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Gone Too Soon

For Black History Month 2019 Reggae Fraternity UK celebrate the lives of UK based artists that have ‘Gone Too Soon’.  Louisa Mark; Smiley Culture; Jean Adebambo; Deborahe Glasgow;  Bionic Rhona; Ranking Roger; Claudia Fontaine; Tenor Fly; Sandeeno; Tubby T; Ras Elroy Bailey (Black Slate) and most recently Joy Mack.  Their memories live on through the wonderful music they created for us to enjoy.




Louisa Lynthia Mark, also known as "Markswoman"
(11 January 1960 – 17 October 2009), was a British lovers rock singer, best known for her work between the mid-1970s and early 1980s. Her 1975 single "Caught You in a Lie" is regarded as the first lovers rock single. Sound-system operator and record producer Lloyd Coxsone provided the fifteen-year-old Mark with her first recording session, at Gooseberry Studios, where she recorded a cover version of Robert Parker's "Caught You in a Lie", on which she was backed by Matumbi.


Click here to listen to Caught You In A Lie >



Jean Adebambo (1 July 1962 – 15 January 2009) was a British singer, best known for songs in the lovers rock genre.  Her entry into the music business was by chance; She was invited to do a cover version of two records entitled "Again" and "Reunited" by Ital Records in the early 1980s.  She eventually met the Jamaican producer Leonard Chin, for whom she recorded the single "Paradise", and had a successful solo career, mainly recording for her own Ade J label.  A string of hits followed such as the singles "Reaching For A Goal", "Hardships of Life" and "Pipe Dreams". 


Click here to listen to Paradise >



David Victor Emmanuel (10 February 1963 – 15 March 2011), better known as Smiley Culture, was a British reggae singer and DJ known for his 'fast chat' style. Prior to his recording career he worked as a DJ with many of London's reggae sound systems, most often with Saxon Studio International. Whilst signed to the London-based reggae record label Fashion Records he produced two of the most critically acclaimed reggae singles of the 1980s. The first was "Cockney Translation", his next single "Police Officer" was a Top 20 hit, selling 160,000 copies, and earned Smiley two appearances on BBC's television show Top of the Pops. He also hosted the Channel 4 television show Club Mix in 1986 and 1987. 


Click here to watch Police Officer music video >


Deborahe Glasgow (19 January 1965 – 25 January 1994) was a British lovers rock singer of Guyanese parentage, who was active from the late 1970s to the beginning of the 1990s. Though Glasgow released only one album in her lifetime, 1989's Deborahe Glasgow, she began releasing singles in her adolescence. She is perhaps best known for her duet with Shabba Ranks on a song initially released as "Champion Lover" on her eponymous album. Four years after Glasgow's early death, he re-recorded the tune under the new title "Mr. Loverman", this time with Chevelle Franklin as the featured singer, and this version became a worldwide hit.


Click here to listen to Champion Lover >


Roger Charlery (21 February 1963 – 26 March 2019), known professionally as Ranking Roger, was a British musician. He was a vocalist in the 1980s two-tone band the Beat and later General Public. Roger became a punk rock fan as a teenager and was the drummer in the Dum Dum Boys before joining ska revival pioneers the Beat in the late 1970s. The Dum Dum Boys‘ first gig was with the Beat and his burgeoning friendship with them meant he began to gatecrash their gigs, take the mic, and start toasting. His energetic style and Jamaican-influenced vocals, paired with Dave Wakeling, were crucial in distinguishing the band from the other second-wave ska bands.


Click here to watch The Beat ft Ranking Roger >


Rhona Ann-Marie Smith-Baker, more commonly known as Bionic Rhona aka DJ Bionic, was the first lady of the all-female Bionic Posse. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 and moved to Wandsworth, London in 1970. As Bionic Rhona, her career started in 1979 and she had hits including To The Bump, Bubbling Hot and Working Man.  She toured the UK, Jamaica, Finland and Germany and appeared on the front of the City Limits magazine under the head 'Dub Vendor making it big in the basement'. Her video discussions online went viral and led to her having a role in the Plan B film Ill Manors in 2012. 


Listen to Papa Face & Bionic Rhona - To The Bump >


Watch Bionic Rhona performing alongside Joseph Cotton at Smiley Culture's Club Mix Channel 4 TV show: No Touch The Style - Joseph Cotton >


Claudia Fontaine (26 August 1960 – 13 March 2018) was a British backing vocalist from London. She began her professional journey in her early teens, providing backing vocals in recording sessions and working with reggae artists. Claudia recorded a rendition of classic R&B ballad, ‘Natural High’ which remains a popular British lovers rock anthem until this day. During the 1980s, Fontaine and fellow backing vocalists Caron Wheeler and Naomi Thompson were collectively known as Afrodiziak. They were the “go-to” backing vocalists of the time and featured regularly on Top of the Pops. She performed with artists such as The Jam, Annie Lennox, Elvis Costello, Betty Boo, Dusty Springfield, Marilyn, Pink Floyd, Madness, Neneh Cherry and The Specials.  For Black History Month 2019 Reggae Fraternity UK celebrate the lives of the #Windrush #Generation and their children. Claudia Fontaine, #GoneTooSoon 


Click here to listen to Natural High >


Jonathan Sutter (7 July 1967 – 17 June 2016), better known by his stage name Tenor Fly, was a British singer and rapper. He rose to prominence in the ragga movement of the early 1990s. Fly was a solo artist and later a member of Freestylers. He was active in the music business from 1988, and was best known for his work with other artists, such as Rebel MC, Top Cat, Barrington Levy and Sir Coxsone Sound. In the ’90s, Tenor Fly became known within Britain’s ragga scene and in turn its faster offshoot, ragga jungle, owing in part to his work alongside Congo Natty aka Rebel MC. In 2003, the pair released 12 years of Jungle, an album celebrating their contributions to the UK sound.  For Black History Month 2019 Reggae Fraternity UK celebrate the lives of the #Windrush #Generation and their children. Tenor Fly, #GoneTooSoon.


Click here to listen to Fly ’Live on Sir Coxsone Outernational' >



Derrick Johnson (passed away 30 September 2018), better known as Sandeeno was born in Birmingham UK, but raised in the Jamaican parish of Manchester. He initially performed under the moniker Superman. In 1984 he released, in combination with Courtney Allen (as Superman And Spiderman), the Ranking Joe - produced album, Wickedest Combination. In 1993 the duo toured Europe to critical acclaim, although they subsequently agreed to dissolve the partnership. Johnson settled in the UK where he became known as Sandeeno. In 1996 Sandeeno recorded “Tear Down Babylon” for Mikey Simpson’s MCS Records. The song was quite a hit and reached #1 on the British reggae charts and stayed there for several months becoming somewhat of an anthem. For Black History Month 2019 Reggae Fraternity UK celebrate the lives of the #Windrush #Generation and their children. Sandeeno, #GoneTooSoon.


Click here to listen to Teardown Babylon > 


Anthony Robinson who was commonly known as Tubby T died on May 22, 2008 after suffering his second stroke in four years. He was just 33. He had been performing on stage with reggae icons in front of thousands of people since he was nine. Sweetie Irie came from his area and used to bring him onstage at all-dayers, Tubby worked alongside luminaries such as Papa San, Beenie Man, Sanchez and Elephant Man. Tubby was catapulted into the spotlight after he teamed up with artiste Sticky to record Tales of the Hood (Peak No. 47 National Charts). This demo resulted in him signing a 'substantial' deal with Universal Records for his debut hit. Virgin Records offered him an album deal in 2002. In 2004 he released his most famous tune 'Ready She Ready' on an independent label.  For Black History Month 2019 Reggae Fraternity UK celebrate the lives of the #Windrush #Generation and their children. Tubby T, #GoneTooSoon.


Click here to listen to Ready She Ready >



Ras Elroy Bailey (5 September 1958 - May 2018) was born in Hackney, London UK. He first performed in front of a live audience at the age of four years old. His father Eric Bailey was asked by the late great George Brightly founder of Sir George sound system if the young Ras Elroy Bassy could join the 'Young Ones from Zion' which later became Black Slate in 1974. Leading Jamaican Reggae artists touring the UK and Europe used Black Slate who had become the choice band for backing. He continued many international tours as a Bass player for a variety of bands. His personal legendary tracks are: Amigo and Sticks Man.  He produced a charity record which was recognised by HRH Princess Anne.  For Black History Month 2019 Reggae Fraternity UK celebrate the lives of the #Windrush #Generation and their children. Ras Elroy Bailey, #GoneTooSoon.


Click here to listen to Sticks Man >


Joy Mack hailed as the UK Reggae Queen and First Lady in the 70s passed away 4th September 2019. She was Born in Jamaica and arrived in the UK in 1962. Her first venture into the industry came as part of a girl group 'Brunelles' a trio in the style of The Supremes, then she began toasting on various Sounds like: FatMan; Shellys; and Sir John, however she wanted more than BVs and formed her Soul & Jazz Band 'Emperocodum'. In 1978 producer Roy Sinclair reached out to Joy Mack, he had a sweet song 'You Had Your Chance' that required a different voice, and Soul n Jazz songbird Joy Mack fitted the bill. It soared to No 1 in the charts and became a classic woman anthem overnight. It catapulted Joy Mack firmly into the Reggae Arena.  For Black History Month 2019 Reggae Fraternity UK celebrate the lives of the #Windrush #Generation and their children. Joy Mack, #GoneTooSoon.


Click here to listen to You Had Your Chance >

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