Cleon Williams's burning desire

Cleon Williams's burning desire

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Monday, January 18, 2021

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Last year saw another tireless round of studio recording for Cleon Williams. The singer voiced countless dub plates and songs including Passionate Desire , which was released in December by Gaffa Blue Records.

However, it was the first time that the journeyman singer believed producers genuinely saw something in his talent. Enough to make a long-term investment.

“Up to now mi neva get a real production team. Is not like a producer sey, 'yuh a mi artiste' an' wi a guh deal with things properly',” Williams told the Jamaica Observer.

Passionate Desire is a cover of Funny Feeling, a big hit for Dennis Brown and producer Gussie Clarke in 1978. Gaffa Blue Records, in tandem with veteran duo Mafia and Fluxy, rearranged the rhythm and vocals for Williams' version.

It is one of several singles he cut for Gaffa Blue Records as well as independent companies in Canada and the United States. Williams expects a number of them to be released this year.

The dreadlocked vocalist was raised in Olympic Gardens, an area known for its hardcore sound system culture. Since making his recording debut during the late 1980s, he has recorded for established producers such as Henry “Junjo” Lawes, Lloyd “King Jammy” James and BB Seaton.

He recorded a handful of singles for each including So Long for Seaton, singer and chief songwriter for The Gaylads and Best Bubbler for King Jammy.

As an upcoming deejay and singer, Williams recalls being a regular at dances by the Roots Melody sound system at Walker's Lawn in Olympic Gardens. He rubbed shoulders with acts like Major Worries, Lieutenant Stitchie and Admiral Bailey, all of whom went on to dancehall success.

While he has yet to get the mainstream breakthrough, Cleon Williams has never considered throwing in the towel.

“Mi neva do another job. Dub plate an' dem ting dey buy mi house, buy mi cars an' mind mi kids. Wi always give thanks,” he said.


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