Father Festus Coxsone Bio (Sir Coxsone Sound System)
Clarke Eugene born in Jamaica in 1951 and from 1963 he’s the Father of the reggae scene. Father Festus Coxsone starts to play in Jamaica the age of thirteen, and for that reason he has the proper knowledge of black music from R&B, Ska, Rocksteady, Rubadub to the original roots of Reggae.
In 1963 he played longside Lady May Sound System, in one of the most popular dancehall venue at the time, called Leath Hall in Saint Thomas and running session around artists as Prince Buster Sound system, Count Nick Sound System, Canary Sound System.
In 17 April 65 came to England and just the day after he met lloydie, and they start Lloyd the Mathador Sound System running untill ’68, same years of Legendary Sound as Duke Lee, Neville Musical, Enchanter, Duke Reid, Sir Fans-D. (Fatman), Gee from North.
September ‘68 Sir Coxsone Sound System started with 3 person where involved at time: Glen Marshalleck, Loydie & Festus are the original founders. First Clash runs in the same year 1968 in Alladise Hall of Acer Lane in Duces Street, with his special tune dubplate done and recorded the same date and called “This is Sir Coxsone Speaking” voiced by Lloyd Coxsone.
In 1969 Festus ruled the dancehall all around, from England to all over the world and his sound has revolutioned the concept of sound system culture, working with all kind of artists like Bob Marley & , King Tubbys, Upsetters, Lee Perry, The Pioneers, The Ethiopians, the Chambers, Aswad, Dennis Brown, Junior Delgado, Horace Andy, Tappa Zuckie, Iroy, Bunny Lee, Leroy Smart, John Holt, Barry Biggs, Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott, Cocoa Tea, Mykal Rose, Tony Rebel, Johnny Osbourne, U Roy, Max Romeo, Johnny Clarke, Mikey General, Turbolence, Sizzla, Devon Russel, Al Campbell, Trinity, Rodney Thomas, Frankie Paul, Wayne Wade, Dillinger, Junior Taminls, Macka B, Nicodemus, Chuckie Star, Junior Reid, Pinchers and many more. From day one, Festus was friend of this artists and he used to go on tour with them opening the most significant concerts at time. Festus for this artist was a mentor. Also in that year there was first Riot Rebbellion in England.
In Seventy’s Coxsone was champion sound everywhere England, cause most of the sound they didn’t travell a lot, “Babylon by truck” was the first mini-tour in the same period of Bob Marley’s “Babylon by Bus”: all the massive acclaimed his selection and most of them came to dancehall only to listen two chune: “Ehi Mr Music” & “Natural Mystic” by Bob Marley, cutted by Gussie Clarke.
Festus used to spread the message with his music for Nelson Maldela, and he used to campaign for A.N.C. (African Nation Congress) in London and also Coxsone has a special by Mr Mandela. History Sound.
Sir Coxsone was the spear head of sound system when people where looking their identity here in England, and Coxsone was the sound that was taking the messages to the people, up and down the country in England, beacause there wasn’t Radio Station playing our music. Whatever you were at this time, Coxsone was coming to your city to keep the massive near the message.
Coxsone Sound also won four cups “Back to Back”, it means it was people’s champion in Roots & culture music and Lover Rock Music: one of the first sound to produce “Caught you in a lie” by Luisa Marks, his the founder of Lover Rock Music .
For real he was on top of the sound system chart with King Tubby’s in Jamaica, just for historical references, you can listen the Iroy song called “Blackman Time” and same song called “Sir Coxsone Time”. Listen this two records to understand who was running session at that time.
The posses were Guns Smoke, Castro Brown, Glen Marshalleck, Junior Boot, Ika, Sport, Peter Lewin, Bunny, Chessless, Errol Thompson, Gussie Clarke, Byron, and many more was strictly connected to Coxsone Sound System.
Father Festus Coxsone is with no doubt a piece of Reggae History and his story is on several books, and journal’s news, and a lot of material is in the “New Musical Express” Journal. Festus & Gunsmoke used to play for 5 years for the “Sunday Times Magazine” in Christmas Holidays. Also untill ’80 Coxsone brought over to England Jah Screw, Ranking Joe, Ray Simbalec Sound System, Errol Dunkley, Delroy Wilson.
Festus is one of the first selector played at the Carnival, and his selection touched many life and inspired many sound system of today. With Lloydie, he run for the first time a proper sound system appointment in Columbo’s at Carnaby Street: who knew about this venue, knew about the best.
Early ’90 he was the pioneer of this movement, plenty of dubplates and specials, Festus play as nobody can play, with the full knowledge of all times reggae riddim, and for that, his power is builded with the support of all major singers and sound system of the planet. In this period he came back in Jamaica to visit and to stay for 3 years, at that time Beres Hammond, Blackadread and Fatty’s used to collaborate with him. He comes back in England only in 93.
His outernational story is written and voiced in each dubplate he use to play, actually he is the best sound around the world and he is everytime working with an open bridge with Jamaica & America’s reggae scene, a man called Daddy Festus Coxsone. Watch out for the baddest reggae book of the millennium, the autobiography of Festus is coming soon.