Ewart Beckford had no idea that the gleeful shouts, banter and
jive he waxed at Duke Reid's Treasure Isle studios in early1970
would net him even a shirt, let alone influence a musical trend
which has no end in sight. A dj on Dickie Wong's "Dickie's
Atomic" sound system circa 1968, U Roy went over to
dub-master-to be Osbourne Ruddock, aka King Tubby, and 'Tubbs''
sound system King Tubby's Hi-Fi, where he continued his
selecting and djing prowess. In 1969 U Roy began to commit his
voice to wax - for Lee Perry, where he rode Peter Tosh's
English/Amharic "Rightful Ruler," for Matador records'
Lloyd Daley, and label owners Bunny Lee and Keith Hudson.
In late 1969/early '70 Osbourne Ruddock, aka King Tubby, brought
the talented young chatter over to kingpin Duke Reid and
his Treasure Isle studios. By 1970, the Treasure Isle label had
fallen out of the limelight of the local Hit Parade as a new
crop of younger, rebel producers were changing the sound of the
music from the sweet and nostalgic Rock Steady of 1967-68 (of which
the Duke had been a proven champion) to the Sound of Now -
Reggae. U Roy's arrival on the scene, straight from the sound
systems, the streets and the people, managed to pump new blood
into the former cornerstone of Jamaican music when Treasure Isle
engineer Bryon Smith got out the master tapes to the Treasure
Isle rocksteady hits of a few years prior and let them roll, this
time with U Roy at the microphone.
The results were explosive:
the three songs U Roy cut, all toasts over previous vocal hits:
"Wake The Town," "Rule the Nation," and "Wear You The Ball,"
made the charts and sold well, with "Wake the Town" reaching #1
and "Wear You To the Ball" making its way on JBC's "Top Tunes
Time" TV show featuring future Wailers' organist Earl 'Wire' Lindo.
The Jamaican public had loved U Roy's spontaneous outbursts and
After U Roy's triumphant launch at Treasure Isle, he went on to
voice hundreds of singles for virtually every Jamaican producer
throughout the seventies. He had a good string of hits with
Bunny Lee throughout 1975 and '76. In 1976, U Roy hooked up with
Prince Tony Robinson and cut the famous "Dread Inna Babylon"
album which saw release on Virgin records and finally put U Roy
on the international reggae map. Shortly afterwards, however, U
Roy decided to step out of the recording arena, stay "a yard" and
set up his own Sturgav sound system which played out all over
Jamaica with U Roy selecting and the great Charlie Chaplin and
Josey Wales on the microphone. For many years now Sturgav has
been inactive but U Roy has recently resurrected it in JA.
By the late 1970's deejays had practically become the order of
the day and by 1985, when the modern "digital" era of
Dancehall arrived, it seemed as if U Roy, the man who had started
the dj trade on vinyl in the first place, had been forgotten.
Indeed during much of the 1980s he was inactive, but in the 90s U
Roy began again, seemingly as if he had never stopped. Linking
up with the UK's avant-garde dub wiz the Mad Professor and Ariwa
studios, U Roy versioned the fine "True Born African" album,
which was followed by the Ariwa releases "Smile A While" and
"Babylon Kingdom Must Fall."
to a close, U Roy linked up with Tabou 1 Records, which released
"Serious Matter" which was followed by the album "Now" in 2001.
In 2012, Daddy U Roy released his first album of new studio
materials in over a decade: "Pray Fi Di People." This
Soulbeats Records CD contains combinations with some of reggae's
finest singers including Marcia Griffiths, Horace Andy, Tarrus
Riley, Bitty McLean and Chezidek.
With his delivery and stage presence as lively as ever, U Roy is
sure to put on a great show. Don't miss an opportunity to see
another legend and cornerstone of Reggae - the DJ Godfather,
Daddy U Roy.