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Rod Taylor has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most crucial roots reggae singers to emerge in the golden years of the 1970s. He was born in 1957 and grew up in the Trenchtown (Rema) ghetto of the capital Kingston.

Like many of his peers, he began singing at a young age and by the early 70s he had formed a harmony trio called The Aliens, alongside fellow roots hero Barry Brown and a Chinese youth called Johnnie Lee. The group split up before recording any tunes and Rod went solo, entering talent contests and looking for a break into the business. In 1975 he met producer Ossie Hibbert and cut his first tune “Bad Man Comes And Goes”, recorded at Channel One and released on the Hound Dog label. The corresponding DJ version by Dillinger “Nuh Chuck It” helped Rod’s cut get greater attention, and he started to make a name for himself.

After recording a number of tunes which remained unreleased (including an album for Linval Thompson), Rod hooked up with Greenwich Farm producer Bertram Brown’s classic Freedom Sounds label, which were releasing a succession of tough roots 45s by artists like Prince Alla, Earl Zero and Philip Fraser, all underpinned by mighty Soul Syndicate rhythms. Rod recorded 3 tunes for the label - “Ethiopian Kings”, “In The Right Way” and “Don’t Give It Up” - all recognised as bonafide roots reggae classics.

Rod then released a succession of wicked 45s like “His Imperial Majesty” and “Hail HIM” for Mikey “Dread” Campbell; “No One Can Tell I About Jah” for Prince Far I and a vital album for Prince Hammer entitled “If Jah Should Come Now”. Most these classic cuts from this period are compiled onto the excellent Patate Records compilation “Ethiopian Kings 1975-80”.

In 1980 Rod cut the album “Where Is Your Love Mankind” for producer Henry “Junjo” lawes, which was released on the Greensleeves label. He continued to record throughout the 1980s, although with not the same level of success.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Rod relocated to France where he still resides today. He recorded two albums for UK roots producer Robert Tribulation in the 90s - “Liberate” and “Tell Dem”, which were well-received in the UK roots scene at the time.

The new millenium has seen Rod re-emerge again, appearing at live shows and continuing to record. A set for Jah Warrior comprising of brand new songs is due for release soon, and he has recorded an album with his own band, which will be released in France. It includes a fantastic re-cut of his anthem “His Imperial Majesty”.

A visit to the Third Eye studio in January 2002 to voice dubplate specials led to Rod voicing “Going Home”, a heartful anthem, produced by Rootsman. Rod Taylor’s voice still sounds as fresh and clear as it did in his youthman days - expect to hear more classics from him in the years to come.

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