For Fox Sake!
Producer and singer Paul Fox will be appearing live on the main stage at this year’s Wilkswood Roots Reggae.
Paul is based in the UK and has been creating roots, reggae and dub since the early 80s, influenced by sounds like Jah Shaka, Manasseh, Good Times (Joey Jay and Robert Tribulation), Jah Observer and Aba Shanti. He loved the music and the vibes so much that he began making music at home on a four track. After a while he was introduced to Nick Manasseh and recorded a 12″ at his studio in Brixton in 1992. The release was called ‘Writing on the Wall’ with ‘African Mask’ on the B-side. Both tunes were well received on the sound systems and then he began to work with Robert Tribulation. They formed the Word, Sound and Power label and released a number of singles and albums including two albums with Rod Taylor. Robert Tribulation started playing the sound system Good Times (which became Word, Sound and Power) and they appeared all over the UK and also Amsterdam, Athens, Nice and other places doing PAs and dub sessions.
Paul was also creating music with Julian Ryan, a friend and musician, who introduced him to Jonah Dan in the mid nineties. Jonah had a small studio in West London and the three of them would make roots and dub reggae every week. After creating music together for a couple of years they put out their first 12″ which was called War and Peace. This was followed by a dub album and they decided on the name Shades of Black for the three of them. After some time, Julian went his own way and so Jonah and Paul carried on under the name, Shades of Black. They released a popular 12″ (Friend or Enemy/ Fight for the Right) and also an album called Sounds of Time in 2002. Paul set up his own studio around this time and began to work with a guitarist called Stuart Webb. Together they worked on some tunes that Jonah also played bongos on. Paul recorded some vocals and so did Jonah and Jimmy Ranks. These sessions formed the next couple of releases which were two 12″s called Hard Times/ Over I and Light Years/ This is not the end. They still used the name Shades of Black and decided that as long as Jonah and Paul were involved in the music, any additional musicians they used (which are always friends of theirs) would be part of the group as well.
Paul had the privilege of being introduced to Michael Rose by his friend, The Outsider. Michael Rose came to Paul’s studio and recorded a number of tunes which resulted in the release of Ceasefire (on 10″), Babylon Kingdom Fall (on 12″) , an album called ‘Great Expectations’ and a dub version of the album called ‘Dub expectations’. This was a great experience for Paul since he is a big fan of Michael Rose.
In 2008 Paul started touring as a singer with Alpha and Omega and together they have done shows in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Belgium and the Czeck Republic. The line up included Jonah Dan and Dan I as well as Christine, founding member of Alpha and Omega. They released an album with this line up called ‘Songs from the Holy Mountain’.
In 2009 Paul released an album called ‘Walls of Jericho’ and then in 2010 the title track appeared on a 12″ released by Dan I which included cuts of the same riddim by Dan I and Jonah Dan.
Paul has been working with producer Fullness and together they have two releases on his Karnatone Label. These are called ‘First Light’ and ‘Be Careful’. They have also done some live shows with his band Dubheart. Paul also has done some work with some other great producers including Unlisted Fanatic from Belgium which resulted in a 12″ called ‘Money World’ and also Rebelsteppa from Russia which resulted in a 7″ called ‘Wise Up’.
Live shows have been continuing over the last few years and Paul has released another new album called ‘Hold Tight’. In 2014 Paul released a new album called ‘Break Free’ and it is actually a Shades of Black release. It contains vocal contributions from himself, Michael Rose, Jimmy Ranks, Jahman Dan and Saimn-I. In 2015 Paul appeared on several releases by other labels including Jah Roots Hi-Fi Records, Partial Records and Tribe 84 Records.
In the summer of 2015 Brother Culture proposed an idea to Paul that he had been thinking about for several years which was that they should record an album together. Paul was more than happy to do such a project and they went into the studio soon after to lay down the very basic ideas of the songs that appear on this album. Over the next few months Paul contacted Fullness to record the drums on a number of the tracks as well as Ben Goddard who recorded guitars for several tracks and Jahman Dan who recorded bongos for some of the tunes. Brother Culture returned to the studio again to finalise some backing vocals and the album came about through a genuinely heartical connection!
In 2016 Paul performed several shows in Europe and Sir Runnin’ Records released a track called Survivor on 7″ featuring Paul and Saimn-I. 2017 saw the release of Truly Unique on 7″ featuring El Indio and Paul and also Conspiracy 12”, a new Shades of Black release with Jonah Dan. Paul also performed some live shows with Brother Culture and Dubheart including the Wilkswood Reggae Festival. 2018 has started with the release of Try on 12” featuring Paul and Singer Tempa with Full Belly, Empty Heart on the other side.