Leroy Brown adds flavour to classic
Leroy Brown

Mac Davis and Leroy Brown were at different career levels in 1972. That year, country singer Davis had a huge breakthrough hit with Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me; Brown, a reggae artiste, had migrated to Canada from Jamaica one year earlier.

Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me was one of the songs Brown remembered hearing on radio in Toronto, his new hometown. Recently, he covered it reggae-style with the help of a stellar cast of musicians.

"It's a song I always loved. We didn't hear a lot of reggae when I went to Canada 50 years ago, it was a lot of country music and Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me was a big hit," said Brown, who also produced his version.

Drummer Sly Dunbar, saxophonist Dean Fraser, bassist Owen Reynolds, guitarist J K Gulley and keyboardist/guitarist Paul "Wrong Move" Crosdale accompanied Brown on the song, which was released on July 7.

Initially, Brown wanted a female vocalist to cover the song but said Dunbar insisted he do it himself.

Born in St Catherine, Brown spent much of his early years in Trench Town and east Kingston. While living in the latter, he developed lifelong friendships with singers and musicians including Milton Henry, Audley Rollen, bassists Aston "Familyman" Barrett and Robbie Shakespeare, drummer Carlton Barrett and keyboardist Bernard "Touter" Harvey.

After moving to Canada, he continued to record music but also worked as a graphic artist. Since returning to Jamaica 20 years ago, he has released a number of songs such as You Raised me Up and In The Book.

Davis, who was from Texas, made his name as a composer of the 1969 Elvis Presley hit, in The Ghetto. Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me helped establish him as a singer. He had a big following in Jamaica thanks to songs like It's Hard to be Humble and The Beer Drinkin' Song.

Boris Gardiner's cover of Davis' I Wanna Wake up With You was a number one hit in the United Kingdom in 1986. Davis died in 2020 at age 78.

— Howard Campbell

Howard Campbell

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