Saturday, September 5, 2009

Steely Lives On!

Sad to say that keyboardist, riddim builda & producer Wycliffe "Steely" Johnson, of the Steely & Clevie duo, passed away at age 47 on Sept. 1st, 2009 in a hospital in East Patchogue, New York. He was suffering from pneumonia after having recovered from kidney complications in December 2008. He had surgery for a blood clot in the brain shortly before he died. Steely started up as part of Sugar Minott's Youth Promotion crew playing keyboards on the Ghetto-ology album in 1978. He had also been a session player at Studio One throughout the late 70s, then saddled up pon the Roots Radics possee in the early 80s. It was while working on Hugh Mundell's Africa Must Be Free By 1983, at Lee Perry's Black Ark Studios, that Steely met Clevie. They then joined the ranks of King Jammy's crew in 1986, ushering in the minimal electronic sound that followed the Sleng Teng riddim an' ruled the dance by launching the label into digikal dominance, with a slew of tough riddims versioned by the biggest names of the time - cutting as many as 10 singles a week! In 1988, Steely & Clevie launched their own label, in their name, which produced many a hit and ran Silver Hawk Sound outta Barbicon, Kingston JA. So much a part of Jamaica's musical history, Steely & Clevie is a foundational sound that managed to stay up to the times - as their Street Sweeper riddim clearly shows today, still. Below is a 2 hour discussion session for the Red Bull Academy in 2005, that is well crucial, as it sheds light on Steely & Clevie's involvement in the development of the early sounds of dancehall, as well as their musical knowledge an' skills. Also courtesy of the one Sir Greg, there are links below to two Silver Hawk Sound sessions from the mid 80s an' early 90s, me nah forget fee post it, big thanks Iyah... Steely might be gone, but his music lives on!

Steely & Clevie (Partial) Discography

Silver Hawk VS Stone Love (Part 1)
Silver Hawk VS Stone Love (Part 2)

Silver Hawk - Inna Session 1986 (Part 1)
Silver Hawk - Inna Session 1986 (Part 2)

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