Legendary reggae vocalist Junior Byles (Kenneth Byles Jr.) was born in 1948. Growing up in the church, he was influenced by the secular voices of Jackie Edwards, Slim Smith, Stranger Cole, The Maytals and the Wailers. Nicknamed Chubby, it was the moniker that he first recorded with. In 1967 he formed the Versatiles, with Louie Davis (who was also a member of the Morwells) and an Indian youth remembered only as Dudley. Their first singles were released on Joe Gibbs Amalgamated label that same year.

At the dawn of the 70s, Byles and his Versatiles found themselves at the creative hot bed that was Lee Scratch Perrys Black Ark Studios. Here commenced Byles most productive period. Certified classics like "Curly Locks," "Rasta No Pickpocket," "Place Called Africa," "Beat Down Babylon," "King Of Babylon," "Cutting Razor" and "Long Way" were all created at this time.
By the mid-seventies, Junior was a major star in Jamaica poised for international exposure. But, like his mentor, Lee Perry, he was acquiring a reputation for madness. While Perry was achieving his greatest success producing albums for Island Records by artists like the Heptones, Jah Lion (Jah Lloyd), Junior Murvin and Max Romeo, by 1976, Junior Byles was confined to the mental ward at Belvue Hospital in Kingston. Throughout the later part of the decade, Junior was in and out of the hospital sanitarium and yet still managed to make many great records for a variety of producers. There was "Chant Down Babylon" and "Pitchy Patchy" for the JaMan label, a remake of "King Of Babylon" for Niney and Lloyd Campbell, "False Leader" for Micron, and the classic "Fade Away" for Channel One.

In 2003, Junior performed at a number of sell-out shows in Jamaica and Europe. His are now being discovered by a new generation of music listeners as younger artists cover his songs and young producers re-visit the rhythms.


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Junior Byles by Westbury Music