Eric Frater: Six-string hero
Guitarist Eric Frater (Photo: Reggae Spotlights)

One of the songs that launched the Channel One studio in the early 1970s was It's A Shame — Delroy Wilson's smooth cover of The Spinners' 1969 hit. His vocals were complemented by the distinctive rhythm riffs of Eric Frater.

A prolific session player, Frater made his mark at Studio One playing on hit singles such as Hello Carol by The Gladiators, and Ram Jam and Who Done It, the Jackie Mittoo instrumental.

One of the songs on which his deft touches stands out is Sweet Talking by The Heptones. Frater's interludes helped make that track a classic.

He also played on Sata Masa Gana by The Abyssinians, considered by many to be reggae's anthem.

Frater was a member of The Vikings, a leading show band, when he first met producer Clement Dodd, principal of Studio One. In a 2000 interview with, he recalled Dodd hiring him after hearing him play at a gig in Kingston.

He became a member of The Sound Dimension house band at Studio One in 1968 and played on many of the songs by Dodd's leading acts.

The website named Eric Frater, who died in 2007, in its 10 Most Important Reggae Guitarists alongside giants like Ernie Ranglin, Hux Brown, Al Anderson, Stephen "Cat" Coore, and Earl "Chinna" Smith.

— Howard Campbell

Howard Campbell

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