The Federals were formed in Kingston, Jamaica, in the mid-'60s by Valman Smykle, A.J. Franklin (aka Franklin Spence), and Scotty (born David Scott) -- the latter two both born in Westmoreland and transplanted to Kingston -- who were performing professionally by the end of 1967. They were working in the Sombrero Club in Kingston when they were seen by former singer Derrick Harriott, a producer/promoter who took them under his wing. The Federals scored a hit with "Penny for Your Song," which put them on the map as one of the top new groups of the period and a major draw.
They endured across a string of subsequent singles, including "By the River" and "Shocking Love," that failed to chart, working under the aegis of Harriott, who booked them as part of a package tour known as "Derrick Harriott's Musical Chariot." Their lack of success and remuneration -- Harriott, like most producers of the period, regarded royalty payments as more of an abstract idea than an obligation, and the tour money that was the group's bread and butter had a limit -- took its toll, and in 1969 Smykle moved to New York. The Federals came to a halt until Scotty and Franklin were bailed out by Noel "Bunny" Brown, who joined and was followed into the lineup by Richard MacDonald. The quartet was renamed the Chosen Few, beginning a new and separate history. ~ Bruce Eder