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Artist Profile
U Roy
Sep 21, 1942 ~
‘Living Legend’ is a much overused and abused description. However, no-one could argue that Ewart ‘U Roy’ Beckford is a living legend. The Rightful Ruler, the ‘Deejay Daddy’, deserves every accolade that comes his way.
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Real name:
Ewart Beckford
Place of birth:
Jamaica
Kingston
In the beginning deejays were not regarded as record makers; their role was to introduce the records, make announcements, encourage the dancers and keep things going with scat talk, rhymes and exhortations... in fact anything that could keep the crowd moving. Although they were not considered as recording material deejays would still occasionally appear on record but, even when they made it on to vinyl, they usually failed to get any credit.

Born Ewart Beckford 21st September 1942 in Jones Town, Kingston U Roy began deejaying for Dickies Dynamic before moving to Sir George The Atomic and eventually remaining with King Tubby's Home Town Hi Fi in 1967 after a brief stint for Coxsone(CS Dodd)'s Down Beat Sound System. As the decade drew to a close a number of forward thinking producers including Bunny Striker Lee, Lee 'Scratch' Perry(Lee Perry), Lloyd 'Matador' Daley and Keith Hudson saw the potential of putting U Roy on record. For Striker he made 'Orgarang', a version to Striker's massive 'Bangarang', 'King Of The Road', the obscure 'Non Violence' and 'Wake The Nation' with Jeff Barnes. With Scratch U Roy made the earth shattering 'Rightful Ruler' over the Reggae Boys thundering 'Selassie' with the assistance of Peter Tosh introducing the record in Amharic and 'OK Corral'. With Lloyd 'Matador' Daley he made the beautiful 'Scandal' and 'Sounds Of The Wise' but it was 'Dynamic Fashion Way' for Keith Hudson that set him in the direction he would follow for the rest of his incredible career. A version to Ken Boothe's driving 'Old Fashioned Way' the record began with one of the best introductions ever committed to vinyl and then never eased up until the fade out... but none of these records could be described as big hits.

In 1969 and 1970 King Stitt finally came into his own with a series of groundbreaking hits for producer Clancy Eccles. Stitt was the number one deejay on Coxsone's sound "a position of great responsibility" but Mr Dodd never fully exploited Stitt's dynamic potential on record. His Studio One outings, such as his version to Dennis Brown's 'No Man Is An Island' entitled 'No Man Version' and John Holt's 'OK Fred' entitled 'Redder Than Fred', were very good but never sold as well as his recordings for Clancy. But King Stitt had opened the door for U Roy to keep on coming through and, in 1970, he turned Jamaica's musical scene round, right round and round again.

Working with the pick of Duke Reid's classical canon of Treasure Isle rock steady recordings he laid the ground rules for all deejays to follow for ever after. Previously they had introduced the record and added their "peps" as the record progressed... now U Roy "rode the rhythm" all the way through the record seemingly agreeing and disagreeing with the original vocalists. U Royfirst three releases for Treasure Isle, 'Wake The Town', 'Rule The Nation' and 'Wear You To The Ball', held the top three positions in the Jamaican charts for twelve incredible weeks in 1970. The 'Version Galore' album, released on Treasure Isle in Jamaica and Trojan in the UK, is a certified classic; reggae historian Chris Lane once wrote "no-one will ever make a better album than this" and I certainly would never disagree with that.

U Roy's impact and influence were enormous and a whole host of imitators followed in his wake: U Roy Junior, Mad Roy, I Roy, U Brown and U Black all borrowed from his name while others, including Dennis AlCapone, Lizzy, King Sporty and Winston Scotland transferred all that they had been doing live and direct in the dance halls to the recording studio. Kingston's singers claimed that they were unable to get a look in and "deejay tunes were taken off the airwaves in order to give the singers a chance of surviving" but things gradually returned to normal and deejay records became an integral part of Kingston's musical vocabulary.

By the mid seventies the upcoming pretenders to U Roy's throne, such as I Roy, Big Youth and Prince Jazzbo, had supposedly taken over from the king and it was alleged that U Roy was unable to ride the new style of dubbed up rhythms. This was palpably untrue as U Roy was working those rhythms night after night live and direct on King Tubby's Home Town Hi Fi and his appearance with Big Youth on the truly incredible 'Battle Of The Giants' for the Youth's Negusa Nagast label, his almighty 'Foundation Skank' for Federal, his 'Penny For Your Dub' for Derrick Harriott and the startling 'Number One In The World' for Glen Brown all demonstrated his complete mastery of the drum and bass style. And in 1975 a selection of records for Bunny Striker Lee including 'Joyful Locks' and 'Gorgon Wise' put U Roy back on top of the peak.

It was at this time that Virgin Records decided to invest heavily in Jamaican music and U Roy was one of their first signings. The 'Dread In A Babylon' album, for producer Prince Tony Robinson, catapulted him into the international big time and this release, followed by 'Natty Rebel', 'Rasta Ambassador' and 'Jah Son Of Africa' sold in their thousands. The allegedly illegal USA only release of 'Dubbing To The King In A Higher Rank' album on King Attarney in 1976 featured U Roy seeing to a selection of Channel One rhythms "tell them Diamonds" in a rockers style and further demonstrated his sound system supremacy. This very obscure release was repackaged and retitled as 'The Lost Album. Right Time Rockers' over two decades later. He set up his own Sturgav Sound System, named after his two sons, but usually known as Stereograph as in Barry Brown's perennially popular "Stereograph the general..." dub plate special.

He was awarded Jamaica's Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer in 2007 and U Roy continues to tour and perform. His live appearances are as show stopping as ever and he has always remained a man of few words away from the microphone never ceasing to be surprised at his forty years of unstoppable success. U Roy is responsible for some of the greatest records ever made by anyone anywhere and did more than anyone else ever to popularise the art of the deejay. His work on the microphone irrevocably altered the nature of music in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond and he is, beyond any doubt, a living legend.
 
Related artist(s):
Dennis Alcapone
King Stitt
Count Matchuki
I Roy
Prince Jazzbo
Big Youth
Label Profile
Ujama
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Hit title(s)
vinyl 7" Jah Jah Call You - Ujama
¥570
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vinyl 7" Good Morning - Ujama
¥600
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vinyl 7" Crab Walking - Ujama/Prince Jazzbo Music
¥570
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vinyl 7" Musical Addict - Ujama/Prince Jazzbo Music
¥600
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vinyl 7" No Man's Land - Ujama
¥570
No Stock
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Related label(s):
Prince Jazzbo
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Description of item
[All Items] → [7"] → [Dancehall Early 80's] → [Dancehall 1979-1984] → [U Roy]
U Roy - Jah Jah Call You
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vinyl 7" 7"
U Roy
Jah Jah Call You
Ujama
Heavenless
¥570 (US$5.60)
Rating: 12345
Genre: Dancehall Early 80's
Sub Genre: Dancehall 1979-1984
Produced by: Prince Jazzbo
Approx. year: 1984
Date added: Oct 3, 2000
Date re-stocked: Apr 24, 2012
Country: Jamaica
Music type: Deejay B: Dub
We hardly expect that this item to be in stock another time.
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SIDE A:
listen Jah Jah Call You
SIDE B:
listen Version (Heavenless)
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Rating: 12345
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