We received the sad news about the untimely passing of Reggae legend Ronnie Davis on Wednesday January 25, 2017, aged 66.
Davis was born in 1950 in Savannah La Mar, Westmoreland and by the age of around 15 was a member of the early Wailing Souls.
By 1967 at 16/17, Davis teamed up with George Murphy and Maurice Johnson to become a member of the Tennors. The group would put out some classic sides for leading producers Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid and Clement Coxsone Dodd. Their 1967 #1 hit ‘Pressure And Slide’ for Dodd’s Studio One label, originally created by Prince Buster for his ‘Freezing Up Orange Street’, would become the template for many rhythms down the line and hence became one of the most sampled songs/rhythms in Reggae history.
After a few years, Davis left the Tennors and started recording for Bunny Lee in which songs such as ‘Sad News’ and ‘Lady Love’ surfaced in around the mid-1970s.
A little earlier, Ronnie recorded one of his famed tunes with his rendition of ‘My World.’ It is fair to say that Davis became one of the most prolific artists of the seventies.
The Roots group – the Itals was to be the next port of call for Davis soon after his tenure with the Tennors ended, and they had a massive amount of success, in Jamaica as well as Europe and America.
Numbers like ‘Ina Disa Time’ and ‘Brutal’ by the Itals are solid Roots classics.
For years Davis was virtually a solo artist with his band that contained his own musicians and players in it. By around 1996, he had a group/band by the name of Idren, aka Ronnie Davis & Idren that toured and recorded to high levels of success.
He was still recording up till his passing from a severe stroke. He recently released an album full of acoustic recordings of some of his classic hits
Chris Emanuel Bailey