b. Uziah Thompson, 1 August 1936, Mannings Mount, Jamaica, West Indies. The Thompson family had relocated to Kingston by the early 50s and the young Uziah was inspired by Coxsone Dodd’s sound system. Thompson became a devotee of ‘Down Beat’ and persuaded Dodd to take him on as a ‘roadie’. While the sound was playing he would loiter by the decks for a chance to demonstrate his DJ skills. His perseverance paid off when the sound’s boss DJ King Stitt passed him the mike. Thompson’s performance impressed Dodd who launched his DJ career at Studio One. The producer was inspired by Thompson’s gimmicky vocals and employed him to speak the introduction to the Skatalites’ ‘Guns Of Navarone’. The group also recorded with Duke Reid who enlisted Thompson to perform on the release of ‘Ball Of Fire’ and as a resident DJ on the Treasure Isle sound system. His spoken preambles resulted in further sessions with a number of producers in Jamaica. His standing was further enhanced with Joe Gibbs’ production of ‘Train To Soulsville’. He performed as Cool Sticky, which was a reference to his, at the time, untapped percussion skill. The song enjoyed international exposure as it was featured on the popular UK released compilation Jackpot Of Hits. Thompson final appearance as a vocalist was on ‘CN Express’, a version of Monty Morris’ ‘Say What You’re Saying’.
In 1970 Thompson decided to pursue his career as a percussionist as he felt the prospects for a DJ were limited. His earliest contribution was in sessions with Lee Perry who had embarked on his renowned alliance with Bob Marley. In 1971 while working for Perry he introduced Gregory Isaacs to the producer who produced them in combination for the release of ‘You Are My Sunshine’. As a percussionist Thompson continued to support the Wailers through to the mid-70s. In 1976 his skilful intonation was utilised at Joe Gibbs’ studio where he played on a series of groundbreaking hits notably, Culture’s ‘Two Sevens Clash’, Althea And Donna’s ‘Up Town Top Ranking’ and Dennis Brown’s ‘Money In My Pocket’. With the Mighty Diamonds he played on the classic ‘Right Time’ and provided ‘creative percussion’ on Planet Earth. Thompson continued to work in session through to reggae’s digital age when the obvious economics virtually eradicated the need for live musicians overnight. Thompson is now considered an elder statesman of the industry having been finally acknowledged for his contribution in the early ska hits almost 30 years after recording them.