Phillip Fraser (as his name should be spelled) was born in the Whitfield Town area of Kingston, Jamaica on the 12th day of February 1951. He grew up in a catholic family and attended Denham Town primary school and Holy Trinity school. Sometime during his late teens Phillip felt the inspiration of Rastafari and decided that the teachings were in line with his own inner feelings and so he joined the Rastafarian community.
Photo & text courtesy of Silver Kamel Audio / Colin Larkin's Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae.
Phillip was influenced and inspired to sing by the late Slim Smith. It was at this time that he entered talent contests at the Bohemian Nightclub on Maxfield Avenue, along with other hopeful unknowns, like The Mighty Diamonds. Phillip's popularity grew and soon he released "This Time" on the Libra label with Soul Syndicate supplying the backing track. Phillip then joined forces with Bertram Brown and formed the Freedom Sounds label. Bertram Brown was the producer/owner and Phillip Fraser alongside Prince Alla and Earl Zero were the first recording artists. Phillip's musical career went into overdrive with the releases of the Alton Ellis' cover "Breaking Up", "Come Ethiopians", "Single Man", "Two Thousand Years" and "Sentimental Feelings", a double a-side single backed with Prince Alla's "Sun Is Shining". Phillip also recorded for other labels, including Don Mais' Roots Tradition, Michael Chin & Tyrone Hailey's Cornerstone, and his own label, Razor.
Fraser's career enjoyed a boost when he recorded a version of the Studio One classic "Never Let Go" as a tribute to Slim Smith. His success continued with "Ain't No Sunshine", "Mr. Wicked Man", "Blood Of The Saint" and a tribute to his R&B idols "Special Request To The Manhattans". By 1978 his reputation had extended to Europe and the USA, resulting in an international tour. While in Britain he linked up with Silver Camel Sound System at the 100 Club in London's Oxford Street. The Sound diversified into distribution and began releasing a number of roots hits. The label secured the release of the "Blood Of The Saint" album and a rare Phillip Fraser compilation titled "Loving You".
When Fraser returned to Jamaica he recorded for Henry "Junjo" Lawes and Barry Clarke. The hits continued, including "Please Stay" and "When I Run Out", which both featured heavily on the Stur Gav Sound System and resulted in Fraser becoming a cult hero. By the mid-80s he was working with Bunny Gemini and Tristan Palma and had further hits with "Send Us Back Home", "Sad And Blue" and "Don't Ring My Doorbell". Throughout the late 80s and early 90s he surfaced with sporadic hits including a version of the Uniques' "Watch This Sound", a rendition of "If I Were A Carpenter", "Coming On Strong" and "It's Magic" over the Wailers' Hypocrites riddim.
Phillip's small frame and gentle manner belie the power of his voice, as you listen to him you can hear and feel the inspiration that guides him.