The man U Roy, born Ewart Beckford in 1942, started his career spinning tunes as a DJ for the sound system called Doctor Dickies in 1961. In his early years Beckford was inspired and in turn emulated DJ Winston "Count" Machuki who had worked for both Coxsone Dodd and Prince Buster and by the time U Roy worked his way up to DJ'ing for King Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi around 1967, he was well on his way to becoming the King Of DJs. The legend goes that while working with Tubby in the early stages of dub and the instrumental versions, that would become the mainstay of B-sides on Jamaican 45's for decades to come, Tubby thought it would spice things up a bit by adding DJ toasting in the gaps of the now vocally-stripped, popular rhythm tracks in which he was working. Tubby went on to record U Roy riding these tracks on acetate discs suitable for play on his sound system and back then whenever the needle would lock into those grooves the crowds would go berserk! U Roy went on to record for Lee Perry, Keith Hudson and Duke Reid in the early part of his career and amazingly it was riding the Duke's rocksteady productions from '66 and '67 that he would cause quite a stir on the Jamaican music charts. His songs "Wake The Town," "Rule The Nation" and "Wear You To The Ball" held the top three slots for 12 weeks during the early 1970's. Of course after this success, scores of other DJs made the leap from sound system to record and thanks to U Roy, Jamaican music would never be the same.
Of course U Roy went on to record lots more during the 70's with slews of other producers and even had time to start-up and operate his heavily influential Stur-Gav sound system where other DJs like Ranking Joe, Josey Wales and Charlie Chaplin first made a name for themselves. I could go on and on... but I won't, so before I spend the next four hours recapping U Roy's career until now, I'll just get to the music. Here is my tribute to the Godfather that I know you'll enjoy!
1. "Wake The Town" from the Virgin CD Version Of Wisdom
2. "No. 1 In The World" from the 1989 Greensleeves various artists LP Dubble Attack
3. "Runaway Girl" from the 1975 Virgin LP Dread In A Babylon
4. "Sound Of The Wise" from the 1992 Heartbeat CD called Lloyd Daley's Matador Productions 1968-1972 - Reggae Classics From The Originator
5. "Bury The Razor" from the 2001 I Sound CD The Lost Album: Right Time Rockers
6. "Come Fe Warn Them" from the 1987 Prince Jazzbo produced RAS Records LP Music Addict
7. "Train From The West" from the 2001 Blood & Fire various artists CD Microphone Attack
8. "The Hudson Affair" from the 2004 Trojan double CD set of Keith Hudson productions called appropriately The Hudson Affair - Keith Hudson & Friends
9. "Kingston 12 Shuffle" featuring Bob Marley & The Wailers from a 2003 Trax On Wax 10" Single - a great record ironically I found it by chance in a record store that specializes in punk rock.
10. "Control Tower" from the 1977 Rasta Ambassador LP released by Virgin
11. "Hard Feeling" from the 1994 Trojan various artists CD called U Roy & Friends - With A Flick Of My Musical Wrist
12. "Behold" from the 2004 Metro Music various artists CD set called The Story Of Treasure Isle
13. "Nana Banana" from the Alvin Ranglin GG Sampler LP from Heartbeat named Holy Ground
14. "Jah Son Of Africa" from the 1976 Virgin LP called Natty Rebel
15. "Everybody Bawling" from the Virgin CD Version Galore
16. "The Higher The Mountain" from 1988 Trojan LP Keep On Coming Through The Door
17. "Wet Dream (Version)" from the 2004 Jet Star 4 CD set The Bunny 'Striker' Lee Story
18. "Earthquake" from the 1998 Trojan Records CD set called The Complete UK Upsetters Single Collection Vol.3
19. "Full Time" again from the I Sound CD The Lost Album: Right Time Rockers
20. "Dreamland" from the 1999 Trojan Tribute To Bob Marley boxset