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Farewell Joe...

 Just woke up this morning to this sad news : Maurice Roberts has left this world on thursday. I was honored to call him my friend, my heart is really aching right now, thinking I'll never hear his deep bass voice again...

One more unsung hero of jamaican music gone, without getting a tenth of the recognition he deserved. Maurice, or "Joe", as BB Seaton and his friends used to call him, a great singer. According to Coxsone Dodd himself, he was responsible for the "Gaylads sound", with that unique voice he had, even as a teenager. And back then, the girls would go crazy for this tall, dark youth with his booming voice... 

After singing with the Gaylads, he sung for the Psalms, and did the backing vocals for Bunny Wailer for over 20 years. That's how good he was.

But Joe was also a great bass player. With the Gaylads and the Conscious Minds bands, and later as a regular session player at the Black Ark (he said he played on the all time classic "Police and thieves"), he recorded many fabulous songs for many artists. And indirectly, he played a very important role in the development of reggae music, as he used to lend the very young Aston Barrett his bass, for him to practice, and play his first sessions.

But most of all, Maurice was a great person. He was very respected among other foundation artists, who knew he was not only a legend in this music, but most of all a genuine man.

Jamaica has lost yet another great one, without honoring him as he sould have been honored. His last years were a hard struggle, as it's the case for so many foundation musicians and singers.

I am feeling proud and honored to having recorded what will remain as his only ever solo song. So sad though, that he won't see it's release...

Will never forget you Joe, may you rest in peace. Your music will live on, and those who were lucky to know you will keep your memory alive.

All my thoughts are now with Maurice's wife Barbara, and his lifelong friend BB Seaton, who introduced me to Joe.

maurice roberts gaylads studio one tribute


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