New Brunswick, NJ - based Stubborn Records has been celebrating its 20th Anniversary year with a series of new releases and concerts, bringing New York’s longest-running ska, rocksteady and reggae party, “Version City” to NJ for the first time. The eclectic and festive party will hit the Crossroads in Garwood on Thursday, August 30th for founder King Django’s Birthday Bash. Partygoers will enjoy live music all night with old-school rhythm’n’blues, Jamaica ska, rocksteady and reggae from King Django Band, a solo acoustic set by Obi Fernandez (of hard-touring ska band “Westbound Train”), country-swing-ragtime-rhythm’n’blues from Bad Luck Dice , the “rocksteady and roll” sounds of Pennsylvania’s The Snails, the Brooklyn rocksteady/reggae of The Frighteners and the New York Cumbia-Reggae-Hardcore sounds of Radio Armada.
Stubborn Records was founded in New York City in 1992 by international touring artist King Django and defined the sound of East Coast ska, rocksteady and reggae in the 1990's. Django has made his name as a producer, engineer, bandleader, singer, songwriter, arranger, and instrumentalist, having worked with such bands as Rancid, The Slackers, Murphy’s Law, The Toasters and as leader of Stubborn All-Stars and Skinnerbox. Since re-locating the label office and its Version City Studio to New Brunswick in 2000, Django has continued supporting local and international artists with CD and vinyl releases and consistently promoting concerts in the New York/New Jersey area.
In honor of the anniversary, the label’s latest full-length release, Victor Rice’s “Dub Discoveries From Version City,” CD features 13 new dub mixes (Jamaican-style psychedelic remixes) of a selection of favorites from the Stubborn Records/Version City Studio archives. Two new vinyl seven-inch singles (remember 45s?) have also been released in cooperation with Tokyo record label “Ska In The World.” King Django’s “Anywhere I Roam” (backed by Brooklyn rocksteady outfit The Forthrights) is an infectious romp in a 1960s toasting style reminiscent of UK reggae hero Judge Dread and is backed with a lively ska/early-reggae version of The Clash’s “Career Opportunities” while the second 45 features two previously unreleased tracks by the late UK/Jamaica Punk-Dancehall legend Ari Up. These three releases are available through the label’s website at www.stubbornrecords.com, while the Victor Rice album and the rest of the Stubborn catalog are available in digital formats though iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and most other download and streaming services.
May 12 saw a packed crowd at prestigious Brooklyn venue The Knitting Factory for the Stubborn Records 20th Anniversary Party. The King Django Band will appear at The Old Bay in New Brunswick for the first time on Saturday, Aug. 25. Version City Party makes its official debut at The Crossroads in Garwood on August 30th and floats to Roxy and Duke’s in Dunellen on Saturday, Nov. 17 featuring the King Django Band, Hub City Stompers and Predator Dub Assassins.