Louisa Marks has passed away.
One of the UK's greatest Lovers Rock singers, Louisa Marks, has died aged 49 from a suspected food poisoning at her home in Gambia, Africa, on Saturday 17th 2009. Voted top female reggae vocalist of 1978 ahead of Marcia Griffith, she was the first to deliver a true lovers rock record with her 1975 monster Lloydie Coxsone produced hit "Caught You In A Lie", a plaintive reading of Robert Parker's soul hit. The single, recorded when she was just 15, not only became synonymous with Lovers Rock, but also helped put Britain and this music genre on the global reggae map.
FIRST QUEEN OF LOVERS ROCK.
Louisa Marks was born in Shepherds Bush, London, in 1960 and first ventured into music business through the regular talent competitions held at the Four Aces Club in London, where she won for 10 consecutive weeks. Soundsystem operator and record producer Lloyd Coxsone, who provided acetates for the contestants to sing over at the contests, was impressed with her popularity, and took the fifteen-year old schoolgirl to the Gooseberry Studios for her first recording session. Backed by Matumbi she recorded her debut single "Caught You In A Lie", which became an instant hit, almost breaking into the popcharts of 1975. The single that appeared on Lloyd Coxsone's Safari imprint was impressive enough to see release in Jamaica by Augustus "Gussie" Clarke.
The second single with Coxsone, "All My Loving" (a cover of the Beatles' original), repeated the success even though it lacked the original winning formula. After leaving Hammersmith County School, where she had become a celebrity among the pupils, further releases surfaced including the beautifully crafted "Six Sixth Street" and "Keep it Like It Is" (later used by Trinity for his hit "Step It Brother Clem") for producer Clement Bushay. She stayed with Bushay for further releases including her rendition of Michael Jackson's "Even Though You're Gone", and her 1980 released debut album "Markswoman", which she felt was rush-released and improperly mixed. Truly unhappy with the album she did not record again for over a year. By 1982 she had resolved these disagreements and recorded a version of the Jones Girls' "Mum And Dad", arranged by Sly & Robbie. In the same year her second full length album, Breakout", was released on Clement Bushay's Bushranger imprint. It included Louisa Marks' two most memorable tunes "Caught You In A Lie" and "Six Sixth Street" as well as some essential tracks for any blues dance in the late 1970s.
Louisa Marks later became disillusioned with the recording industry and over the years concentrated on working with young producers. Some of them described her as bitter and eccentric, while many greatly appreciated her talent and contribution to the British reggae scene. Her sweet vocal style has touched many fans of the genre and her tunes will surely remain favourites at any revive session to come.
Sources: "The Rough Guide To Reggae" and "The Virgin Encyclopedia Of Reggae".