b. Melbourne James, 1949, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Jah Stitch was one of the pioneering DJs. Although famed as a DJ, he began his career singing in a music yard alongside Roy Shirley, Stranger Cole, the Wailers and the Heptones. Jah Stitch soon became the leading DJ with the Lord Tippertone and Black Harmony sound systems. Errol Holt produced his debut, ‘Danger Zone’, and his vocals bore a resemblance to Big Youth, who was an influence on the young DJ. Many of Jah Stitch’s early hits were DJ versions of Johnny Clarke’s extensive back catalogue, such as ‘Legalise It’ as ‘Collie Bud’, ‘My Conversation’ as ‘How Long Jah Jah’, and ‘Roots Natty Roots Natty Congo’ as ‘True Born African’. Other hits included ‘Crazy Joe’, ‘King In The Arena’ and, with Yabby You, ‘African Queen’. Prior to the One Love Peace Concert in Jamaica, organized in an attempt to thwart the escalating street violence and bring an end to the State Of Emergency, Jah Stitch was shot. Although scarred by the event, he returned to the recording studio, responding with ‘No Dread Can’t Dead’. By 1977 his hits included ‘Militant Man’ and ‘Jah Jah Forgive You’ and he successfully toured the UK. In 1985 he re-emerged as Major Stitch, selecting the tunes for Sugar Minott’s Youth Promotion sound system. A number of up-and-coming vocalists began their careers with the sound, including Tenor Saw, Jah Mikey, Dickie Ranking and Yammie Bolo. A prolonged period of anonymity came to end when, in 1995, he recorded with Trevor Douglas and Jah Woosh and his career was documented on a compilation released through Simply Red’s Blood & Fire label.
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