Roy the DJ Daddy
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 commithis voice to wax - for Lee
Perry, where he rode Peter Tosh's English/Amharic "Rightful Ruler," for Matador
records' LloydDaley, 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 hisTreasure
Isle studios. By 1970, the Treasure Isle label had fallen out of the limelight of the
local Hit Parade as a new cropof younger, rebel producers were changing the sound of the
music from the sweet and nostalgic Rock Steady of 1967-68 (ofwhich the Duke had been a
proven champion) to the Sound of Now - Reggae. U Roy's arrival on the scene, straight from
thesound systems, the streets and the people, managed to pump new blood into the former
cornerstone of Jamaican music whenTreasure Isle engineer Bryon Smith got out the master
tapes to the Treasure Isle rocksteady hits of a few years prior and letthem roll, this
time with U Roy at the microphone.
The results were explosive: the three
songs U Roy cut, all toasts overprevious vocal hits: "Wake The Town," "Rule
the Nation," and "Wear You The Ball," made the charts and sold well, with
"Wakethe Town" reaching #1 and "Wear You To the Ball" making its way
on JBC's "Top Tunes Time" TV show featuring future Wailersorganist 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
Jamaicanproducer throughout the seventies. He had a good string of hits with Bunny Lee
throughout 1975 and '76. In 1976, U Roy hookedup with Prince Tony Robinson and cut the
famous "Dread Inna Babylon" album which saw release on Virgin records and
finallyput 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
greatCharlie Chaplin and Josey Wales on the microphone. For many years now Sturgav has
been inactive but U Roy has recentlyresurrected it in JA.
By the late 1970's deejays had
practically become the order of the day and by 1985, when the modern "digi" era
of Dancehallarrived, it seemed as if U Roy, the man who had started the dj trade on vinyl
in the first place, had been forgotten. Indeedduring much of the 1980s he was inactive,
but in the 90s U Roy began again, seemingly as if he had never stopped. Linking upwith the
UK's avant-garde dub wiz the Mad Professor and Ariwa studios, U Roy versioned the fine
"True Born African" album andmore recently, U Roy is back again, this time quite
possibly one of the best and most inspired sets he's delivered yet:
"TheOriginator" for the up and coming Tabou label, which is as inspired as
anything he has ever done and shares his inspired djstylings with the vocals of Gregory,
D. Brown, Beres, and many other greats.
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 tosee
another legend and cornerstone of Reggae - the DJ Godfather, Daddy U Roy.
To The Music of U-Roy -