by Simone Morgan, Jamaica Observer
The Jays: (from left) Leroy Hall, Errol Wilson and Lloyd Forest
The Jays, a harmony group which had a successful run during the 1970s, are making a comeback after a 12-year break.
The trio -- Lloyd Forest, Errol Wilson, and Leroy Hall -- return with the singles Come to The Father, Give Me A Chance and One Nation.
According to Forest, 67, although the group was absent from the local entertainment scene, they never stopped recording.
"Not all the singles were released. Our last tour was in 2012 when we went to Europe. We did bits and pieces here and there, but nothing major. People still want to hear the authentic reggae sound, so this is what we revived in our latest songs," he said.
The singles were released in September and written and produced by Linval Allison of Florida-based World One Records.
The Jays started out in 1976 at Channel One Studio with founding members Wilson, Lloyd Ruddock, and Rudolph Reid. That year they recorded their first songs Never Get Away and Mr Wicked Man.
This was followed by Queen Majesty -- their biggest hit -- Melody Life, and I'm The One Who Loves You.
"That was the era where producers were experimenting by doing collaborations with singers and deejays. There we did our first such 'collab' called Truly with Ranking Trevor, and it was a hit," 67-year-old Wilson recalled.
In 1979,The Jays went to New York for some dates, but returned with only two members.
"Ruddock ran off and that put a damper on the group as we had to find a replacement who had that particular sound that The Jays had," Wilson said.
After months of searching, Ruddock's space was filled by Vincent Bryan, who did one year with the group before migrating to the United States. Sharlo Evans joined the group, but he too moved on after getting a job with a ship band.
Before Evans' exit, The Jays released their debut album, The Jays Volume One. According to Wilson, the album did well in England, which led to a follow-up album, The Jays Lovers Rock Volume Two, in 1980, with new member Derrick Coke.
Coke died in 1981 and was replaced by Forest in 1982.
With George Bromfield as manager, The Jays did regular gigs in the United States. In the mid-1980s, Ruddock left to join The Gladiators while Wilson and Forrest carried on as a duo until 2003 when Hall became their third member.
"We went to Studio One and recorded an album called the Right Solution that year. (Producer Clement) Mr Dodd went to England to promote it, but he passed away shortly after he returned," said Forest.
Hall, 68, said the music business has transformed considerably since he got involved over 40 years ago.
"The sound has changed big time, as it has gotten more digital. It has become more graphic as there is very little left to the imagination. The man dem not dancing with the woman dem anymore."