The four-part harmony group Still Cool was established in the mid-70s. The troubadours evolved from a Jamaican-based steel band known as the Advocates. The line-up featured the vocal talents of Stephen Hylton (falsetto), Joseph Grant (first tenor), Frankie Diamond (second tenor) and Louie Campbell (baritone). The group initially toured the West Indies with Byron Lee And The Dragonaires followed by performances with the Twelve Tribes Band. Still Cool maintained a low profile in the recording industry until 1981 when they released the classic, ‘To Be Poor Is A Crime’. The poignant lyrics (‘To hear the children cryin’ - It really keeps me sighing - My bredren I’m not lyin’ - Sometimes I feel like dyin’- To be poor is a crime - Man haffe know dat inna dis ya time’) expressed the anguish of genuine poverty. The song was censored, however, and regrettably met with indifference in Jamaican record shops. The group’s fortune changed when Jah Shaka licensed the tune for a UK release. The single topped the UK reggae chart and since then the band have been widely considered as one of Jamaica’s most venerated groups. Although highly regarded the group were unable to maintain their chart-topping status. A number of releases followed, including ‘Captive Mind’, ‘Angel Of Love’, ‘What A Shame’, ‘Dreadlocks Stand Up’ and ‘Insane Love’. By the close of the 80s the group had been largely forgotten. The group enjoyed a revival in the 90s when Freddie McGregor recorded his interpretation of ‘To Be Poor Is A Crime’. With the renewed interest in the band they were discovered working with the Twelve Tribes Organisation in Jamaica, a Rastafarian fraternity that included McGregor in the coalition.
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