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Slam Dunk.

My Queen – Errol Dunkley & Junior English

You’re Gonna Need Me – Errol Dunkley

Please Stop Your Lying – Errol Dunkley

I’m mostly fascinated by Errol Dunkley [exhibit a, exhibit b] because for quite awhile I haven’t been able to recover any definitive information about him, just the glints and glitters that make my nose start itching for a chase. The usual greyhounding and 007 techniques recovered false, incomplete and/or paltry information. Even the Trojan Records website had inaccurate information about their own artist. Of course, that only intrigued me more.

Although he was referred to as the “Michael Jackson of Dancehall”, the similarities between the two are simple and few: they were both young and talented. Dunkley had neither the international fame nor popularity of his U.S. counterpart. He didn’t even share the same popularity as his contemporaries Delroy Wilson or Freddie McGregor who were also young and talented in the 60s.

His first single, “My Queen”, was recorded for Prince Buster when Dunkley was twelve in 1963, but it wasn’t 1967 that he received notable attention. His two singles “You’re Gonna Need Me” and “Please Stop Your Lying” were recorded by Joel Gibson [R.I.P.] and supposedly still draw crowds at dancehalls.

[link to tracklist]

Black Cinderella – Errol Dunkley [imeem]

At twenty his short-lived label, African Museum, with partner Gregory Issacs quickly dissolved when Dunkley decided to try his luck with Jimmy Radway, the owner of a small label called Fe Me Time. It was here that he recorded the tracks “Keep The Pressure Down” and “Black Cinderalla” which are still highly regarded and hugely coveted in collector’s circles. 

In 1972 he toured the Carribean and Canada with Dennis Brown and Delroy Wilson and released his album A Little Way Different in 1973 on Trojan Records. In 1979 he found more mainstream success on the UK charts with a cover of John Holt’s song “O.K. Fred.” Every time I let someone hear this song, the same question comes up: “What’s a yaga yaga?” Supposedly, it means true or bonafide and is usually used in reference to friendship.

O.K. Fred – Errol Dunkley [imeem]

When the excitement over “O.K. Fred” wore off, he put out a couple reissues and finally toured North America in the 90s. Now, he lives in and performs in Florida.


About Etta Strange

Writer, obsessive audiophile, secret bedroom DJ, local daydreamer with more books than shelf space. I'm stockpiling for the inevitable drought. Let's collaborate.

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