Heavier Than Lead
2015 repress; originally released in 2008. In the early 1970s, I Roy's lyrics left listeners with not only a great vibe but also a little something to think about after the initial rush of the tune. I Roy (born Roy Reid, 1942, St. Thomas, Jamaica) had initially found work in the Customs Department of the Jamaican Civil Service, but, at the turn of the 1970s, found his vocal talents being appreciated on the sound systems in and around the Kingston area. He began with the Sons Junior System before moving over to its bigger rival, Ruddy's Supreme Ruler of Sound, which also worked out of the same Spanish town district. This district soon became I Roy's home, and it was there that he met producer Harry Mudie, with whom he would cut his musical teeth. Spurred on by fellow DJ U Roy, I Roy entered the studio and cut, among others, "Musical Pleasure," "Heart Don't Leap," and "Drifter." When U Roy was away on tour in the UK, King Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi Sound System was missing his on-mic duties. An introduction from another producer, Bunny "Striker" Lee, would lead to another match made in heaven when I Roy took hold of Tubby's sound system and rocked the town. I Roy cut his 1973 debut album, Presenting I. Roy, with producer Gussie Clarke, and such was the demand for his talents that he went on to cut tracks with the great producers of the time throughout the 1970s. The producer who worked with I Roy the most throughout the DJ phenomenon is Bunny Lee. Having set I Roy up with the great King Tubby, getting him into the studio was the obvious next step. A new genre was born when I Roy, warming up for a vocal showdown, spotted singer Prince Jazzbo walking into the studio and dropped the line, "Jazzbo, man if you were a juke box I wouldn't put a dime into your slot." A humorous, off-the-cuff spar that would later get a release as "Straight to Jazzbo Head" (included on this release) and open a flurry of bragging cuts. Heavier Than Lead collects some of I Roy's finest moments so you can enjoy his vocal dexterity for yourself; remember listen to the quick, tuneful, tight lyrics. They all tell a story worth listening to.