Prior to the preparation for this week’s show, we were informed of the sad news of King Sporty’s passing. Consequently, this past week’s show featured a memorial on the great DJ who would emerge as an amazing songwriter and producer.
To begin the show, we began with two sets of rocksteady, including never-before-played tracks from The Merritone Singers and Victor Morris. We then heard mento from Count Owen, Lord Foodos, and Charlie Binger prior to a set of ska to precede King Sporty’s early ska toasting tracks.
King Sporty passed at the age of 71 in Miami on January 5th. Born as Noel G. Williams, King Sporty began his career in Jamaican music as one of Coxone Dodd’s DJs for his soundsystem. In Jamaica, King Sporty would record for Coxone and for Justin Yap prior to his move to Miami in 1968.
Upon his move and work in America, King Sporty would transition his writing and production into soul and disco. However,we will focus this spotlight on King Sporty’s own tracks in ska and reggae before he gained popularity in the world music arena. We will pay honor to the great talents of King Sporty in an one hour tribute of his best DJ recordings, beginning with his first vocal toasting track in ska named El Cid, which was released on Justin Yap’s Top Deck label.
Even though the memorial spotlight focuses on his own recordings, King Sporty was not only a phenomenal DJ and producer but also a talented songwriter. He penned many hits for Studio One and such well known tracks as the Blues Busters, “Thinking of You” and a song that he originally recorded that Bob Marley made globally famous, “Buffalo Soldier.”
In Miami, King Sporty opened up his labels, Tashamba and Konduko, allowing him to write, produce, and release his own recordings and those of artists he liked. During this time in Miami, King Sporty would become very close to the Miami soul scene, distributing records from his label through Henry Stone, the king of the Miami’s T.K. Records. Sporty also married Betty Wright, T.K. Records’ leading soul lady.
One of the tracks that King Sporty sold to Henry Stone was one from Lily’s favorite Glades/T.K. Records artists, Timmy Thomas. In fact, King Sporty had discovered Timmy Thomas’s “Why Can’t We Live Together” and brought the track to Henry Stone’s door. Stone purchased it from Sporty immediately and pressed it on his Glades label in 1972. The Timmy Thomas track gained traction on the American charts, and this would be one of King Sporty’s most successful discoveries within the Miami soul world.
Listen to the full program with King Sporty’s stellar recordings in ska, reggae, and even soul HERE.
Enjoy! The archive will be available until 1/27/2015.