Bovine Ska and Rocksteady 2/25/15: Roy and Millie

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Roy and Millie Starlite

The Wonderful Vocals of Roy and Millie from 1963 on WIRL

This was a fun show and we were more than thrilled to send it out to all of you.  Starting off with a deep cut from the late sister of Alton Ellis, Hortense Ellis gave us the superb 1970 track, “Love Is The Key.” We continues with two full sets of early fast reggae ending with Gladdy Anderson’s 1969 vocal cut for Duke Reid, “Dollars and Cents,” which was released in England on the might Trojan label. As this week was without major snow for the first time all month, we felt the need to have a joyous spotlight in the form of a Roy and Millie spotlight.

Born in Clarendon, Jamaica to a sugar plantation overseer, Millie Small began her music career on the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour. After winning the contest, Millie decided to move to Kingston for a greater opportunity to record and perform. As a young teenager, she first recorded Sugar Plum at Studio One with Owen Gray in 1962, which Roy Panton harmonized with her on because Coxone Dodd wanted a stronger voice on her part because Millie’s voice was much higher than other female voices. And after that initial collaboration, Coxone, seeing the success of the male-female duo through Derrick and Patsy, he suggested Roy and Millie sing as a duo, which was a good instinct; they would see so much local success and popularity together that Millie would eventually capture the attention of Chris Blackwell, who led her to her mega hit in England, My Boy Lollipop. We begun this spotlight on Roy and Millie, starting off with their first recording as a duo together, “We’ll Meet,” which was a debut hit for them that rose to the top ten of the Jamaican charts in 1962.

They would record many times afterwards Roy Panton would continue his recording career as a solo artist and with Yvonne Adams (Harrison) and they still perform to this day. Sadly, the whereabouts of Millie Small are unknown.  We know that she emigrated to England and has a daughter but little else is known. In 2011, Millie was awarded the Order of Distinction in Jamaica but the former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga, excepted it for her in her absence.

Listen to the full program: HERE.

Enjoy! The archive will be available until 3/9/2015

 

 

 

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