Tyrone Taylor: Reggae singer

Tyrone Taylor, singer, songwriter and producer: born St Elizabeth, Jamaica 1954; died Kingston, Jamaica 1 December 2007
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Following the worldwide success of the teenage group Musical Youth with "Pass the Dutchie" in the early Eighties, MCA Records belatedly became interested in reggae. In the summer of 1983, they signed the Jamaican singer Tyrone Taylor and gave an international release to "Cottage in Negril", a single he had written and produced himself.

"Cottage in Negril", with its "lovers rock" style, contrasted with the dance-hall music then coming out of Jamaica, and was a turntable hit. Unfortunately it failed to chart, as did the languid follow-up "Pledge to the Sun", and MCA declined to release Taylor's album internationally.

Born in 1954 in the rural south-west of Jamaica, Taylor cut his first single, "Delilah", in Kingston in 1968, before forming a short-lived duo called the Soul Menders with Vince Brown. He considered giving up music altogether, but the guitarist Willie Lindo encouraged him to persevere.

In the mid-Seventies, he freelanced for producers such as Sidney Crooks (on "Fight It Blackman"), Jack Ruby ("Life Table" and "I'd Like to Know") and, most famously, Winston Holness, aka Niney the Observer, on "Sufferation", a favourite of British punks in 1977. Desperate for a breakthrough, Taylor even recorded "Can't Stop Rastaman Now", a reggae adaptation of McFadden and Whitehead's disco classic "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" in 1980.

The following year, Taylor decided to concentrate on what he knew best and wrote about a romance he had had with a tourist holidaying in Negril, no longer the sleepy town of his youth but a thriving beach resort. Cut with a crack studio band featuring Lindo on guitar, Lloyd Parks on bass, Ansel Collins on keyboards, and a gorgeous saxophone solo by Dean Fraser, "Cottage in Negril" should have been the start of great things for Taylor, but he failed to achieve any further international success.

Pierre Perrone