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Frank Penn


"Stay in the bush!" That's how Frank Penn quotes his much younger self, a man of incalculable importance to the music of Grand Bahamas Island in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In that era, Miami broadcasters and American business interests had imbued the island with a cultural identity somewhat more Floridian/Caribbean than Bahamian. Penn's slogan was guidance to a broad range of talents he recorded and promoted from GBI, his low-slung modest white stucco studio and label headquarters near the harbor on Freeport's Queens Highway. The bush meant Grand Bahama Island; the slogan a demand that GBI's sonic export have a Bahamian undercurrent, however strong its Stateside influences might be. From its cultural battleground emerged a sound that bodysurfed both sides of the Straights of Florida.


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