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Artist Hall of Fame

Freddie MckayText by Harry Hawks

A soulful singer whose plaintive delivery was rarely equalled; why Freddie McKay never saw the success he so rightly deserved from almost two decades of recording remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of reggae music.
Date Added: Nov 11, 2011, Date Updated: Jul 11, 2018 Copyright (C) 2019 Dub Store Sound Inc.
1947 - Dec 19, 1986
Place of Birth: St. Catherine
Jamaica
Even with a quarter of a century's hindsight it is difficult to understand how and why a singer as talented as Freddie McKay could make so many classic records and still remain a relatively uncelebrated figure. Born in the parish of St. Catherine in 1947 there are few biographical details or artist interviews that can shed any light on the background of this giant of Jamaican music: all we have is a collection of wonderful records. His untimely death of a brain haemorrhage in 1986 robbed reggae of one of its most singular yet unsung singers.

He began recording in 1967 as ska gave way to rock steady and 'Giving You A Try Girl' and 'Go On Girl' were released back to back on Prince Buster's Olive Blossom label in Jamaica and on Blue Beat in the UK. The wonderful 'Fine, Fine, Fine' for Beverley's(Beverleys) was confusingly credited to Frederick McLean and his breakthrough hit produced by Duke Reid and released later that year, 'Love Is A Treasure', was credited to Freddie McLean. This mournful song of lost love catapulted Freddie to the top rank of rock steady vocalists... and the competition was seriously stiff.
In the early seventies Freddie moved to Brentford Road where, with the mighty Soul Defenders providing the musical accompaniment, he produced a consistent body of work for Mr Dodd(CS Dood)'s Money Disc label. The hits included his highly individual interpretation of Larry Williams & His Band's 'High School Dance', 'Sweet You Sour You', the reality themed 'Father Will Cut You Off' and the massive 'Picture On The Wall' which provided the title for his debut album on the Studio One label. The first cut of his career defining 'I'm A Free Man' dates from this period and this Money Disc seven inch release remains one of his best and most sought after records.

"I was born in this life with life and I've got to live the life that is right..." I'm A Free Man

Never contracted to one label or producer Freddie recorded sparingly over the next few years. His second album, 'Lonely Man', released on Dynamic in 1974 and produced by Warwick Lynn and Neville Hinds featured a further version of 'I'm A Free Man'. Essential seven inch records such as the captivating 'Rock A Bye Woman', first released on Rad Bryan's Hot Rod label, helped to establish his legendary status. Versioned by Horace Andy and Jah Bull as 'Ital Vital' this ever popular record is regularly played out by discerning selectors. Another version of 'I'm A Free Man' for youth producer Leonald 'Santic' Chin(Leonald Chin), , and complete with mournful melodica, proved massively popular and provided the rhythm track for one of Augustus Pablo's most memorable early outings 'Hap Ki Do'. Freddie's chilling version to Dennis Brown's monumental 'At The Foot Of The Mountain', produced by Eddie Wong, entitled Won't Get Away' was yet another certified classic from this period.

Freddie travelled down to Channel One on Maxfield Avenue in 1976 where Freddie's "big heeled boots and bell foot pants" propelled by Sly Dunbar's militant double drumming proved irresistible. 'Dance This Ya Festival' won the Festival Song Contest for that year and Alvin 'GG' Ranglin(Alvin Ranglin) released 'The Best Of Freddie McKay' (a superb collection of newly recorded songs and not a career retrospective) the following year.

Freddie continued to record top class material up for a number of different producers until his untimely death. A retrospective album combining his best work for the many producers he worked with would surely place him at the pinnacle of his profession but it is highly unlikely that the licensing agreements necessary for this could ever be arranged. To all those who know Freddie McKay is one of the greats... sadly not enough people do.

The late Freddie McKay never achieved the degree of consistent success his talent deserved or left an album that quite did it justice. Instead his best work was scattered over obscure 45's on many different labels..." Steve Barrow & Peter Dalton
Nov 11, 2011 (Jul 11, 2018 Update) Text by Harry Hawks
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Hit titles
Freddie McKay - Picture On The Wall
LP Freddie McKay - Picture On The Wall Studio One
  
¥3280 (US$29.68)
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Freddie McKay - A Lonely Man
LP Freddie McKay - A Lonely Man Dynamic
¥1480 (US$13.39)
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Freddie McKay; Leonard Santic All Stars - I'm A Free Man; Santic Special; Version 2
10" Freddie McKay;Leonard Santic All Stars - I'm A Free Man; Santic Special; Version 2 / Augustus Pablo - Hap Ki Do; Hap Ki Do Version Pressure Sounds UK/Santic
  
¥1680 (US$15.20)
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Freddie McKay - Love Is A Treasure
7" Freddie McKay - Love Is A Treasure / Alton Ellis - I Can't Stand It Treasure Isle UK Love Is A Treasure
  
¥1280 (US$11.58)
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Freddie McKay - So Long Farewell
7" Freddie McKay - So Long Farewell / Bunny, Ruddy - On The Town Beverleys UK
  
¥1380 (US$12.49)
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Freddie McKay - Picture On The Wall
7" Freddie McKay - Picture On The Wall / Clarendonians - Who Lough Last Studio One Picture On The Wall
  
¥850 (US$7.69)
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Freddie McKay - Won't Get Away
7" Freddie McKay - Won't Get Away Impact US Won't Get Away
  
¥1480 (US$13.39)
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John Holt - Strange Things
7" John Holt - Strange Things / Freddie McKay - Tear Drops Sun Shot UK Strange Things
  
¥1200 (US$10.86)
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Freddie McKay - Rock A Bye Woman
7" Freddie McKay - Rock A Bye Woman Pressure Sounds UK/Hot Rod
  
¥1480 (US$13.39)
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Freddie McKay - Dance This Ya Festival
7" Freddie McKay - Dance This Ya Festival Well Charge Big Heel Boot
  
¥900 (US$8.15)
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Freddie McKay - Tear Drops
7" Freddie McKay - Tear Drops Sun Shot UK
  
¥900 (US$8.15)
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Freddie McKay - Exodus (Take My Hand Oh Jah)
7" Freddie McKay - Exodus (Take My Hand Oh Jah) Rootical Dubber
  
¥900 (US$8.15)
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Freddie McKay - Jah Man
7" Freddie McKay - Jah Man Earthquake/Bond Export US
  
¥850 (US$7.69)
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Freddie McKay - Creation Rebel
7" Freddie McKay - Creation Rebel Earthquake/Bond Export US Creation Rebel
  
¥1180 (US$10.68)
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Freddie McKay - Nah Mek It Look So
7" Freddie McKay - Nah Mek It Look So Earthquake/Bond Export US
  
¥1180 (US$10.68)
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Recent arrival(s)
Spanna, Freddie Mckay - A Little Longer
7" Spanna, Freddie Mckay - A Little Longer Love (Org)
  
¥1800 (US$16.29)
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Best selling 10/12"(s)
David Isaacs - Jah Love I (Extende Mix)
10" David Isaacs - Jah Love I (Extende Mix) / Freddie Mckay - It De Hay; Version Channel Jah/Pressure Sounds UK
  
¥2480 (US$22.44)
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Anthony Johnson - Since I Met You Baby; (Dub)
12" Anthony Johnson - Since I Met You Baby; (Dub) / Freddie McKay;(Dub) - Cassandra Shabrock UK
  
¥1980 ¥1299 (US$11.76)
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Best selling 7"(s)
Freddie McKay - Love Is A Treasure
7" Freddie McKay - Love Is A Treasure / Alton Ellis - I Can't Stand It Treasure Isle UK Love Is A Treasure
  
¥1280 (US$11.58)
BUY
Freddie Mckay - My True Love (Original Stamper)
7" Freddie Mckay - My True Love (Original Stamper) Studio One
  
¥850 (US$7.69)
BUY
Freddie McKay - So Long Farewell
7" Freddie McKay - So Long Farewell / Bunny, Ruddy - On The Town Beverleys UK
  
¥1380 (US$12.49)
BUY
Freddie McKay - Go On This Way
7" Freddie McKay - Go On This Way / Jo Jo Bennett - Ten Step To Soul Moodisc US
  
¥1680 (US$15.20)
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Freddie McKay - You'll Be Sorry (Original Stamper)
7" Freddie McKay - You'll Be Sorry (Original Stamper) Studio One
  
¥850 (US$7.69)
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