Jamaican singer Joe White has had an unsung career, issuing several brilliant singles through the ska, rocksteady, and early reggae eras, including 1967's "Rudies All Around," 1968's "Every Night" (produced by Sonia Pottinger), and an amazing version of "My Guiding Star," produced by Charles Ross at Studio One. Somehow, though, White never garnered the mass attention he deserved. Early on he was a member of vocal group the Leaders with Ken Boothe, Roy Shirley, and Chuck Josephs, and several singles by the quartet were issued on Federal, but none generated much action. White also recorded as part of a duo with Josephs, again without much success. Picking up the melodica, an instrument made popular on the island thanks to Augustus Pablo, White (as part of the loose aggregation known as Harry J's All Stars) released an album of melodica tunes played over the famous "Liquidator" rhythm, and played a duet on the instrument with Glen Brown on the fascinating and bizarre 1972 single "Merry Up," which was produced by Brown, engineered by King Tubby, and credited to the God Sons. A loose, ramshackle affair, complete with sudden stops and starts, as well as seemingly random spoken asides, "Merry Up" has a unique charm all its own. White has several tracks on various compilation albums, and enough of these exist to assemble a decent anthology of his work, but thus far it hasn't happened.
Share this page