Roy Wilson has died.

Pioneer singer Roy Wilson (no relative of Delroy Wilson) has passed away on Saturday June 2, 2012, at the age of 72. He had been ailing for some time, but the cause of his death is not known yet.

In 1958 Roy Wilson joined Joe Higgs to form the trailblazing Jamaican singing duo Higgs & Wilson. In those days, driving shuffle-boogies as well as a more romantic and tender sort of Jamaican r&b, which drew from both US blues balladeers and more teenage-oriented doo-wop groups, were popular in Jamaica. Besides solo artists like Jackie Edwards it were r&b duos such as Alton & Eddy and Higgs & Wilson that became very popular acts on the island.

Roy Wilson's first release (with Higgs) was "Oh Manny Oh" (WIRL) in 1958, which was one of the first records to be pressed in Jamaica and went on to sell 50,000 copies. Further successes for businessman and future Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga included the sublime gospel of "The Robe", "You Tell Me Baby," "Ska Ba Da", "Change Of Mind", and the early ballistic lyric of "Gun Talk".

Higgs & Wilson then went on to record cuts for producers such as Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd, Duke Reid, King Edwards, Byron Lee and Prince Buster, and again they delivered several popular records including "How Can I Be Sure", "Mighty Man", "Your Love Is Mine", "Love Not For Me", "Gone Is Yesterday", "Pain In My Heart", "If You Want Pardon", and the life-affirming "There's A Reward". The songs of Higgs & Wilson have lasted far better than the efforts of most of the duos of the time, not least thanks to the songwriting skills of Joe Higgs. Bob Andy once described Higgs & Wilson as "the best duo I heard in those days... Roy Wilson was a very good tenor, very good tenor."

The partnership with Joe Higgs dissolved in 1964 when Roy Wilson emigrated to the United States.

Sources: "The Rough Guide To Reggae", "Roots Rock Reggae: an Oral History of Reggae Music from Ska to Dancehall", "The Virgin Encyclopedia Of Reggae".


    Singles (with Joe Higgs):

  • Give Me A Try (Luxor)
  • Gun Talk (Luxor)
  • I Long For The Day (WIRL)
  • It Is A Day (WIRL)
  • Lover's Song (WIRL)
  • Oh Manny Oh (WIRL)
  • Pretty Baby (WIRL)
  • When You Tell Me Baby (WIRL)
  • Change Of Mind (WIRL)
  • Come On Home (WIRL)
  • How Can I Be Sure (Supreme)
  • Mighty Man (Supreme)
  • The Robe (WIRL)
  • Ska Ba Da (WIRL)
  • Bye And Bye (ND Records)
  • If You Want Pardon (Dutchess)
  • Deep In My Heart (Gay Disc)
  • Kisses (Gay Disc)
  • Last Saturday Morning (Beverly's)
  • Let Me Know (ND Records)
  • Praise the Lord (Beverly's)
  • Gone Is Yesterday (SEP)
  • Love Not For Me (SEP)
  • My Baby (Prince Buster)
  • Pain In My Heart (Islam)
  • To Spend An Evening (Islam)
  • There's A Reward (Wincox)
  • Your Love is Mine (Wincox)
  • Don't Mind Me (Clandisc)
  • Again (Humasound)