Jamaica's Pat Francis recorded under a lot of names during the 1970s, including Jah Lion, Jah Lloyd and Black Lion of Judah, and given that his musical creations frequently centered on drug-related themes, he was sort of an early character blueprint for the flamboyant urban rappers of the late 1990s. In the mid-1960s he was a member of the Mediators, and he later scored hits with topical material like "Soldier Round the Corner," "Know Yourself Blackman" and "Killer Flour" for producer Rupie Edwards. Never afraid to reinvent himself, Francis turned toaster and DJ for tracks like "Black Snowfall" and "World Class." He tasted critical success as Jah Lion when he recorded the marvelous Columbia Colly album with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry at Perry's legendary Black Ark studio, including a striking version of the Little Willie John classic, "Fever." He became Jah Lloyd in 1978, signing a record deal with Front Line, and although songs like "Jah Lion" and "Cocaine" tried hard, they stirred up little public interest. Francis turned to production work as the 1970s ended, becoming Jah Lion again as the 1980s beckoned, and although he stayed active behind the scenes, his major recording work was behind him. Pat Francis was only 52 when he was killed in Kingston on June 12, 1999.
Share this page