This track is a tribute to Earl Bethel who passed away in early 2000. He was our spark, our inspiration. I always thought of this track as a theme for a superhero. Earl was certainly our superhero. He had that quality of being able to relate to anyone no matter his or her station in life. I believe the name ‘Soul Rider” came from Earl.
He and I were working on developing the band that plays on this track, ‘Soul People.’ The six-member group was consisted of three people who grew up in foreign territory and three people who grew up in America. This combination gave the music an interesting fusion of reggae, jazz, and blues.
We all met playing in a reggae band that had a weekly gig at the West End in Santa Monica, California. Earl would come to the gig directly after playing a four-hour blues gig. What a trooper! Earl played guitar and grew up in New England. He attended Exeter and Brown University. Anyway, we had a nice vibe from the consistency and decided to strike out on our own and do a record. Unfortunately, Earl died before we could finish the album.
The other members on this track are Dorrel Salmon, keyboardist from Jamaica who played with Jimmy Cliff. The sax player is Andre Desilets from Montreal, Canada. Derrick Conyers plays trumpet. He is from Inglewood, California and played jazz before this encounter. Gerald Couchman is on drums from Guyana and yours truly, Mark London Sims from San Bernardino, California, is on bass. Both Gerald and I played with reggae icon Joe Higgs.