Entertainment

Waterhouse and the music

One inner-city community and the reggae sound

BY SIMONE MORGAN Observer staff reporter

Friday, July 06, 2012    

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THOUGH it has produced a Grammy-winning group, numerous artistes and producers, the Corporate Area community of Waterhouse is usually portrayed as just another inner-city area scarred by violence and poverty.

It is the birthplace of defending Olympic and World 100-metre champion Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The diminutive Fraser-Pryce copped the sprint double at last week's National Trials and is expected to figure prominently in both events at the London Olympics which starts July 27.

Her community is known for producing some of reggae's/dancehall's finest artistes including Junior Reid, Grammy winners Black Uhuru, and producers Osbourne 'King Tubby' Ruddock, Lloyd 'King Jammys' James and Bobby 'Bobby Digital' Dixon.

"King Jammys' studio was and has remained a major part of the community of Waterhouse's legacy. The studio could easily be considered as one of the defining things of the community," says producer Mikey Bennett.

Bennett, who started working at the studio in the late 1980s, told Splash he remembers travelling from his Vineyard Town home in east Kingston to St Lucia Avenue in Waterhouse as early as 2:00 am.

"The community offered a sense of protection to myself and other musicians. Also, the residents got accustomed to hosting celebrities as almost every successful reggae/dancehall act has recorded at Jammys," Bennett said.

The studio has also provided gainful employment for many Waterhouse residents.

"Recordings were done 24 hours and there was also the King Jammys sound system that played almost non-stop. Waterhouse was one place that tolerated all that noise," Bennett said.

He credits Waterhouse for launching his career as a producer/songwriter.

"It was while at Jammys that I penned the lyrics for Home T, Cocoa Tea and Shabba Ranks' Who She Love hit single. Jammys had the ability to spot a hit song before anyone else could," he said.

The historic 1984 hit song Under Mi Sleng Teng was recorded at King Jammy's studio, while Super Cat, Admiral Bailey, Pinchers and Frankie Paul all recorded hits there.

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