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Winston Francis
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Winston Francis
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12 Tracks
Where classic vocals, soul & experience meet.
Winston Francis was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1948. He attended school there and started learning the printing trade before moving to Miami with his family at sixteen. Winston attended music school whilst there, teacher Chuck Bird, the great impresario, writer and performer, spotted Francis' talent: 'If I didn't know better, I would've thought it was Nat King Cole singing' he told the young man. Bird was the driving force behind Francis, he gave him his first break in the music industry, arranging for Winston to play at the Fountain Blue Hotel in Miami in 1965 with the Jackie Gleeson Orchestra. His first show found US politician Spiro Agnew in the audience. Winston became one of the lead singers In The Carlos Malcolm Band, other vocalist worth note in the band included Derrick Harriott and Boris Gardiner. The band toured across the Caribbean and the USA. Recording at the famed Coxson Studio One in Jamaica. There followed, collaborations with iconic reggae artists including The late Dennis Brown, Bob Marley and Bob Andy amongst others. Mr Fix It. Was released in the U.K. In 1971. His sympathetic cover of the Mamas and the Papas' classic California Dreamin' was Tony Blackburn's Hit Pick of the Week on Radio One for two weeks!! It had audiences clamoring to hear him live in London. Matter of fact the 'B' side of "California Dreamin'" called "Too Experienced" has backing vocals performed by Bob Marley and Bunnie Wailer, despite the fact that everyone thinks such high-pitched voices could only belong to women! From 1972 Winston Francis started performing regularly all over the UK on the club circuit. At the same time he did some recordings for EMI and it was then that he met and began to work with renowned reggae producer and performer Dennis Bovell- although they would not collaborate on a major project until 1993. The late 1970s and early 1980s saw Francis doing a lot of session work including backing vocals and studio work. Between 1980-86 Francis had a complete change of career, becoming a youth and social worker a career in which he got great satisfaction. But, music continuously beckoned, and in 1987 Francis returned to his first love. He sang backing vocals for the Jamaican group The Melodians then started performing regularly with the London based Trevor Star and The Skaticians. Very popular, in Europe in particular, Francis is still a member of this ska/ rock steady band. In 1993 Dennis Bovell asked Winston Francis to cover the classic Ben E. King number, Stand By Me for a compilation album, Jamaican Soul. The song was released as a single in France where it sold over 90,000 copies. Bovell then produced His Majesty Requests, a solo album which Francis released under the pseudonym King Cool. Continuing to demonstrate his diversity, Winston Francis has competently been singing backing vocals for various bands encompassing soul/hip-hop/reggae and musicals, constantly drawing on his huge talent and great wealth of experience. Winston has collaborated with the revered artist Linton Kwesi Johnson on a new album from LKJ Records He says himself that it has been a meeting of like minds. Singing classic rock steady tunes, Francis evokes real nostalgia for that unforgettable era of Jamaican music (1966-68) which bridged the gap between ska and reggae. The never to be forgotten Winston Francis.
Band/artist history
Mr Fix It. California Dreamin'/Too Experienced backing vocals were performed by Bob Marley and Bunnie Wailer Sweet Rock Steady LKJ Records, 1997 Come On Little Girl LKJ Records, 1997 Mr Fixit 1971 California Dreamin'/Too Experienced backing vocals were performed by Bob Marley and Bunnie Wailer Studio One, 1998
Have you performed in front of an audience?
I play live often throughout Europe and Jamaica. I will be enlarging my horizons to USA in the near future.
Your musical influences
Too many to name.
What equipment do you use?
Shure mics and amplification. My band supply their own equipment.
Anything else?
Sit and rest a while - I hope what you hear here inspires you to dance & smile.
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