deejay I Roy dead at 57
(American reggae singer also passes
BY BASIL WALTERS JA
Observer staff reporter
Old school deejay, I Roy, became the ninth Jamaican
entertainer to die this year. Last Saturday, the once
popular toaster took his final breath at the Spanish
Town Hospital after a long illness. He was 57.
Born Roy Samuel Reid, the veteran recording artiste
was, in the late 1960s, a leading exponent of what is
now known as "counter action" records ("tracing"
One of the wittiest and perhaps the most intelligent of
the mike-chanters, I Roy will best be remembered for
his intense name-calling exchanges with rival deejay,
However, in recent times, as was reported in a July
edition of our sister paper, ExcesS, the once
flambouyant entertainer virtually lived out the title of
his 1973 Gussie Clarke/Trojan album,
In fact, his last days also epitomised the title of
another of his over two dozen albums, Crisis
which he recorded for Caroline/Virgin in 1976.
Imagine sleeping on the streets of Spanish Town sick
and penniless with his only care-giver being a
mentally-challenged son. Add to that predicament, the
violent death of another son in the St Catherine
District Prison a mere four weeks ago, and what you
will get is a tale of woe.
Producer Gussie Clarke with whom I Roy enjoyed his
halcyon years, described I Roy's story as "tragic".
Clarke, for whom the crafty story-teller also recorded
Time, Tripe Girl and Magnificent
Seven, said: "For me he was too much of a
gentleman for the game he was in. And this perhaps,
in a way, led to his demise. (He was) One of the
proudest human beings who would never
compromise his principles."
And speaking from Miami, this is how veteran
producer, Harry Mudie remembered I Roy: "I was the
first producer for whom he recorded. His first tune
was Musical Pleasure, I would say he was one of
the more intelligent deejays that come out of
Jamaica. Very witty, he also recorded Drifter in
combination with Dennis Walks, Heart Don't Leap
and It May Sound Silly."
While I Roy was making his exit from this life, around
the same time in California, Tynsi Lyons-Tariq also
died, from cancer.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she was not as well known
as I Roy, but spent years here making a contribution
to Jamaica's music.
For 13 years, Tynsi, the name she is known by, had
been a regular back-up singer at studio sessions
providing harmony for numerous artistes.
She appeared with the Mutual Life Jazz Players, Jon
Williams and Friends. She also performed with Bunny
Wailer and Andrew Tosh; worked on recording
projects with Bunny Wailer, Black Uhuru, Mutabaruka,
Sly and Robbie and Julian Marley, among others.
She had to her credit the single Spread Selassie I
Teachings written by veteran percussionist Harry T
and the album, Do Unto Others. Also, Tynsi
combined her talent with deejay Natty Pablo on
Natural Woman, a take off from Selassie I