Rhythm Queen

Biography by

b. Caroline Williams, c.1960, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Williams began her musical career with the UK-based reggae band, Nightdoctor. The band performed classic Studio One hits and featured…
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Artist Biography by

b. Caroline Williams, c.1960, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Williams began her musical career with the UK-based reggae band, Nightdoctor. The band performed classic Studio One hits and featured a full horn section, that included Vin Gordon and jazz trombonist Annie Whitehead. Williams remained with the band until 1982 when she was invited to join Matumbi in their swan song, the Solid Groove Reggae Shuttle European tour. The excursion featured the band alongside Jamaican veterans, Max Romeo and Horace Andy. Following the triumphant tour, impressed by Williams adept musicianship, Andy invited her to join him on recording sessions. The relationship with Andy flourished both personally and on a musical level. Their personal relationship produced two boys and, professionally, Williams played and featured on her partner’s groundbreaking Elementary. Also involved in the sessions was Blacker Dread, of the Coxsone Sound System, who bestowed Williams with the Rhythm Queen appellation. The album demonstrated the burgeoning digital style, then known as electro reggae, which was met with approval in 1985. In the following year Williams joined forces with the pioneering all-female band Akabu, recording Akabu and Warrior Queen with Adrian Sherwood. In addition to her Akabu commitments Williams also played on a number of sessions for Bunny Lee, Mad Professor and Tapper Zukie. In 1990, she returned to the studio with her partner alongside Cameron McVey who involved the duo with Massive Attack. The sessions were produced by McVey and launched the careers of, Nellee Hooper, Tricky and Shara Nelson. Williams co-wrote the track, ‘One Love’, that featured on the band’s widely acclaimed 1992 release, Blue Lines. In 1991, prior to the Massive Attack release, she also featured on Horace Andy Sings Bob Marley. The sessions were recorded in New York with Lloyd Barnes proving especially popular when released in Japan through the Tachyon label. Williams has endured the gender imbalance within roots music during two decades in the business. Her tenacity was indemnified in the latter half of the 90s when, with Winston ‘Saxon’ Rose, she worked on sessions for the Rhythm Queen - Showcase that clearly demonstrated her versatility.