General Smiley still sealing the deal
It’s the summer of 1979 and Rub A Dub Style, a song by Papa Michigan and General Smiley, is rocking dances and radio in Jamaica. The duo went on to have bigger hits in Nice Up The Dance and Diseases, before calling it a day in the 1990s.
These days, California is home to General Smiley who mainly produces songs by reggae acts in the United States. He also writes poems, many of which are found in The Seal of My Soul, his first book.
According to the veteran toaster, the book contains over 100 songs, “All about roots, culture and livity”. The Seal of My Soul is published by Xlibris, a company based in Chicago.
Although not much is heard of him in Jamaica, General Smiley told the Jamaica Observer that he has never been busier.
“In recent months I’ve been working hard trying to promote The Seal of My Soul, also writing new material for the publisher, writing and recording new songs and working on a couple of albums both for a few producers and also my label RuffCompany Entertainment,” he said.
General Smiley disclosed that he began compiling poems for The Seal of My Soul in 2021, and it was officially released last year. He says writing poems is not much different from composing songs.
“I usually write my songs at first as poetry, then sing or DJ them, so that was fairly easy,” he explained.
One of the latest projects for his RuffCompany Records is the debut reggae single by American singer Maia Todorita, also known as Star Gurl Maia The Tode. That track is tentatively scheduled for release in November.
Established in 1996, the label has released songs by Andrew Bees, Mabrak, Horace Martin, General Jah Mikey and Ken Serious.
Born Errol Bennett, General Smiley is from the Maxfield Avenue area of Kingston. He met Papa Michigan at producer Clement Dodd’s Studio One in 1978 and made charts the following year with Rub A Dub Style.
Nice Up The Dance was another hit for Studio One in 1979. One year later came One Love Jam Down, a peace anthem written by Jahnet Enwright.
Diseases, arguably their biggest hit, was done in 1982 for producer Henry “Junjo” Lawes.