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The Itals

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Long before the Itals were a spark in their producer’s eye, Keith Porter recorded his first hit single, “Hitey Titey”, with the Westmorelites on the Studio One label in 1967. Around 1969, Keith became lead singer for a band named Soul Hermit, backed by Eugene Gray and Wignal Henry on guitars, and Reginald Seewell and Nash on base and drums. They played in numerous entertainment sectors of Jamaica until Owen Sinclair put together a new band in 1971. Called Future Generation, the band was composed of Dalton James and Roy Hilton on drums, Devon Henry on keyboards, Eugene Gray, guitar, Scott on sax, and Keith on vocals. They performed all over Jamaica for X amount of years, singing all styles of music, American R&B and love songs and native Jamaican songs.

Tiring of the club scene around 1975, Keith ran into Ronnie Davis on Orange Street in Kingston and asked him who was auditioning. Ronnie gave him a cassette with a rhythm he’d just had a hit on. “I was so happy with that rhythm I didn’t look any further,” says Keith. “In less than a week I had written Ina Disa Time and came back to Kingston to record it for Lloyd Campbell’s SpiderMan label. Lloyd felt it needed some harmonies with my lead, so Ronnie and I both added harmony parts. There was no intention of forming a group called the Itals; the record first came out as Keith Porter. After the song was on its way to becoming a hit in Jamaica, we all went out to do some promotion. Lloyd, Ronnie, myself and Brian Thomas of RJR were sitting out back in the cantina, when Brian said ‘why not call them the Itals’, because now there was more than one person singing.

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