Prince Alla

Born Keith Blake, 10 May 1950, Denham Town, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Blake began his recording career with producer Joe Gibbs as part of the Leaders vocal group during 1967/8. Gibbs licensed three releases from the group through B&C Music in the UK before the Leaders disbanded. Blake remained with Gibbs, who produced his first solo recording, “Woo Oh Oh”, which, like the early Leaders recordings, was relegated to a b-side. In 1969, he became strongly involved in the Rastafarian movement, living in the island’s camp community until the mid-70s, when he re-emerged through Bertram Brown’s Freedom Sounds with a series of records that have since proved landmarks in the history of roots music. As Prince Allah, he recorded “Sun Is Shining”, “Mama Don’t Fight” and “Come Away”, all featured on the Ethiopian Kings compilation, which described him as: “The singer that has ability to capture the musicians, and have them play whatever he wants. A truly talented young man. With great promise for the future”. The prediction proved to be true, with classic recordings over the following years, such as “Bucket Bottom”, “Lot’s Wife”, “Stone”, and “Nah Go A Funeral”, the latter marking a reunion with Gibbs. He continued sporadically to release material throughout the late 70s and early 80s, and in 1996/7 a retrospective compilation of his Freedom Sounds work appeared through the archive label established by members of Simply Red. The release of the roots anthem “Born A Fighter” demonstrated that his career was not yet over.

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