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Little Roy

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A little known figure outside of reggae’s deep roots circles, Little Roy contributed a handful of undeniable classics to the genre during the 1970s: populace-pleasing hits that were also vehicles for his Rastafari-inspired message. Born during the early years of the 1950s (dates range from 1950-1953) in the Witfield Town area of Kingston, Jamaica, Earl Lowe (aka Little Roy) was inspired at an early age by the songwriting efforts of his older brother Campbell. Though he soon began composing his own material, it was his brother’s “I’m Going to Cool It,” that a 13-year-old Earl Lowe auditioned for Jackie Mittoo in the mid-’60s, earning him a session at the legendary Studio One. The single failed to “hit” however, and Lowe quickly moved on to rival producer Prince Buster. Newly dubbed Little Roy, the singer only voiced a pair of tracks for Buster before moving on again to the stable of Lloyd “Matador” Daley. Backed by the Hippy Boys, Roy scored his first hit with “Bongo Nyah” in 1969, a song that held the number one slot of the Jamaican record charts during the weeks that followed.

By this time, Roy had begun exploring the teachings of Rastafari, having become acquainted with followers in the Washington Gardens area. This turning point led to the crucial decision to seek complete creative control over his music.

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