Milton Henry dies in NYC
Milton Henry (right) and Audley Rollen

Roots singer Milton Henry, who came of age as an artiste during the 1960s, has died. His daughter, Suzette Henry, confirmed his passing which took place in New York City on December 3.

She said her father, who was 72, succumbed to cancer.

The Kingston-born Henry started his music career during the 1960s while living in Allman Town. His contemporaries in that Central Kingston community included Carl Dawkins, Junior Menz (of The Techniques) and Audley Rollen.

One of Henry's last performances came in South Florida in July at an event celebrating Rollen's 64th year in entertainment and his 55th as a recording artiste. The two also lived in East Kingston during the late 1960s when they were members of The Progressions, The Hippy Boys and The Emotions.

"Milton's loss is a big one, we would talk almost every day and now to think that I'll never again hear his voice at the other end of the line is devastating. I keep hoping that this is all a bad dream and when I wake up he'll be here but that's not going to happen, and so I"ll have to cherish the memories of the good times we've shared over our 58 years brotherhood bond," Rollen told the Jamaica Observer.

Henry's rich falsetto was likened to Curtis Mayfield. One of his best known songs was a cover of The Impressions' Gypsy Woman, written (and led) by Mayfield. Among his earliest recordings was Get On Board, a collaboration with Rollen for producer JJ Johnson in 1966.

His 1985 album, Who Do You Think I Am, is regarded as his signature work.

A competent guitarist, Henry migrated to the United States in 1988 and continued to record for different producers.

"Milton was multi-talented, he could play just about anything, not to mention his vocal skills, he was a singer's singer," said Rollen. "He had one of the greatest falsettos that many compared to Curtis Mayfield. Milton sang with such ease as is evident in his cover of Mayfield's Gypsy Woman, and he also had a great natural tone. I, like so many others, have learned a lot from Milton, he'll be truly missed."

Milton Henry is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Howard Campbell

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