Pioneering deejay U Roy is sometimes labeled as the originator of the modern Jamaican deejay style and has been a vital force in reggae music since the late 60’s when he scored his first smash hits and held the three top spots on the Jamaican music chart with Wake the Town, Rule the Nation and Wear You to the Ball recorded over some of the late Duke Reid’s biggest rock steady cuts.
He has recorded music for almost five decades, including working with Niney, Joe Gibbs, Tony Robinson, Tappa Zukie and Mad Professor. His two latest sets – Now released in 2001 and Rebel in Styylle put out in 2003 – have been combination albums, meaning U Roy joining forces with a singer on each track.
His brand new album Pray fi di People is in the same style, and has U Roy teaming up with Jamaican, African, American and European singers, including Marcia Griffiths, Horace Andy, Chezidek, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Harrison Stafford aka Professor from U.S. progressive reggae rockers Groundation.
The album was produced by Bravo in Jamaica and collects 13 live played tracks over mostly refurbished vintage riddims, of which one is a cover version of Toots & The Maytals’ 70’s party starter Pomps and Pride. Tarrus Riley does a fine interpretation as Toots.
Pray fi di People might be a bit ordinary and generic, and U Roy is a little less energetic compared to his previous work, but considering the man being 70 years old he certainly does an excellent job. And the album is at its best when he shares vocal duties with the dramatic voiced Professor and the sweet timbre of Horace Andy.
Pray fi di People drops on French Soulbeats Records on Tuesday October 9 as CD and digital download.