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Monday, August 31, 2009

Reggae Legend battles for Life

Wycliffe ‘Steely’ Johnson, of Steely and Clevie fame, is in critical condition at a New York hospital but the music fraternity has been praying for his recovery.
“We want to keep a positive mind,” Clevie Brownie, the other half of the dancehall pioneering duo. “The chance of his survival is slim.”

Johnson is suffering from pneumonia having recovered from kidney complications in December, said Brownie, who has been in contact via phone and saw him in July.
“When I left him in New York he was bouncing back and recovering, then he got pneumonia and it took him down. bad, bad, bad,” Brownie relayed, adding that family and friends have been praying.

Steely started his career as the original keyboard player with the Roots Radix Band which backed Gregory Isaacs, Bunny Wailer and numerous other artistes both on tour and in the recording studio, and also played on a number of hit recordings for various producers in the 70s. Steely also played on a large number of hit recordings for various artistes.

Noted as the pioneers of dancehall, but certainly not limited to this genre, Steely and Clevie have worked together for 30 years with domestic and international artistes of many styles with great success.

Steely and Clevie first worked together in 1974 at Harry J’s Studio working on songs produced by Augustus Pablo. During the 80s, Steely and Clevie was employed as session musicians for King Jammy’s, Bobby Digital, Techniques, Redman International, Music Works and Penthouse labels and others.

Clevie started his musical journey as a member of the noted Browne musical family, beginning as lead singer of the Browne Bunch’s 1972 debut single We’ve Got A Good Thing Going. He was inspired by the professionalism of the group’s producer Geoffrey Chung (a leading producer of his era) who would pay as much attention to the business as he would the production of music.

Steely and Clevie say they contributed to three-quarters of top dancehall songs in the 80s. Their influence, however, continues today having worked with No Doubt, Sean Paul, Elephant Man, and others.

Clevie is the immediate past chairman of the Recording Industry Association of Jamaica where he now sits on the board. He also serves on the boards of Jamaica Music Society, Jamaica Signature Beats and serves on the Reggae Academy steering committee.


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