Interview with U Brown.
Studio of RUNNetherlands ~ Maastricht ~ The Netherlands
26 - 12 - 1996

On Saturday Dec. 22, 1996 we teamed up with U Brown, who was voicing some specials and lots of radio calls for Reggae Vibes and two soundsystems - Cool Runnings and Back To Bass - at the RUNN Recording Studio.

The atmosphere was really great. The man himself - who was inspired by "daddy" U.Roy when he started his career - smoked some spliffs and worked his way through all the sessions with lots of vibes and irie feelings. U Brown was in great shape. He voiced some specials over Studio One riddims like "Swing Easy" & "Real Rock" and also did several versions on the "Drum Song" & "Haunted House" riddim, both riddims laid by Barry O'Hare. Further more he used Winston Riley's "Stalag" riddim for an excellent voiced special. Selector King Whitey from the Cool Runnings Soundsystem did a combination style recording. During a short break between two sessions we had the opportunity to do a little interview. He kindly answered our questions about his life and career.

U Brown started his career - being a thirteen year old boy - in 1969 working for several small soundsystems. He particulary remembers the one called "Antone The Killer". In 1975 he did his first album with Bunny "Striker" Lee, called "Satta Dread" (only released in the U.K. on Klik Records). Over the next couple of years U Brown recorded further more albums for Bunny - "Tribulation" (this one was distributed by Third World Records), "London Rock", "Revelation Time" and "Starsky & Hutch" as well as numerous 45s and unreleased tracks.

From that time on he started producing his own material and other artists for his own label "Hit Sound International". He produced two albums for his friend Al Campbell : "Mr. Music Man" (1978) and "Rainy Days" (1982). In 1978 he had his biggest hit in Jamaica, the single "Weather Balloon" and released an album with the same name in 1978. This "Weather Balloon" album was issued in Europe by Virgin and retitled "You Can't Keep A Good Man Down". In 1979 Virgin released "Mr.Brown Something".

From 1979 through 1981 he cut an album with the late great and sorely missed Delroy Wilson which has never been released. U Brown's album "Ravers Party" was issued by Trojan in 1981 and CSA put out the excellent "Jam It Tonight" in 1983. He also recorded 5 tracks for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One, but - to his knowledge - they we're never issued.

He remembers his performance at Jack Ruby's yard, way back in 1981. While everybody was waiting for Brigadier Jerry - who didn't show up - U Brown and the late Nicodemus did a real good show. [Check out the yard tape: "Can't Find Brigadier Jerry" - Jack Ruby Classic 1981]. U Brown moved to the USA in 1986 for "chilling out", but returned to Jamaica in 1991, where he teamed up with the Roof International crew. He feels comfortable in Ocho Rios and has cut several tracks with producer, musician and engineer Barry O'Hare for Barry's Xrated label. To name just a few: "Pretty Little Girl", "Stand Up Strong", "Conquering Lion" and "Roots & Culture" - combination style with his spiritual brother Prezident Brown.

He's now in the UK for business, trying to get his royalties from several record companies, who have been releasing his material over the years.

Selective discography:

Albums: Samplers: Dancehall Tapes:
  • Can't Find Brigadier Jerry (Jamaica, 1981)
  • Stur Gav "Reunion" at Clarendon (Jamaica, 1998)
  • Stur Gav "Foundation Dance" at St. Ann's Bay (Jamaica, 1998)
  • Stur Gav "The U.K. Tour" (U.K., 1998)
Text : Teacher & Mr. T Photographs : Quentin Esperse

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