I was introduced to Leroy Smart about 20 years ago by my then room mate Rich, aka Prime Mundo. He had a stash of really good Jamaican pressed LPs in his closet, one of them was a Leroy Smart record. He told me a story of going to see Leroy perform sometime in the 80’s with a mutual friend in West Philly. They were the only white boys in the joint, and when the lights went down, the patrons who were dressed to the nines, let the Collie flow. Now these guys were in tees and jeans, and afraid they would get caught lighting a joint in the place. Imagine? Relieved, I believe the smoked said joint and that the Leroy Smart show was one of the best Reggae shows he has seen live. If not for the atmosphere, but for Smart’s music and presence as well. Here’s something I dug up a while ago on the cheap. It’s Leroy Smart with “Sugar My Coffee” from his 1979 Lp Let Everyman Survive on G.G.’s/ Hit Records.
Leroy Smart was born in Jamaica in 1952. A product of the Alpha Boys School (like many other Reggae performers), and orphaned at 2, Smart went on to become one of the most respected and talented Jamaican singers in Jamaican music. The stories of struggle and anguish come right through his music, and is known for his stage presence and outlandish behavior just as much as his songs. He, like many other Jamaican vocalists made the rounds on the island and worked with a variety of producers along the way. He got with producers such as Mr. Caribbean, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Rodway, Bunny Lee, Gussie Clarke and Joseph “Joe Joe” Hookim among others. With a gravely voice and a penchant for love songs, his mid 70’s Roots period and late 70’s switch to performer/ producer (not to mention his colorful character traits) won him over to Reggae fans in Jamaica as well as the world over. His powerful sides such as “Pride an Ambition” as well as “Ballistic Affair” further solidified Smart as the real deal. Look for Smart in the who’s who of Reggae films, Rockers, a have here at FMF. At 60 years old, Leroy Smart still continues to perform today.
Recorded at Channel One, “Sugar My Coffee” is one in a long list of Smart love songs. As soulful and catchy song, the backing band on this track includes Sly Dunbar, Tommy McCook, Ansel Collins, Winston Wright, and Bingy Bunny among others. The Tamlins and the Righteous Flames smooth out the background vocals while Leroy croons his way to another woman’s heart. Not just a client, but the player president as well. I’ve seen this record go for $100 on this pressing, while I wouldn’t and didn’t pay that, it’s a great Lp all the same. Enjoy.
Leroy Smart Reggae Sunsplash ’92