Don Hartley @ The Klondike 2016

My story reads like that of the paralytic near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem by the pool of Bethesda, recorded in the Gospel of John (5:2-9). It's the story of a man who sat there, in the same place, by the pool side, for thirty-eight years, waiting for the water to be moved that he might be healed.He remained there until Christ approached and enquired of him, "Wilt thou be made whole?" Like, "Do you really want to be healed bro?" The man replied that there was no one ever there to put him into the water and as a result he was never able to get into the pool in time for the healing. The Master commanded him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk."

This is my story also because like the paralytic I too was suffering from a type of paralysis albeit a mental one. I too waited for many years by the 'poolside' of life as it were, waiting for someone to 'put me into the water'. The funny thing is that even after realising that it was never going to happen my lame excuses literally held me in check in a subconscious kind of way convinced that I couldn't really do it for myself; that the task was too great for me.

The Catalyst

Things took a change in 1989 when I raised some funds and invested in my first production, 'That Lady'. I approached Donovan Germaine at Penthouse Studios in Kingston where I met and worked with some key people in the industry like drummer Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace from the famous Rockers film alongside Obeah on keyboards and Dean Fraser on saxophone.

I recorded four tracks: 'You;ve Done Me Wrong' and 'Come To Me' at Mikey Reuben's studio in Mountain View and 'That Lady' and 'Reggae Organizer' at Penthouse Studios. However, I only ever released 'That Lady' and 'Come To Me' on my Rising Son label as A & B sides of a 7 inch vinyl through Juju Music courtesy of the late Castro Brown. The same year 1990 I released a 12 inch mix of the tracks once again.

Don Hartley @ Hootananny, London 2015

Needless to say, this effort gave me a sense of achievement; the proof to myself that I was able to walk the talk, rather than wait for things to happen to me. Hopefully now I will be a mover like the angel, my songs becoming a source of healing, stirring souls to positive action.


Ten years later during my UK trods I met and collaborated with Manchester's Nucleus Roots between 2000 and 2005 to create a number of philosophical roots anthems that add to my credentials as a serious artist within the genre. Together we came up with classics like 'Run Come Quick', 'Deep Roots', 'Irie Meditation', 'Step It Up Rasta' and 'State of Mind' (2016).

Don Hartley @ Hootananny, London 2015

Notable places I have performed include Band on The Wall (2001) and Club Sauvage in Paris (2013) with Nucleus Roots, Hootananny, London (2015), The Klondyke, Manchester with local reggae band, Ruff Trade (2016) and Manchester Carnival (2018). I am presently booked to appear with reggae band Zamaica at the Lancaaster Music Festival @ The Pub, 8 Jun and The Windrush Festival 2024 in Avenham Park, Preston.

With the release of my debut EP on May 1st, I'm enjoying international airplay and media coverage courtesy of the promo work of Explorations in Dub attesting my ascendency. I envisage this to go from strength to strength as more fans pick up on what I am putting down. No more sitting and waiting but rising and walking, to climbing the big mountain.

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