Friday, February 05, 2016

Day 97 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Junior Byles - I've Got A Feeling

Kerrie Byles AKA Junior Byles (born July 17, 1948) got started singing in church at an early age.  In 1967 he formed the vocal group The Versatiles with Dudley Earl and Ben Davis, all while juggling his day-job as a firefighter.  The group was scouted by Lee "Scratch" Perry, who was working for Joe Gibbs' Amalgamated label at the time, and signed to a contract.  A couple years later the Versatiles went back to Perry, as well as trying their hands with Duke Reid and Laurel Aitken, and stayed together until 1970 when Junior Byles went solo where he recorded an impressive catalog of classic tunes.  Sadly in 1975, Junior Byles' health began to decline and after being admitted to Bellevue Hospital for depression and an attempted suicide, his personal life began to fall apart.  He attempted to carry on and continued recording sparingly but by the mid 80s, he was homeless and living on the streets. In the early 2000s he had some success with performing in Jamaica and in the UK but hasn't been active since.  Regardless, he is a true legend of Jamaican music and today's song in a perfect reflection of his skill.  "I've Got A Feeling" comes from Junior Byles' 1972 album Beat Down Babylon, produced by Lee Perry and originally released on the Dynamic Sounds label and it's a good one!

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