Lloyd Coxsone

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Jamaican DJ and highly influential figure in the growth of the UK reggae scene.
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b. Lloyd Blackwood. An influential figure in the growth of the UK reggae scene, Lloyd Coxsone left his home in Morant Bay, Jamaica, and arrived in the UK in 1962, settling in south-west London and setting up his first sound system, Lloyd The Matador. This venture floundered due to inexperience and Coxsone joined the UK-based Duke Reid sound, but he eventually left in 1969, taking some of that operation’s personnel with him. He went on to form his own sound system, adopting the name of the biggest sound in Jamaica at the time, and also, pointedly, the main rival to Jamaica’s Duke Reid, Sir Coxsone. Coxsone sound soon gained a strong following that eventually led to his residency at the famous London nightclub the Roaring Twenties, in Carnaby Street. Throughout the 70s Sir Coxsone Sound’s success lay with maintaining the sound to rigorous standards, playing the most exclusive dub plates direct from Jamaica, and keeping abreast of trends within the music. Rather than specializing in one particular style, Coxsone Sound offered music for all tastes.

Coxsone, like other sound men, also expanded into the record business, licensing music from Jamaica at first, then trying his hand at his own productions using local UK artists. In 1975 he enjoyed huge success, and kickstarted the UK lovers rock phenomenon in the process, with his production of ‘Caught You In A Lie’ - originally a US soul hit by Robert Parker - featuring the vocal talents of 14-year-old south London schoolgirl Louisa Mark. That same year he issued one of the best dub albums of the era, King Of The Dub Rock, which featured dubwise versions of his own productions and those of Gussie Clarke, mixed in part at King Tubby’s. Other notable records appeared on his Tribesman and Lloyd Coxsone Outernational labels and elsewhere during the late 70s and early 80s, including Fabian’s Jack Ruby -produced ‘Prophecy’, ‘Love And Only Love’ and ‘Voice Of The Poor’ by Fred Locks. Others included ‘Stormy Night’ and ‘Homeward Bound’ by the Creation Steppers, a version of the Commodores’ ‘Easy’ by Jimmy Lindsay (many of which are available on 12 The Hard Way) and many more. During the mid-80s Coxsone handed control of his sound over to the younger elements in his team, notably Blacker Dread, and a new breed of DJs. Blacker released his own productions by the likes of Fred Locks, Frankie Paul, Mikey General, Sugar Minott, Michael Palmer, Don Carlos, Earl Sixteen and Coxsone DJ, Jah Screechy. Recently, as interest in the roots music of the 70s has increased, Coxsone has emerged from his semi-retirement to stand again at the controls of his sound.