Born 1951, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Dunkley had already cut his first records, a duet with Roy Shirley entitled "Gypsy" for Lindel Pottinger's Gaydisc label, "My Queen" with Junior English for Prince Buster, and "Love Me Forever", issued on the Rio label in 1965, by the ripe old age of 14. Between 1967 and 1968, he recorded "Please Stop Your Lying", "I'm Going Home", "I'm Not Your Man" and "You're Gonna Need Me" for Joe Gibbs, before switching to Coxsone Dodd in 1969 where he cut "Satisfaction" and "Get Up Now", among others.

In 1971 he recorded a medley of his Joe Gibbs hits, entitled "Three In One", "Deep Meditation" and "Darling Ooh" for Rupie Edwards. In an attempt to achieve musical and financial autonomy he teamed up with fellow singer Gregory Isaacs to form the African Museum label, achieving a local success with a version of Delroy Wilson's "I Don't Know Why", retitled "Movie Star". However, the partnership collapsed and Dunkley went on to form his own Silver Ring label, although no hits were forthcoming. In 1972 producer Jimmy Radway recorded him on two of his best sides: "Keep The Pressure On" and the big hit, "Black Cinderella". An album also emerged produced by Sonia Pottinger, entitled Presenting Errol Dunkley (re-released in 1981 as Darling Ooh), an excellent selection of originals and cover versions, including the classic, self-penned "A Little Way Different".

Throughout the first half of the 70s Dunkley appeared on a variety of labels, recording a number of fine singles including "Little Angel", "Oh Lord", "Where Must I Go", "Down Below" and "Act True To Your Man". The second half of the decade saw Dunkley gaining successes among the UK reggae fraternity with tunes such as "I'm Your Man" and "Eunoch Power" for Winston "Niney" Holness, "Stop Your Gun Shooting" for Tapper Zukie, and a new version of "A Little Way Different" for Dennis Bovell.

His biggest success, however, came in 1979 with his rendition of John Holt's naggingly catchy "OK Fred", which appealed to the pop sensibilities of Britain's wider record-buying public, rising to number 11 in the UK national charts in September of that year, and leading to unforgettable performances on great British television institutions such as Top Of The Pops and Basil Brush. Further forays into pop chart success proved elusive and Dunkley, now resident in the UK, had to be satisfied with the continued grassroots popularity of records such as "Happiness Forgets", "Rush Me No Badness", "If I Can't Have You", "Come Natural" and a version of the Stylistics' "Betcha By Golly Wow".

  Listen to the Music of Errol Dunkley

Links: Errol Dunkley Interview


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