Mon | Jun 26, 2017

U Roy Set For First NY Performance In Over 25 Years

Published:Thursday | May 11, 2017 | 5:00 AMDave Rodney
U-Roy
Freddie McGregor
Ken Boothe
Leroy Sibbles
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U-Roy set for first NY performance in over 25y

Jamaican music icon and pioneer, U Roy, who ruled the charts in the '70s with classic anthems like Penny for Your Song (with Derrick Harriott), Stop That Train, Dread inna Babylon, Wake the Town, Rule the Nation and Wear You to the Ball (with John Holt), is scheduled to perform in Queens on Sunday, June 25.

'The Originator', as he is also called, has earned an invitation to dazzle the audience at New York's Groovin' in the Park concert at the Roy Wilkins Park, where he will join reggae/rocksteady hitmaker Freddie McGregor, chart-topper Ken Boothe and music magician Leroy Sibbles. All four acts will form part of a special package that celebrates the magic of the rocksteady/reggae era. This will be U-Roy's first outdoor concert performance in New York City in more than 25 years, and he is elated by this unique opportu-nity to take the audience on a journey down memory lane.

"This performance is a big, big thing! The last time I performed outdoor in New York was with Toots in Central Park in the '80s," he recalled.

"I have heard about Groovin' in the Park, but this is the first time I am being invited to perform. Its an honour, and I will do my best to please everyone," he affirmed.

U-Roy is a major magnet for reggae audiences in Europe and Africa. A few years ago, he had a minor hit stateside with singer Richie Stephens called Real Reggae Music. A follow-up single, Nah Complain, with entertainer Kafinal, topped reggae charts in Canada and New York. Earlier this year, he recorded Pumps & Pride with singer Tarrus Riley, and it is getting traction on numerous stations in the diaspora. But his monster smash is still his collaborative song, Wear You to the Ball, which was released with John Holt in the early '70s. It reached No. 1 on the Jamaican charts and stayed there for 12 weeks.

game changer

"Wear You to the Ball changed everything with my music career, and it is still to date my biggest success. It is requested by fans everywhere I perform. Fans just love it," he disclosed.

When asked which other artiste he would consider recording with, the Wake the town singer said emphatically, "I would love to do a collaboration with Mariah Carey. She has a musical range that only Minnie Riperton can match. She is a high-grade singer. I also love Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, and Whitney Houston. These are some of the best singers of all time," he said.

Groovin' in the Park, is New York's annual premier reggae/R&B outdoor music extravaganza, and this year's event will also feature R&B sensation R. Kelly.

diademata@aol.com