Anthony Doyley has passed away.
In the week that the 58-year old DJ Jah Woosh trodded into Zion, another fine reggae artist passed away on Saturday 26th February 2011. Anthony Doyley -- founding member, leadsinger and songwriter of the roots group Knowledge -- died in London at the age of 55.
Before Anthony Doyley and Michael Smith formed the group Knowledge in 1974, he had already recorded for Lee "Scratch" Perry in 1969. Together with a friend named Norman Edwards, he recorded a tune called "Civilization" under the name The Classics. However it was with the group Knowledge, initially consisting of Anthony Doyley, Michael Smith, Earl MacFarlane, Michael Samuels and Delroy Fawlin, that he established a good reputation. The group's debut, "Make Faith", featured producer/artist Tapper Zukie introducing them as his protégés, and proved a winning combination. They released a number of hits through Zukie's Stars label, which culminated in a major label signing in 1978. The contract was short-lived and in the early 80s the group went through a period of anonymity. In the mid-80s they recorded the "Strive For The Highest" set, released in 1987 by Tuff Gong in a limited edition of only 500 copies. When Athony Doyley had moved to London in the early 90s, he teamed up with Roy Cousins for whom he recorded the 1995 released "Stumbling Block" album.
Anthony Doyley about Knowledge:
"The birth place is important, because it's Trenchtown, Jamaica. Growing up in Trenchtown is one of the greatest experiences any human being could have. Because it's like, just for example, being around Joe Higgs, The Wailing Souls, Bob...I was there before he became a major star, and I think that was magnificent. Trenchtown is an amalgamation of stars; you had Collin Smith, a cricketeer, Percy Hell, a boxer, and Bunny Grant, then you had people like Alton Ellis... We're talking bout The Wailers, The Wailing Souls, The Heptones, The Maytals, Delroy Wilson! When I was growing up, it was like: wow! So with all these experiences, my little musical talent had to come, naturally. We sang on the corner, and people would pass and say: Yeah man, keep it up. That's what Trenchtown is like! At school, I was part of the choir, but it didn't come from that. It came from leaving school at the age of 18. I said to myself: You're gonna make a niche for yourself in this world, you have to. And the path that was open to me was Reggae music, because I was there when it was happening. So I said to a friend of mine called Michael Smith: Let's form a group. And he said to me: You know how long I have been waiting to hear that! So me say OK, there's another person I know who can sing, and just as I was talking about him, Earl MacFarlane showed up. I said to him: We're gonna form a group, do you want to be part of it? That's how Knowledge came about.
Later Michael Samuels joined us and Delroy Fawlin. We produced our first record called "Camouflage"... But our first release was with Tapper Zukie. It was "Make Faith", "Zion We Want Fi Go", and "What's Yours". We met Tapper Zukie naturally, like a déjà vu thing. We were a group in Trenchtown and we didn't have any ideas of who would be our producer, but we were there working, rehearsing, writing songs, putting ourselves together as well, so we could understand each other. Tapper Zukie came back from England looking for a group to represent Trenchtown. And there was a group waiting for him. The moment he heard our first song, he said: Listen, let's go to the studio tomorrow. So we went and that's it. We did that "Hail Dread" album, which was released by A&M Records. Actually we were the first Reggae artists to go on A&M. Then, they took Dennis Brown, because Bob Marley grew to a proportion that allowed other artiststo grow with him as well. After that we did another album, released on a Swiss label called Roach. It's a strange story. I had this professor friend, whose wife saw an interview with Tapper Zukie, on TV, and she said she would like to do something for Trenchtown. She wrote Tapper Zukie a letter and came to Jamaica. She saw that she could do a lot and we worked just from there. We started to build a home for the elderly in Trenchtown, the Golden Age Center. I don't remember exactly how, but she had great influence in the Red Cross. At the time we were finishing an album, so she offered to have a Swiss company to produce it. We went to Switzerland, where the "Judgement" album was released. There was also a single with the songs "Man Talk Truth" and "Let Us All"... This album "Judgement", I haven't listened to for ages and ages."
Also read Peter I's extensive interview with Anthony Doyley.
Sources: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, and sleeve notes "Straight Outta Trenchtown.