Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Heavy Heavy Reggae”: Surprisingly Light

A fellow music fanatic (Tom Avazian) once let me check out a stack of old 45s from Jamaica he had just acquired, and one of the singles that caught my ear was a dance-oriented track from the early reggae period that had a curiously lowdown sound even with all the uptown trappings – “Heavy Heavy Reggae (Johnny Reggae)” by The Roosevelt Singers out of the Harry J Recording Studios:

“Heavy Heavy Reggae (Johnny Reggae)”

The Roosevelt Singers (1971)

Originally released in 1971 on the Roosevelt label, this single was also released the following year in the UK under a variant title (“Johnny Reggae”) on the Sioux label:

Heavy Reggae - The Roosevelt Singers

Alternate vocal track released in the UK –

Johnny Reggae” by The Piglets


Bonus History!

Harry J Fun Facts:

  • Harry Zephaniah Johnson, famed Jamaican reggae record producer, was of African, Sicilian, and Scottish descent.
  • The Staples Singers classic 1972 hit, “I’ll Take You There,” features an introduction that was actually lifted from “The Liquidator” by The Harry J All-Stars (a 1969 Top 10 UK hit).
  • Harry J’s studio appears in the 1977 feature film, Rockers.


LINK to Harry J Records discography

LINK to Pop +/- Strings Reggae

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