Skip to main content

Coral Reefer Band

Ralph MacDonald

Ralph was born in Harlem, NY in 1944. His father was a Trinidad-immigrant and a popular Calypso performer.

At age seventeen, MacDonald became the percussionist for legendary performer Harry Belafonte and began a musical relationship with him that would last nearly a decade. During that time Ralph wrote an album of songs for Belafonte entitled “Calpso Carnival”.

Ralph began working with Roberta Flack in 1971. During a recording session he played a sampling of a song he had written with Bill Salter called “Where is the Love”. She fell in love with it and recorded the song with Donny Hathaway. The song sold over 10 million copies and received a Grammy award.

Ralph played percussion on nearly a dozen Grammy Award winning artists including Carly Simon and James Taylor’s “Mockingbird”, Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “Graceland,” Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” Roberta Flack’s “Killing me Softly,” George Benson’s “Breezin'”, Bette Midler’s “Do You Want to Dance,” Diana Ross’s “Mirror, Mirror”, and Grover Washington Jr’s, “Winelight.”

In 1977 one of Ralph’s songs “Calypso Breakdown” appeared on the BeeGees “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. The album went on to sell 47 million copies and earned MacDonald two Grammys of his own, as a performer and a producer.

In 1980 Ralph wrote and produced songs for Grover Washington Jr’s classic album “Winelight.” Ralph along with William Salter, and Bill Withers composed the song “Just The Two Of Us” for the album. The song won a Grammy award for best R&B song. It has since been recorded by hundreds of artists worldwide, including Will Smith’s adaptation in 1999.

Official Website

Album Credits (Jimmy Buffett albums)
Year Album Title Credit Notes
1986 Floridays Bongos, Congas, Tambourine and other Percussion
1988 Hot Water Percussion
1989 Off To See The Lizard Percussion
1990 Feeding Frenzy Percussion
1992 Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads Percussion on Love and Luck
1992 Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads Percussion on Everlasting Moon
1995 Barometer Soup Percussion
1996 Banana Wind Percussion
1996 Christmas Island Percussion
1998 Don’t Stop The Carnival Percussion, Gov. Alton Sanders
1999 Beach House on the Moon Percussion
1999 Buffett Live – Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays Percussion
2002 Far Side Of The World Percussions
2003 Meet Me In Margaritaville Percussion
2003 Live in Las Vegas, NV Percussion
2003 Live in Auburn, WA Percussion
2004 Live in Mansfield, MA Percussion
2004 Live in Cincinnati, OH Percussion
2004 License to Chill Percussion
2005 Live In Hawaii Percussion
2005 Live at Fenway Park Percussion
2006 Hoot (Movie Soundtrack) Percussion
2006 Live at Wrigley Field (DVD) Percussion
2006 Take the Weather With You Percussion
2006 Live At Wrigley Field (CD) Percussion
2007 Live at Texas Stadium Percussion Coral Reefer Band
2007 Live in Anguilla Percussion

Tours (with the Coral Reefer Band)
Year Tour Name Credit Notes
1995 Domino College Tour Percussion
1996 Banana Wind Tour Percussion
1997 Havana Daydreamin’ Tour Percussion
1998 Don’t Stop The Carnival Tour Percussion
1999 Beach House On The Moon Tour Percussion
2000 Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays Tour Percussion
2001 A Beach Odyssey Tour Percussion
2002 Far Side of the World Tour Percussion
2003 Tiki Time Tour Percussion
2004 License To Chill Tour Percussion
2005 A Salty Piece Of Land Tour Percussion
2006 Party At The End Of The World Tour Percussion
2007 Bama Breeze Tour Percussion
2008 The Year of Still Here Tour Percussion
2009 Summerzcool Tour Percussion
Special Appearances
Date Show Info Credit Notes

Solo and Other Albums

Year Album Title  
2004
Port Pleasure [IMPORT]
2004
Just the Two of Us [IMPORT]
2004
Home Grown [IMPORT]
2003
From the Heart
2000
Trippin [IMPORT]