Reggae group Chalice was particularly popular between 1980 and 1987 in Jamaica, where they recorded nearly ten albums on Pipes Music, Rohit, CSA, Sunsplash, and Ras Records (including: Stand Up, Dangerous Disturbance, Wicked Intentions, Up Till Now, and Live at Reggae Sunsplash). The name Chalice comes from a popular term in Jamaica for a ganga (marijuana) smoking pipe often used for ceremonious occasions. True to their name, the virtue of smoking weed was the subject of many of their songs.
Chalice's early lineup consisted of Alla (keyboards, vocals), Desi Jones (drums), Mikey Wallace (keyboards, vocals), Wayne Armand (guitar, vocals), Papa Keith Frances (bass), and Trevor Roper (guitar, vocals). They were a hot live act whose studio recordings often lacked the same intensity and failed to convey their infectious entertaining skills. Chalice used synthesizers as the back and front bone to achieve their bouncy danceable sound, but an over reliance on the sound branded them as lightweights by die-hard reggae fanatics. Like Rodney Dangerfield, they got no respect.
In concert, Chalice made you get up and boogie, but their studio recordings were often cheaply produced and lacked the same dynamics of their live shows. Chalice sometimes sang about serious issues, like on the rootsy "Good Be There" and "Stand Up," but not nearly enough to satisfy their critics. Chalice's other popular hits include "Can't Dub," "Jamaican Anthem," "I'm Trying," "I Can't Run," "Dangerous Disturbance," "Peter Botha," "Handle Me Rough," and an update of Terence Trent D'Arby's "Let's Go Forward." At the end of the 1980s Chalice toured Mexico, but after undergoing lineup changes, the group disbanded in 1996. Ten years later they re-formed for festival performances in Jamaica, and in 2010 Chalice released a new studio album, Let It Play. ~ Andrew Hamilton