Max Romeo

MAX Romeo, one of reggae's great touring acts, has announced his retirement from the road. The singer-songwriter, now 78, made it official on his Facebook page.

"After five decades of touring and sharing my music with the world, I have decided that it is finally time that I take some well-needed rest and retire from touring. But, I know this journey is not just about me, it's about the music, it's about the message, it's about roots reggae and it's about you my loyal fans who have supported me over the years," Romeo wrote.

He reflected on his first tour to the United Kingdom during the late 1960s to promote his song, Wet Dream. He also disclosed plans to release a new album in April, "to commemorate my journey with all the music you, know and love, featuring some very special guests".

World of Ghouls, Romeo's previous album, was released in December 2021. Produced by his son Azizzi, it preceded a month-long tour of Europe by the artiste who performed in France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia.

Romeo was born Maxwell Smith in St Ann. His recording career began in 1965 and gained traction late that decade as lead singer of The Emotions, a harmony group that included Lloyd Shakespeare, older brother of Robbie Shakespeare.

In 1968 Romeo scored a sizable hit with Wet Dream, which earned him a following in the UK. That base grew substantially during the 1970s when he recorded a series of cutting-edge songs for producers Bunny Lee and Lee "Scratch" Perry. Those included Let The Power Fall, Macabee Version, Chase The Devil, War Ina Babylon, and One Step Forward.

Max Romeo was one of the artistes who performed on the 1971 music bandwagon that helped bring Michael Manley and the People’s National Party to power in Jamaica in February 1972.

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

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