Michael Buckley drops EP on March 13
Of the flood of singers Waterhouse produced in the late 1970s, Michael Buckley never made headlines like Michael Rose, Junior Reid or Wayne “Sleng Teng” Smith. However, his patented baritone has influenced the likes of Bushman and Luciano.
On March 13, I Know The King, the veteran artiste’s first EP, will be released by Stingray Records. It may be his best shot at mainstream success.
The eight-song project has some impressive efforts, including the title song and a cover of Brook Benton’s Rainy Night in Georgia. According to Buckley, working with Stingray Records founder Carlton “Dilly” McLeod was a big difference.
“Him do good production an’ him know mi range. Dilly spend time pon him thing an’ wi get some good results,” said Buckley.
In his late 50s, Buckley is best known in dancehall circles for Send Another Sound Come, a song that won many a sound system clash. Produced by Lloyd “King Jammy” James, it was released in 1989.
Buckley reveres his years on the sound system circuit, but admits he wasn’t at his best when it came to recording.
“Is a whole heap a distractions inna Jamaica an’ some a di song dem coulda better. With Dilly, him sey ‘listen to dis’ an’ wi tek wi time,” he said.
One of the songs they spent time on was Rainy Night in Georgia, a popular ‘Sunday song’ in Jamaica.
“Mi know di chorus from mi a youth but mi neva know di song word fi word. Mi jus’ listen it an’ voice it same time,” he said.
Buckley was born and raised in Waterhouse. While attending Haile Selassie Secondary School, his classmates included future dancehall stars Tenor Saw and Wayne Smith.
All went on to record for James. Interestingly, it was Iris “Moma Iris” James, King Jammy’s wife, who produced Don’t Stand Up And Loaf, Buckley’s first song.
Over the years, he recorded for several producers including Mikey Bennett and Shocking Vibes. His influence can be heard through acts like Bushman, particularly on Call The Hearse, the song which announced that singer in 1997.
Though he has performed in Europe and North America, Buckley has never shed his reputation as a sound system artiste.
I Know The King may just be his fork in the road.
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer