The passing of the ‘Originator’ Ewart Beckford at the age of 78 on Wednesday 17th February 2021, best known to the reggae fraternity as U-Roy. Having grown up listening to the melodic and cultural vibes of his original style of DJ’ing or Toasting, he has been credited with this element of Jamaican rapping and will be dearly missed.
John Holt; another legendary Jamaican reggae artist; was credited to have given U-Roy his biggest break by allowing him to DJ on the B-side or flip side of John Holts classic ‘Wear you to the ball’ in 1970.
Prince Tony Robinson, U-Roy’s producer whilst signed with Virgin Records quoted that he would promote the DJ’s style of “chatting commercial dread lyrics over rocksteady classics” and one of this authors favourite’s was the outer-national classic of ‘Chalice in the Palace’ and a version of Bob Marley’s Soul Rebel the undeniable hit – Natty Rebel, a pinnacle of U-Roy’s career in the 70’s/80’s.
Prior to these recording, U-Roy had amassed a reputation of being a formidable sound system DJ on both his own sound system ‘Doctor Dickie’s Dynamite sound system’ from 1961, then later on the formidable sound systems and recording studios of Sir Coxsone and King Tubby’s.