted from the swirly veins of nougat beneath the earth.

Best Band to Break Up or Leave Town in the Past 12 Months

Baby Robots

It's only fitting that we'd have tons of tears to shed for the group we named Best Rock Band only this time last year. Suppose it was expecting too much for Bobby Baker's beloved Boca-based Baby Robots (say that five times fast) to hang around much longer. After all, as Bobby would say, this is the place where "you stick to yourself twice a day." The 'Bots went through several permutations since their 1997 inception, beginning with acoustic guitars and pretty female vocals, ending up as a terrifying psychedelic combo along the lines of Medicine or Bardo Pond. Baker always claimed a frontman without an instrument was a waste, and it's true, he wasn't much of a singer. But his Black Sabbath-cum-Spaceman 3 guitar work always sprawled, stretched, and screamed into the right shadows. At New Times' Best Of concert last December, the Baby Robots trafficked in richly sensual swirls of feedback, contorted melodies, and songs that careened around the room for upward of 15 minutes before resting. With girlfriend and fellow guitarist Tamara Engle, Baker (who could also be found playing guitar with Cactus Eye Relief, Mr. Entertainment and the Pookie Smackers, Game 4, and Wolfboy and the Fantods) split for Austin, Texas, around the first of this year. He'll rebuild the Robots there, so Boca's loss is Austin's gain. As if they need it.

Best Band to Break Up or Leave Town in the Past 12 Months

Baby Robots

It's only fitting that we'd have tons of tears to shed for the group we named Best Rock Band only this time last year. Suppose it was expecting too much for Bobby Baker's beloved Boca-based Baby Robots (say that five times fast) to hang around much longer. After all, as Bobby would say, this is the place where "you stick to yourself twice a day." The 'Bots went through several permutations since their 1997 inception, beginning with acoustic guitars and pretty female vocals, ending up as a terrifying psychedelic combo along the lines of Medicine or Bardo Pond. Baker always claimed a frontman without an instrument was a waste, and it's true, he wasn't much of a singer. But his Black Sabbath-cum-Spaceman 3 guitar work always sprawled, stretched, and screamed into the right shadows. At New Times' Best Of concert last December, the Baby Robots trafficked in richly sensual swirls of feedback, contorted melodies, and songs that careened around the room for upward of 15 minutes before resting. With girlfriend and fellow guitarist Tamara Engle, Baker (who could also be found playing guitar with Cactus Eye Relief, Mr. Entertainment and the Pookie Smackers, Game 4, and Wolfboy and the Fantods) split for Austin, Texas, around the first of this year. He'll rebuild the Robots there, so Boca's loss is Austin's gain. As if they need it.
After disbanding Iris, Seth Brody (five-foot-six), that cute, curly-haired little Jewish kid with the huge record collection hooked up with Jimmy Allen (six-foot-five), a fan of "the original phase-shifter, Karl-heinz Stockhausen." The result: fivesixsixfive, Fort Lauderdale's computer-bohemian, cut-and-paste, electro-indie-pop stars. Clever marketing strategies, including saturating the area with bumper stickers and lighters and passing out a promo photo of the pair as Styrofoam silhouettes, fivesixsixfive hit the scene running. Half of the 12 tracks on the band's self-titled debut sound like half-baked experiments revolving around synths, samplers, and drum machines; but the quirky pop songs that make up the rest make it the best local release all year. Marrying hip-hop beats to acoustic guitars and even glockenspiels, xylophone, and timpani, the album's should-be single, "Freeform," sports an innate catchiness thanks to playful boy-girl breathy vocals. The band's sole live performance turned into a charmingly chaotic blend of dinner theater, live jamming, and karaoke. Unfortunately, with Brody planning to follow his career track in stage design all the way to New York City, the future of fivesixsixfive, sadly, may stay short.
After disbanding Iris, Seth Brody (five-foot-six), that cute, curly-haired little Jewish kid with the huge record collection hooked up with Jimmy Allen (six-foot-five), a fan of "the original phase-shifter, Karl-heinz Stockhausen." The result: fivesixsixfive, Fort Lauderdale's computer-bohemian, cut-and-paste, electro-indie-pop stars. Clever marketing strategies, including saturating the area with bumper stickers and lighters and passing out a promo photo of the pair as Styrofoam silhouettes, fivesixsixfive hit the scene running. Half of the 12 tracks on the band's self-titled debut sound like half-baked experiments revolving around synths, samplers, and drum machines; but the quirky pop songs that make up the rest make it the best local release all year. Marrying hip-hop beats to acoustic guitars and even glockenspiels, xylophone, and timpani, the album's should-be single, "Freeform," sports an innate catchiness thanks to playful boy-girl breathy vocals. The band's sole live performance turned into a charmingly chaotic blend of dinner theater, live jamming, and karaoke. Unfortunately, with Brody planning to follow his career track in stage design all the way to New York City, the future of fivesixsixfive, sadly, may stay short.
Surfing a wave of positive press heralding Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as album of the year, Wilco made its South Florida debut during a fortuitous moment in its history. At this sold-out performance -- the same week the band's documentary film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart opened in area movie theaters -- a very ripped Wilco flexed strong creative muscles. Mid-concert, sensing the 750 seated souls had melted into their seats, leader Jeff Tweedy invited the crowd to its feet, announcing, "You guys can stand up, you know -- this isn't the Wilco movie!" With the gap between audience and performer bridged for good, Tweedy and company rode the songs from Summerteeth, Being There, and YHF atop monstrous, "A Day in the Life"-styled crescendos amid a sound mix so pristine that instruments could be heard bouncing from speaker to speaker in stereophonic acrobatics. Talk about catching a band at the top of its game -- this night, Wilco blasted 'em out of the park with every pitch.
Surfing a wave of positive press heralding Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as album of the year, Wilco made its South Florida debut during a fortuitous moment in its history. At this sold-out performance -- the same week the band's documentary film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart opened in area movie theaters -- a very ripped Wilco flexed strong creative muscles. Mid-concert, sensing the 750 seated souls had melted into their seats, leader Jeff Tweedy invited the crowd to its feet, announcing, "You guys can stand up, you know -- this isn't the Wilco movie!" With the gap between audience and performer bridged for good, Tweedy and company rode the songs from Summerteeth, Being There, and YHF atop monstrous, "A Day in the Life"-styled crescendos amid a sound mix so pristine that instruments could be heard bouncing from speaker to speaker in stereophonic acrobatics. Talk about catching a band at the top of its game -- this night, Wilco blasted 'em out of the park with every pitch.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of