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Lloyd Charmers

Lloyd Charmers' career (born Lloyd Tyrell) spans some of the most fertile periods of Jamaica's musical history. From the late-'50s era of Jamaican shuffle R&B and the subsequent ska boom, to the rocksteady and roots reggae of the late '60s and early '70s, Charmers made valuable contributions not only as a vocalist, but as a session musician and producer, as well.

Charmers first broke into the Kingston music scene as a member of the singing duo the Charmers, which also featured vocalist Roy Willis. After scoring a few hits in the late '50s, the group caught the attention of rising producer and future reggae legend Clement "Coxsone" Dodd. Cut for a variety of Dodd labels, including All Stars, World Disc, and Coxsone, the Charmers' output for the producer included their biggest smash, "Jeannie Girl," a song featured on Coxsone's famous debut collection, All Star Top Hits. Continuing under Dodd's newly setup Studio One imprint, Charmers and Willis maintained their high profile into the ska and rocksteady period during 1962-1967.

Spurred on by one of the day's top singers, Alton Ellis, Charmers took up the piano in 1966. A few years later, he was an accomplished enough player to form a band of his own with a few friends. Also featuring Charmers on organ, the lineup included guitarist Alva "Reggie" Lewis and the sibling duo of drummer Carlton "Carlie" Barrett and bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett. Dubbed the Hippy Boys, the group soon fell into the camp of fledgling producer Bunny "Striker" Lee. Their first date with Lee was as the backup band on alto saxophonist Lester Sterling's instrumental hit "Bangarang." Renamed the Bunny Lee Allstars, the band eventually backed a slew of Lee acts, including Ken Parker, Max Romeo, Pat Kelly, John Holt, and Slim Smith & the Uniques (Charmers would also spend some time singing for the Uniques). Buoyed by their reputation for laying down some of the rawest and driving rhythms of the time, the Hippy Boys were soon sought after by such other young producers of the time as Sonia Pottinger, Harry J., and Lloyd Daley; they even hooked up with the idiosyncratic Lee Perry, who changed their name to the Upsetters for his sessions. During this time, Charmers and company also cut some amazing instrumental sides under the Hippy Boys name, all of which were produced by Charmers. Covering the years 1969-1970, these incredible tracks were released on such albums as House in Session, Reggae Charm, and Reggae Is Tight (these titles have long been out of print, but some of the tracks can be found on the fine 1998 Reggae Retro collection Psychedelic Reggae).

Having picked up valuable studio experience, both with Lee and in overseeing the Hippy Boys sessions, Charmers launched his own Splash label in the early '70s (he would also release material on the Soul Beat and Wild Flower labels). Featuring his sophisticated, Philly soul-inspired arrangements, Charmers' output included several hits by the Gaylads, B.B. Seaton, Lloyd Parks, and Ken Boothe. Boothe, in fact, proved to be Charmers' biggest act, scoring such smashes as "Have I Sinned," "Black, Green & Gold," and the Bread cover "Everything I Own." Including another Boothe hit, "Crying Over You," Charmers penned many of the cuts used for his sessions. He even found time to maintain a successful career as a singer in his own right, scoring early-'70s hits like "Oh Me Oh My" and "Rasta Never Fails." Charmers also produced several instrumental and proto-dub sides during this time, which often featured his session band Now Generation, led by guitarist Mickey Chung.

Unfortunately, not much is known about Charmers' whereabouts after his successful stint as a producer in the first half of the '70s. Whether he is still working or even still alive is a good question. But, there are samples of his work available. In addition to the Psychedelic Reggae collection, curious listeners can check out his production work on Boothe's Everything I Own album for Trojan and guitarist Willie Lindo's instrumental disc Far & Distant on Wild Flower. ~ Stephen Cook
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: All Shook Up - A Reggae Tribute To The King

1. Don't Be Cruel

3. All Shook Up

6. Are You Lonesome Tonight?

7. Wooden Heart

9. Suspicion

10. Frankie And Johnny

12. You'll Never Walk Alone

14. In The Ghetto

15. Suspicious Minds

19. The Impossible Dream

21. Fever

23. Pledging My Love

x

Track List: Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980

x

Track List: Dawning Of A New Era: The Roots Of Skinhead Reggae

Disc 1

1. John Jones

2. Gimme Back

3. In Like Flint

9. (What A) Revenge

10. Fat Man

11. South Parkway Rock

12. Rescue Me

16. Mix It Up

17. Forest Gate Rock

19. She's So Fine

20. Magic Touch

Disc 2

1. Another Scorcher

2. The Avengers

5. Reggae Hit The Town

8. Splash Down

9. Peanut Vendor

11. My Argument

20. Reggae Girl

21. Spoogy

x

Track List: History Of Trojan Records: 1972-1995, Vol. 2

Disc 1

1. Them A Fe Get A Beatin'

4. Festival Da Da

6. Keep On Moving

7. All That We Need Is Love

8. S90 Skank

9. The Time Has Come

12. Money In My Pocket

13. Salvation Train

14. Loving Pauper

16. African Queen

17. Words Of My Mouth

18. Purify Your Heart

20. Stranger On The Shore

21. John Devour

22. Have I Sinned

24. Everything I Own

25. Help Me Make It Through The Night

Disc 2

1. Fire Burning

2. Sweet Bitter Love

3. Stalag 17

4. Here I Am Baby

5. None Shall Escape The Judgement

6. Ire Feelings

7. Play De Music

8. Forward Jah Jah Children

9. Jah Jah Bless The Dreadlocks

10. Hurt So Good

12. Duke Of Earl Dub

13. Soldering

14. Keep Cool Babylon

17. Ram Goat Liver

18. Heavy Manners

20. The People Got To Know

21. Love The Dread

23. You Are The Sun

x

Track List: Strange Breaks & Mr Thing

Disc 1

1. Why Don't You Take Us

2. Troubled People

3. Yes We Can Can

6. Soulful Illusion

9. I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More

10. Calypso Rock

11. Rocking Bird

12. Hogtied

13. Streakin'

15. Superstar (Remember How You Got To Where You Are)

16. Boxe Et Violence

18. Boogie Man

19. Godofallofus

20. Preludium Cis Moll

21. Tighten Up

22. Rocking Bird

Disc 2

1. Preludium Cis Moll

2. Streakin'

3. Troubled People

4. Yes We Can Can

5. Why Don't You Take Us

8. Tramp- Reszlet

10. Calypso Rock

12. Soulful Illusion

13. Boxe Et Violence

14. Superstar (Remember How You Got To Where You Are)

15. Boogie Man

x

Track List: The Big Gundown - Reggae Inspired By Spaghetti Westerns

2. Dollar A Head

3. Dollar In The Teeth

4. Return Of Django

5. A Fistful Of Dollars

6. Lee Van Cleef

8. The Undertaker

11. For A Few Dollars More

12. Death Rides A Horse

13. Death Rides A Horse

16. Eight For Eight

17. The Bad

18. Nevada Joe

19. Stranger In Town

21. The Law

23. Return Of The Ugly

24. Dollars & Bonds

x

Track List: Trojan Country Reggae Box Set

1. Mule Train

2. Help Me Make It Through The Night

6. Just Enough (To Keep Me Hanging On)

7. Missing You

8. Don't Touch Me

9. Kiss An Angel Good Morning

14. Guilty

15. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)

16. Little Green Apples

x

Track List: Trojan Country Reggae Box Set

x

Track List: Trojan Ganja Reggae Box Set - Marijuana In My Brain

Disc 1

1. Herbsman

2. Ganja Plane

3. Ishan Cup

4. Collie And Wine

6. Kaya

10. Pass The Pipe

12. Ganja Free

14. My Jamaican Collie

15. Feeling High

17. Herb Vendor

Disc 2

2. Calley Version

3. Bring The Couchie Come

5. Ganja

6. Collie Dread

7. Ashanti Ganja Dub

8. Free The Weed

11. Callying Butt

12. Chalice To Chalice

13. A Hundred Pounds Of Collie

14. I Love Marijuana

15. Jamaican Colley (Version)

16. Smoke Marijuana

17. Marijuana In My Soul

Disc 3

1. Collie Weed

2. Marijuana

3. Marijuana In My Brain

4. Herb

5. Collie Weed

6. Collie

8. Sensimilea

10. The Great Collie Herb

12. Babylon Don't Touch My Sensi Dub

15. Kaya

x

Track List: Trojan Instrumentals Box Set

Disc 1

1. Liquidator

3. Capo

4. Napoleon Solo

5. Fat Dog

7. Champion

8. Tom's Version

9. Tribute To King Scratch

10. East Of The River Nile

11. Eastern Standard Time

13. Make Yourself Comfortable

16. Tons Of Gold

17. For A Few Dollars More

Disc 2

1. The Russians Are Coming (Take Five)

2. Scarface

4. Top Secret

6. Contact

7. Guns Fever

8. Memphis Underground

9. The Hippy's Are Here

10. Tit For Tat

11. El Torro

12. Death A Come

13. The Saint

14. My Cherie Amour

Disc 3

1. Clint Eastwood

2. Way Of Life

3. Heads Or Tails

4. Last Call

5. El P**sy Cat Ska`

6. Memories Of Love

8. Eight Years After

9. Jumping With Mr. Lee

10. The Monster

11. Seven Guns Alive

12. Cloudburst

14. Don't Let Me Down

15. Green Island

16. Barabus

x

Track List: Trojan Motor City Reggae Box Set

Disc 1

1. You've Really Got A Hold On Me

3. The Further You Look, The Less You See

4. I Want A Love I Can See

5. The Way You Do The Things You Do

6. The Girl's Alright With Me

7. Since I Lost You

8. Baby I Need Your Loving

9. The Tracks Of My Tears

10. My Girl Has Gone (When You Were Mine)

11. Put Yourself In My Place

12. This Old Heart Of Mine

13. My Girl

14. It's Growing

15. Since I Lost My Baby

16. Don't Look Back

17. I Can't Help Myself

Disc 2

1. It's The Same Old Song

2. Born To Love You

3. Everybody Needs Love

4. Ain't That Peculiar

5. My World Is Empty Without You

6. A Place In The Sun

7. Get Ready

8. Gonna Give Her All The Love I've Got

9. The Love I Saw In You (Was Just A Mirage)

11. You're My Everything

12. That's The Way Love Is

13. You've Made Me So Very Happy

14. Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing

15. I Love You Madly

16. I Wish It Would Rain

Disc 3

1. For Once In My Life

2. Don't Know Why (I Love You)

4. What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)

5. Message From A Black Man

6. Slave

8. War

9. The Onion Song

10. I'll Be There

11. God Bless Whoever Sent You

12. It's A Shame

13. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

16. Let's Get It On

17. Your Kiss Is Sweet

x

Track List: Trojan: Club Reggae Box Set

Disc 1

1. Holly Holy

3. The Law

4. Groovy Situation

7. Cherry Oh Baby

8. To The Fields

9. Sweet Jamaica

10. Little Boy Blue

11. I Love Jamaica

12. Those Good Good Old Days

13. Mother And Child Reunion

14. Merry Up

16. Riot

17. Just A Dream

Disc 2

1. Louie Louie

3. Ebony Eyes

4. I'll Be True To You

5. Time Hard

6. Star Trek

9. Watch That Little Girl

11. Lottery Spin

12. Build It Up

13. Reggae Makossa

14. Ton Up Kids

15. Images Of You

16. Check Out Yourself

Disc 3

1. When Will I See You Again

2. Sweet Harmony

3. Darling You Send Me

5. Kung Fu Fighting

6. Solitary Man

7. Best Time Of My Life

8. Rock Your Baby

13. Come Lay Some Loving On Me

14. Some Guys Have All The Luck

15. This Monday Morning Feeling

16. Enter Into His Gates With Praise

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