Jah Woosh has passed away.

Only a few months after reggae fans mourned Gregory Isaacs' death, another reggae artist, the 58-year old DJ Jah Woosh, has passed away on Monday 21st February 2011. Despite having scored five #1 DJ albums in UK's Black Music Magazine, he never reached huge popularity and wide acknowledgement throughout a long period in his musical career. Jah Woosh was no U Roy, Big Youth, Dennis Alcapone or I Roy, but he was fresh and the fact that he had come through with an album, and not a long series of hit singles, was appreciated in those days. The cause of his death is currently unknown.

THE RELIGIOUS DREAD.

Neville Beckford aka Jah Woosh was born on the 16th September 1952 in Kingston, Jamaica. Before starting his musical career he served an apprenticeship as a mechanic. He and his friend Reggae George started out singing together and attended auditions with Jamaica's top producers like Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid under the name of Neville & George. However they didn't have any luck and thus their partnership was short-lived and both went on to pursue solo careers.

Actually Neville Beckford's career took off when he became resident DJ on Tivoli Garden based Prince Lloyd's sound system. After about three years chatting on the mic for Prince Lloyd, he moved on. He then recorded his very first song for an unknown producer named George "Blue" Bell in 1971. He was setting up his own label and took Jah Woosh to Channel One studio to record "Angela Davis", a tribute to the black freedom fighter, on Little Roy's "Prophesy" riddim, which was supplied by Blacka Morwell of The Morwells. That debut record appeared on the "Marijuana World Tour" album as a hidden bonus track. After that he recorded "Try A Thing" for Blacka Morwell.

Next he met Rupie Edwards, which resulted in the release of his self-titled debut album in 1974, which was released in Jamaica on Edwards' Success label and on the Cactus imprint in the UK. After Rupie Edwards he went on to work with Phil Pratt for whom he recorded "Psalm 121", "Zion Sound", "Rat Inna Me House", and "The Envious Version Thing". With these and recordings for other producers, he enjoyed a brief spell of fame. Following his success, he recorded a self-production with the Mighty Clouds Band, resulting in the release of the "Dreadlocks Affair" album on Trojan Records. The Dudley Swaby produced "Psalms Of Wisdom" and Leonard Chin's "Chalice Blaze" both appeared in 1976 as well. All three sets were hits, and featured such smash singles as "Ital Feast," "Dreadlocks Affair," "Shimmy Skank," and "Natty Bal' Head". Then the release of the "Religious Dread" set in 1978 produced a successful run in the Jamaican reggae charts. The same year he released the "Gathering Israel" album, which was merely the icing on the cake. A split set with I-Roy, "We Chat You Rock", was also recorded during this period.

As the end of the 1970s approached, Jamaica was becoming awash with DJs, and with his popularity having peaked, he decided to leave the Island. This was achieved by hooking up with a group of UK/JA musicians who were collectively soon to become the recording and touring unit known as Creation Rebel. Jah Woosh's "Marijuana World Tour" album, recorded at the Black Ark, Randy's and King Tubby's, and produced by the "Rebels Of Creation", was the first result of this partnership. It was initially released on the short lived Creation Rebel label and subsequently on Jah Woosh's Original Music imprint. As the 1980s pressed on and reggae music turned digital, Jah Woosh came to dislike the new technology and lost interest in recording. Consequently, he moved on once again, this time settling in Ghana, Africa, where he continued to run his Original Music label, ensuring that much of his back catalogue remained relatively easy to uncover. Because he also worked as a producer, self-producing much of his work from 1976 onwards, and producing other artists such as Bim Sherman, Horace Andy, Larry Marshall, and his old friend Reggae George, he also released works of other artists on his Original Music label including the compilation "In A Rub A Dub Style".

Sources: More Axe, Wikipedia, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Roots Archives, and Full Watts Reggaezine.
Jah Woosh
1952-2011




SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

  • Jah Woosh (1974) Success / Cactus
  • DJ Legend (1974-79) Original Music
  • Chalice Blaze (1976) Midnite / Student
  • Dreadlocks Affair (1976) Trojan
  • Psalms Of Wisdom (1976) Black Wax / Ja-Man
  • Jah Jah Dey Dey (1976) Success / Cactus
  • Lick Him With The Dustbin (1977) K&B
  • Gathering Israel (1978) Dread & Dread
  • Religious Dread (1978) Trojan
  • Marijuana World Tour (1979) Creation Rebel / Original Music
  • We Chat You Rock (with I Roy) (197?) Form Records
  • Ital Movement (197?) Abraham
  • Rebellion (with Sis Bee) (1981) Form Records
  • Sing And Chant With Jah Woosh (1982) September
  • Some Sign (1985) Sky Juice