Classic R&B Hit ‘Mama Used to Say’ Returns to Its Reggae Roots

In a recent interview, Junior confessed that when he first wrote “Mama Used to Say,” it was intended as reggae.


Grammy winner Junior Giscombe - 'Mama Used To Say,' singer and songwriter. Photo courtesy Junior Giscombe

Grammy winner Junior Giscombe – ‘Mama Used To Say,’ singer and songwriter.            Photo courtesy Junior Giscombe

The name Norman Washington “Junior” Giscombe might not seem immediately familiar, until you shorten it to the mononym Junior. It’s at that point that thoughts of his 1982 international smash, “Mama Used to Say” come to mind.

In a recent interview, Junior confessed that when he first wrote “Mama Used to Say,” it was intended as reggae. Unfortunately, reggae wasn’t as popular back then as it is now, so he re-did it in R&B. The result was a Top 5 R&B hit and Top 30 pop hit the United States. It also hit the Top 10 in the UK and charted in several other countries including South Africa, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and France.

Recently, the award-winning English singer and songwriter, has decided to return the song to its Caribbean roots with a new lovers rock version. The new recording features Rasta Messenger Luciano and eight-time Grammy Award winner Stephen Marley. It is produced by Christopher Meredith.

The child of Jamaican immigrants, Junior has always felt a strong connection to the Caribbean island. As a child, his parents would take him to visit relatives in Kingston. For many years, Junior has maintained a home in Jamaica, which he visits quite often.

Reggae Grammy nominee Luciano at the DubClub in LA - Photo by Love Zone

Luciano at the DubClub in LA Reggae on June 7, 2017 – Photo by Love Zone

Listening to the new version of “Mama Used to Say” one is immediately struck by the soothing combination sounds of Luciano and Junior. Both voices resonate and complement each other, which definitely give the tune a fresh and different spin. The reggae mix is hot, upbeat and designed to keep you skanking (dancing) as the energetic reggae Grammy nominee croons to the familiar track.

The “Mama Used to Say” reggae single is now available for download on most major digital platforms.
Currently, Junior is working on the official video for the single. Expect this video to drop very soon.

In the coming months, it would not be surprising to see this outstanding new version of the popular and timeless “Mama Used to Say” garner more momentum and attract a wider reggae audience.

Summer is the time when reggae music festivals, concerts and events are in high gear all around the world.  Maybe you will get an opportunity to see both artists in action on a concert stage near you.

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