Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Freddie McGregor, Yellowman & King Jammy – Greensleeves 40th Anniversary Concert Freddie McGregor, Yellowman & King Jammy – Greensleeves 40th Anniversary Concert
Freddie McGregor, Yellowman & King Jammy – Greensleeves 40th Anniversary Concert

Greensleeves Records have been trailblazing reggae music and acts for the past four decades and more. In April they will be collaborating with London Intl Ska Festival and Academy Events to present to bring reggae fans a mouthwatering treat of three giants of the genre. For one unforgettable night reggae lovers will be treated to legends of the music old and new the highlights being the appearance of names like Freddie McGregor, King Jammy and Yellowman.


Real lovers of the music will be familiar with these household names; some going right back to the 70s. For those ‘youngsters’ or those new to reggae music we have a quick recap on the headline acts and why they deserve their names in reggae history.


Freddie McGregor was born in 1956 in Clarendon, Jamaica. He is a singer, musician and producer. McGregor’s profession started as early as seven years old when in 1963 he joined with Ernest Wilson and Peter Austin to form The Clarendonians, and started to record for the incredible Studio One label. Freddie also worked with producer Niney the Observer during the late 1970s and early 1980s. His reputation took off in the early 1980s with the release of “Bobby Babylon”.


Other massive hits included “Big Ship”, “Push Comes to Shove”, “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely “and “I Was Born a Winner”; as well as cover versions of many early reggae standards. He worked with a roster of producers Junjo Lawes, Linval Thompson and Gussie Clark. McGregor has likewise toured in America, Canada, and Europe and is a familiar face over here in the UK.


Apart from creating the Big Ship Recording Studio, he has been partly responsible for the genesis of artists like Luciano and Mikey Spice. His lyrics are heartfelt and spiritual so it’s no surprise to learn that he’s a member of Twelve Tribes organisation.



King Jammy, (pictured above) born Lloyd James in Kingston, Jamaica, was the undisputed king of reggae sound systems during the 80s. Keen on little else yet the sound system business from an early age, he started by building amplifiers and repairing electrical appliances from his home in the Waterhouse area of downtown Kingston.


Very soon after he was playing live with his own sound system as Prince Jammy. He was even recognised by the mighty King Tubby, another Waterhouse inhabitant, with whom Jammy frequently worked. In the early ’70s Jammy left Jamaica to work in Canada, where his reputation had gone before him, and he was soon working on live stage productions and playing with local sounds.


He remained for a couple of years before coming back to Kingston to set up his first at his in-laws’ home in Waterhouse. Countless artists made their debut on the Jimmy’s label, with the singer Half Pint being a notable name.  His real breakthrough came at the end of 1985 with the release of Wayne Smith’s ‘Under Me Sleng Teng’. This revolutionary record used a slowed down, pre-set rock & roll rhythm from a Casio music box. Jammy went from Prince to a King and ruled the Jamaican music scene for the rest of the decade.  He then went to produced music for a great number of popular artists including the legendary Shabba Ranks, one of the most successful DJs of the raga era.


Yellowman was born in Winston Foster in Kingston, Jamaica in 1956, King Yellowman was deserted at an early age by his family because of his albinoism so subsequently grew up in the Maxfield Park Children’s Home and the Alpha Boy’s Home. In the early 1980s, a string of hit singles, including “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt,” “Operation Eradication” and “Mad over Me,” bolstered his profile further.


His success fueled a transition from mainstream reggae to the dancehall music that was increasingly played in Jamaican nightclubs. In addition to the political references in his music, he became known for his overtly sexual lyrics, which became known in the reggae music world as “slackness.” Such graphic sexuality, together with references to casual violence and homophobia, brought him early popularity but also a growing number of detractors.


Yellowman is known for his live stage acrobatics including umping around on stage and doing press ups. He is a massive crowd pleaser and can easily engage with any crowd playing for over two hours straight on many occasions. With King Yellowman you are guaranteed a stunning value for money night.


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