Freddie celebrates 50 years in music

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Freddie McGregor

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There were few hotter reggae acts in the 1980s and early 1990s than singer Freddie McGregor. But as he approaches his 50th year in the music business, getting airplay for his new songs is not something he takes for granted.

"I'm so worried right now, because I talk to a lot of artistes from my era and they will tell you that dem have new product, but dem don't know if it going get play,' McGregor told The Gleaner.

McGregor said he always wanted to cover A House is Not a Home which was originally a hit for Dionne Warwick in the 1960s. In addition to the keyboards and drumming of Steely and Clevie, McGregor's longtime guitarist Dalton Browne and saxophonist Dean Fraser played on the track which was first laid three years ago, one year before Steely's (Wycliffe Johnson) death.

"It's a hardcore reggae feel. It's what we would consider a real roots-lovers kind of groove," he explained. "What we have done is create an original melody that gives it that difference, 'cause we didn't want it to sound like the original."

McGregor started his career in the early 1960s at Studio One as a member of The Clarendonians alongside Peter Austin and Ernest Wilson. His big break as a solo act came in the late 1970s with the song Bobby Babylon and album of the same name, for that company.

Freddie McGregor and his Big Ship Crew, which includes sons Chino and Stephen and daughter Shema, perform on Friday's Tunn Up show at Dinthill High School in St Catherine.

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