Ginger Roots fires up with reggae aristocracy
Long before the Rolling Stones played the Belly Up, internationally famous musicians started popping up at the Solana Beach music showcase in the early ’80s. One of the first was bassist Fully Fullwood, who had backed Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, and Israel Vibration. Fellow first-generation Jamaican reggae legend Santa Davis (also a Bob Marley alum) played drums at the Belly Up when Bob’s son Ziggy headlined his first tour at the Belly Up.
Ginger Roots & The Protectors, "Johnny B. Goode" @ the Belly Up, 2017
Fullwood and Davis, friends since the ’60s, will be joining three locals who are two generations younger for an all-ages free show Sunday at Cardiff State Beach.
“Someone told me about Fully’s ‘Sing with the Legends’ showcase [a battle-of-the-bands-type judged contest] he puts on at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach,” said 24-year-old singer Chase Brokaw last week. “It’s a fundraiser for Reggae for a Reason, which benefits homeless kids. I went up there when I was, like, 18. I won, which meant we got to record at Fully’s home studio in San Clemente.”
Brokaw had formed Ginger Roots, an acoustic trio that focused on roots reggae. It included his younger brother Spencer on percussion/backup vocals, and guitarist/backup vocalist Albert Hurtado. “Our first show was at Solterra in Leucadia in 2014,” says Hurtado. “We didn’t have a name until someone wrote we should call ourselves ‘Ginger Roots’ on a five-dollar bill he gave us as a tip. I think its because of Chase’s red dreadlocks.”
The recording sessions at Fully’s studio led to a 2015 Ginger Roots album and to Santa and Fully playing with the Ginger Roots.
“We’ve done, like, 20 shows so far with Fully and Santa,” says Hurtado. “We’ve played at the Belly Up and Observatory. Our biggest show was opening for Ziggy at the [Del Mar] Fairgrounds before 12,000.”
Brokaw says he has become good friends with his bandmates who have 40-plus years on him. “It’s basically about the fact that they still love to play the music they created. They created reggae. I think they see that we appreciate that.”
- Saturday, February 24, 2018, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
San Elijo State Beach,
2050 South Coast Highway 101,
Even though last Monday’s Boom Shaka show at the Sports Arena was headlined by California reggae bands, “We try and steer away from that,” says Hurtado. “We try to stick with traditional Jamaican reggae. We want to stay true to the tradition. It’s almost like two completely different genres with completely different values and morals.”
“A lot of these [Cali reggae] bands are calling themselves ‘roots,’” says Brokaw. “Maybe it would be a good idea to learn who these original roots guys were.”
Ginger Roots appears February 25th at Camp Shred after the Devastators at San Elijo State Beach. It’s free admission and all ages.