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Artist Hall of Fame

Captain SinbadText by Harry Hawks

‘The Seven Voyages’ became one lifelong musical journey for Captain Sinbad… now rightly internationally recognised as one of Jamaica’s finest deejays and record producers
Date Added: Feb 23, 2011, Date Updated: Feb 25, 2011 Copyright (C) 2019 Dub Store Sound Inc.
Real Name: Carl Dwyer
Aug 1, 1959 -
Place of Birth: Kingston
Jamaica
Related Artist(s):
Little John
Sugar Minott
Born "under the Jubilee Clock" in Kingston, Jamaica on 1st August 1959 Carl Dwyer spent his formative years in Western Kingston before emigrating to Canada as a young boy. He returned to Kingston when he had completed his schooling and, on adopting the name Captain Sinbad after the legendary sailor from 'Arabian Nights', he "lined up with Dillinger, Clint Eastwood and Trinity" and was soon to be found deejaying on the 'Sound Of Silence' sound system alongside singer Sugar Minott.

"I met Sugar down Maxfield Park... I heard the sound playing. Sugar gave me a chat off the mic. and off we go!"

Sugar Minott was working for Studio One at the time laying the foundations of what would become known as the dance hall style. He took Sinbad down to Brentford Road where he recorded "about three songs" for Mr Dodd(CS Dodd) but it would be a number of years before the Captain's mic. mastery would be heard on the Studio One label.

Sugar now started to establish his admirably altruistic Youth Promotion organisation for the benefit of other talented ghetto youths and, towards the end of 1978, one of the first records to appear on the Youth Promotion label was 'Preasure/Pressure Rock'... Sinbad's"first proper recording". Early the following year the track was released in London on the influential Sufferers Heights label as part two of Sugar's updating of Hopeton Lewis' ska into rock steady classic 'Sounds And Pressure' retitled 'Hard Time Pressure'. The Captain then appeared on the b side of Sugar's Black Roots release 'River Jordan' deejaying '51 Storm' and also recorded an album's worth of material with Youth Promotion but "the LP never really came out."


Now deejaying full time for Arrows Hi-Fi Sinbad set up the Youth In Progress label to release his own productions. The first release was 'Modelling' from future dance hall star Little John. The b side 'A1 Sound', recorded in the same session, starred the Captain and Little John in combination. The follow up, Captain Sinbad's own 'Progress A The Best' was an a superb exercise in self-promotion for Youth In Progress. Sinbad's other productions from this period included Anthony Johnson's 'Move In Move Out' which was released on the Explosion label.

Fellow Kingston 11 resident Henry 'Junjo' Lawes was fast on his way to becoming the most successful producer of the dance hall period. Sinbad recorded for a version to John Holt's 'Ghetto Queen' named 'Rock It So Good' for Junjo and "after that Junjo wanted me to make an LP"...


"I was living off the Waltham Park Road and we came from Arrows straight from a dance to Channel One and voiced eight of the tracks that night!"

The 'Seven Voyages Of Captain Sinbad' album remains Sinbad's only long playing record as an artist. Released in the UK on Greensleeves Records it became a very big seller. The superb cover art by Tony McDermott showcased ten tracks of the Captain at his very best and demonstrated that he was one of the brightest of the new wave of dance hall stars. Junjo enjoyed an excellent working relationship with his artists. He understood better than most their trials and tribulations because he came, and remained loyal to, the same background. Sinbad recalled how Junjo shared both inspiration and finances with his artists in a combination of "praise and raise".

"Junjo was my brethren. He came in the business full of ideas... very creative. A vibes man he'd give you a topic and let you go. Nice to work with... he was one of the first producers in Jamaica to make you know about money."

"A couple of forty fives came out in Jamaica through Randy's(Randys)" but the album was not released in Jamaica. Encouraged by its success in England Sinbad travelled to the UK in 1982 with Ranking Trevor, Eek A Mouse and Billy Boyo where he was so well received that he stayed for eleven months. He briefly returned to Jamaica but then flew back to the UK where he stayed for the next five years. He rapidly built up a following on the UK sound system circuit deejaying live and direct on a number of sounds. A live recording at a dance in Harlesden, North West London on Saxon International, entitled 'Sister Miracle/Myrtle', with the Captain riding the Studio One rhythm 'One Step Beyond'/'Hi Fashion Dub' was released as a twelve inch on the Rusty International label and became one of the major UK hits of 1983. The record reflected the tense excitement of a Saxon dance but the rhythm track was used without Mr Dodd's permission and Coxsone repaid the compliment by issuing the record on a Studio One twelve inch in New York.

"Coxsone always used to tease me about it! He used to say 'The man always wanted to be on Studio One!'"

Sinbad also produced records in London and achieved a huge hit with singer John McLean on the wistful 'If I Give My Heart To You'. The record was a million miles away from his brash deejay and dance hall records but "being in England for so long the lovers vibe grew up on you... Lovers Rock was really big in a England at the time". Released on the Mad Professor's Ariwa label the record very narrowly missed breaking into the UK National Charts... "I gave it to the Mad Professor to put out. It was a very big success".

During this time the Captain also began his involvement in record distribution and, in particular, the import/export business. He eventually became one of the major movers in exporting Jamaican pressed 'pre-release' records all over the world. He described these times as "going back and forth, back and forth" and, as he travelled, he developed close working relationships with many artists, musicians, producers, wholesalers and retailers.

On his return to live in Kingston in 1989 he set up the Sinbad Production label and began to produce a stream of hit records starting with Gospel Fish and then Frankie Paul, Capleton, Anthony Red Rose, Cobra(Mad Cobra), General TK and London based Nereus Joseph. An avalanche of seven and twelve inch records followed and it was "hits all the way. We just cut and clear". Sinbad Productions' various artist albums 'Sin Bad A Than Them', 'Gangster', 'The Ambush' and Cobra's 'Merciless Bad Boy' are now regarded as classics of the era. His tireless work placed him at the forefront of early nineties ragga and his later long playing excursions, 'Romantic Ragga', featuring an amalgamation of ragga and lovers rock drew on his wealth of experience in Kingston and London. In 2005 he worked with Maximum Sound's Frenchie on the 'World Jam' rhythm where the best of the old and the new was mixed and matched with name brand artists including Anthony B, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Luciano, and Vybz Kartel.

Throughout his long career Captain Sinbad's positive personality, depth of experience and understanding of both music and the music business have placed him in an unassailable position. The majority of reggae deejays usually only ever enjoy fleeting success but a few adopt and adapt, use their time wisely and, by moving with the times, stay aboard for the long haul. Captain Sinbad is one of the few...
Feb 23, 2011 (Feb 25, 2011 Update) Text by Harry Hawks
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