Ten Things You Did Not Know About Barrington Levy

1. Levy suffered severe physical abuse from his deeply religious father. The beatings become so unbearable that he runs away from home at age 9 and never returns. He is raised on the streets, sometimes by an aunt, and sometimes by a Rastafari collective called The Meditations, under whose guidance he finds his voice and pens his first song “My Black Girl.” Levy later pens a tune titled “One Foot Jo Jo” which, on its face appears to be about his own father.  In fact, the song was written about the father of his friend Sammy Dread.

“One Foot Jo Jo” 12″

2. At age 14 Levy joined with his cousin Everton Dacres as the Mighty Multitudes to record “My Black Girl,” which was penned by Levy.

3. Volcano label man Henry “Junjo” Lawes discovers the young Levy performing with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Trinity on a sound system called Stereograph sound system, which was U-Roy’s sound. According to Levy, trinity was the very first man to put him on a live mic. The song he sang? “Shine Eye Girl.” The rest is history.

4. Levy’s career takes off with Junjo. The first tune they record is “A Yah We Deh.” The second song titled “Collie Weed” is such a huge hit on the island that it becomes the theme for Sunsplash.

5. In Jamaica, Levy is known as the “mellow canary” for his unique wail.

6. Levy’s music was recorded and targeted at a specific audience. For example, tunes like “Under Me Sensi” and “Prison Oval Rock” were very popular on the island while his tunes which combine on Englishman were very popular in the UK.

7. Levy makes his debut as a producer on the rare 1981 showcase album titled Run Come Ya, which was issued on the Canadian Puff Records label.

8. The lyrics to “Under Me Sensi” are based on an experience Levy had with the Jamaican police. The police accosted Levy asking about whether he possessed ganja. When Barrington replied “me only smoke cigarette and strictly shag,” the police beat him badly.

9. The entire Volcano crew were a constant target of harassment and intimidation as Lawes was hated by police. As Levy explained to Penny Reel in 1985, “them beat up Little John and all dem man there too, beat up the whole a we.”

10. Levy stops recording with Lawes in 1982, however, he still performs on Volcano sound until 1983 when he relocates to England, discouraged and dismayed by the way singers are treated in Jamaica.

Old Grey Whistle Test 1985

The Greatest Video Clip Ever Uploaded to You Tube

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Midnight Raver Presents Barrington Levy Vol. I

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Midnight Raver Presents Barrington Levy Vol. II

Live at Maide Vale Studios, BBC, 1985

Barrington Levy “Call You On The Phone” 12″

Barrington Levy & Hugh Mundell Live at Volcano Sound, 1983

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One thought on “Ten Things You Did Not Know About Barrington Levy

  1. Greetings! I ‘m a writer for http://www.reggae-vibes.com(Netherlands) and I’m based in San Francisco. Maximum raspect to you for such indepth and pertinent writing and observation! Besides reviews, I’ve interviewed the likes of Winston Jarrett, Vernon Maytone, Prince Alla, Ras Midas, Keith Poppin, Mike Darby(Reggae Archive Records ) and more. Look forward to hearing from you and big up yourself !

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