Jamaican-born singer Keithus I – not to be confused with Kiddus I – has a familiar story in the history of reggae music. In the 70s he was an aspiring singer and cut a few raw and militant roots cuts with well-known musicians, but then went on a different path and his music fell into obscurity. Many decades later he took up music again and a label established a reissue program.
In the 70s Keithus I recorded with The Wailers and those cuts were made available on his debut album Then and Now – which collected old and new material – released in 2012, but the tracks have also been put out on 7” by DKR/Digikiller.
Today Keithus I resides in the U.S. where he works with film production and – for the past few years – music. His second album Changes was recently released and it contains traditional roots reggae recorded between Boston and Kingston.
Standout cuts include Groundation with its killer horns, Be Confident with its haunting melodica and the Jesse Royal combination System Set where the young Jesse Royal’s stylish delivery outshines Keithus I’s delicate singing.
Over the past years a number of sometimes overlooked Jamaican foundation singers have stepped in the area again and it’s great to see that so many of them have much more to give.