Lynn Taitt, whose contribution to early Jamaican music is almost immeasurable, is not a Jamaican at all. He was born Nearlin Taitt in Trinidad in 1934 and learned his first musical skills on a steel pan. From there he moved to a ukulele and then, finally to the guitar.

In his mid 20s, while still in Trinidad, he joined a group called the Dutchy Brothers as a guitarist and then two years later, he formed his own Nearlin Taitt Orchestra.

In 1962, his group had the opportunity to go to Jamaica as the backing band for various calypso singers to perform as part of Jamaicas independence celebrations. At the end of the tour, Lynn decided to stay in Jamaica and joined an established band called the Sheiks. From here, he formed his own band, the Cavaliers.

One of his first recording sessions was "Shank I Sheck" at the Duke Reid Treasure Isle studio as part of a band which included Baba Brooks, Ska Campbell, Tonmmy McCook and Roland Alphonso.

From there, he worked with all the major Jamaican musicians as part of the Baba Brooks Big Band, the Skatalites and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics.

In 1964, he formed his own group, Lynn Taitt and the Comets. In 1966, he replaced it with a new group: Lynn Taitt and the Jets and it was this band which became the main studio band all throughout the Rocksteady era. He played and did musical arrangements for all the major producers of the mid-60s, including Bunny Lee, Duke Reid, Joe Gibbs and Coxsone Dodd.

He is credited with introducing the flat-bodied electric guitar to Ska and his immediately recognisable percussive, plucking guitar style proved tailor-made for the Rocksteady style which followed it in 1966. He is credited with having created the first Rocksteady bassline on the song "Take It Easy" by Hopeton Lewis: in fact, many credit him as the inventor of Rocksteady itself. Certainly, he was the guitarist and probably the musical arranger of every credible claimant to the title of the first Rocksteady recording.

Westbury stablemate Derrick Morgan is quite clear on the point: "Lynn Taitt? Hes the man who changed Jamaican music right round from Ska to Rocksteady."

In August 1968, just as Rocksteady was beginning to become Reggae, Lynn went on a short tour to Canada and, just as had in Jamaica six years earlier, decided he liked the style of country and stayed. He left, though, a huge influence on up-and-coming Reggae musicians, as well as a recorded legacy that spanned many hundreds, if not thousands, of Ska and Rocksteady tracks.

He is still a very busy performer and musical arranger in Canada, despite being now in his 70s.

There are excellent extensive biographies by Tim Perlich and Jim Dooley on a website created by Moss Raxlen on


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Lynn Taitt by Westbury Music