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 hip jive.

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." 

As the millennium drew 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.

 

  Listen to the Music of U-Roy

Links: U-Roy's MySpace Page


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