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Freddie McGregor

Freddie McGregor is one of reggae's most durable and soulful singers, with an incredibly steady career that started all the way back in the '60s, when he was just seven years old. Since then, he's spanned nearly every stylistic shift in Jamaican music, from ska and rocksteady to Rastafarian roots reggae to lovers rock (his particular specialty) to dabblings in dancehall, ragga, and dub. Not just a singer, he wrote some of his own material, and grew into an accomplished producer as well. McGregor's heyday was the early '80s, when he released several high-quality albums and reached the peak of his popularity in Jamaica and England. However, he remained a strong presence on the reggae scene well into the new millennium.

McGregor was born in Clarendon, Jamaica on June 27, 1956. At age seven, he started singing backup for a local ska harmony duo called the Clarendonians (naturally, with the nickname of Little Freddie McGregor). The Clarendonians recorded for producer Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's legendary Studio One label for a time, and when they split in the mid-'60s, McGregor teamed up with ex-member Ernest "Fitzroy" Wilson to form a new duo, Freddie and Fitzroy. They recorded several single sides, including "Why Did You Do It" and "Do Good and Good Will Follow You." McGregor stayed at Studio One for much of the '70s, working as a session drummer and backup singer while developing his own vocal style, which owed much to smooth, Philadelphia-style soul. He sang lead for groups like Generation Gap and Soul Syndicate, and also recorded off and on as a solo act during the '70s, though always in the singles medium. During this period, he began writing some of his own material, including songs like "Go Away Pretty Woman," "Tomorrow Is Like Today," and "What Difference Does It Make."

In 1975, McGregor converted to Rastafarianism, which had a profound impact on his music. Still with Studio One and working with Earl "Chinna" Smith, he recorded the classics "Rastaman Camp" and "I Am a Rasta" right off the bat, and followed them with a string of singles that substantially raised his profile in Jamaica: "Mark of the Beast," "Sergeant Brown," "Jogging," "Natural Collie," "Zion Chant," "Walls of Jericho," "Africa Here I Come," "Come Now Sister," and "Bobby Bobylon" among them. He issued his first album, Mr. McGregor, in 1977, under the auspices of producer Niney the Observer. Returning to Studio One, he offered his first LP for the label in 1980 with the classic Bobby Bobylon, which featured a mixture of new material and reworkings of older singles. The album was a smash hit in Jamaica, establishing McGregor as a budding star, and revitalizing Coxsone Dodd's production career. Around the same time, he started producing and arranging for other artists, most notably on Judy Mowatt's solo debut, Black Woman; he also worked with Johnny Osbourne and Jennifer Lara.

In 1981, McGregor scored a huge hit single with "Big Ship," which catapulted him to the front rank of reggae stars in the immediate post-Marley era, along with Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs. His next LP arrived in 1982, also titled Big Ship, and featured production by Linval Thompson and musical backing by the Roots Radics. It too was highly successful, both creatively and commercially. Signing with Ras for 1983's Come On Over, McGregor extended his creative hot streak to an international audience, making a name for himself in the U.K. and U.S. His 1984 follow-up Across the Border was a slightly poppier effort that contained his hit reggae cover of "Guantanamera." Continuing in this crossover vein, in hopes of surviving amid the dancehall revolution, McGregor released All in the Same Boat in 1986; it produced a major hit in "Push Come to Shove," which became his first U.K. chart entry. He sparked the interest of Polydor Records, and found further U.K. success with "That Girl" and a cover of the Main Ingredient's "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely," which made the U.K. Top Ten in 1987.

McGregor's relationship with Polydor proved short-lived, however, and he formed his own label, Big Ship, in 1989. The first release was an all-covers LP called Jamaican Classics, which was so well-received that he quickly recorded a second volume (and, eventually, a third in 1996). 1991's Now also featured several covers, and 1993's Legit was an equal-time collaboration with Dennis Brown and Cocoa Tea. Also in 1993, he had a hit with his lovers rock cover of Justin Hinds' "Carry Go Bring Come." 1994's Push On provided much of the foundation for what many would call his finest outside production work, Luciano's 1995 After All album (which featured the major hit "Shake It Up Tonight"). Also in 1995, McGregor issued his own Forever My Love, one of his more sentimental offerings.

After slowing his pace in the late '90s, McGregor returned in 2000 with the acclaimed Signature, which restored his typical balance of roots reggae and lovers rock with touches of dancehall. He followed it two years later with a similarly well-received album, the Grammy-nominated Anything for You. In 2005 he issued Comin' in Tough featuring guest appearances from Anthony B, Marcia Griffiths, and Morgan Heritage along with the hit single "Lock It Down." Over the next few years, McGregor kept a regular and worldwide touring schedule, but his work in the studio would shift to mentoring his sons Stephen "Di Genius" and Chino, both of them producers and Chino a dancehall vocalist as well. Stephen would work on his father's 2013 release, Di Captain, an album that featured "Standing Strong," a redo of his early hit "Bobby Bobylon" with Gappy Ranks as guest, and "Move Up Jamaica," an anthem celebrating 50 years of Jamaican independence. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Di Captain

1. Intro Jenny Jenny

2. Move Up Jamaica

3. You Won't See Me

4. Bag A Hype

5. Africa

6. More Love In The Ghetto

7. Love I Believe In

8. Rainbow Country

9. Standing Strong

10. Love Ballad

11. There You Go

12. My Story

13. Let It Be Me

14. Jah Love Di Whole A Wi

15. A House Is Not A Home

16. Equal Rights

x

Track List: Comin' In Tough

1. Lock It Down

2. Bangarang

3. Can You Feel It (feat. Anthony B)

4. Comin' In Tough

5. Set The Program

6. Choices

7. Red Rose

8. Love And Affection

9. Ooh Child

10. You Don't Know

11. United We Stand (feat. Marcia Griffiths)

12. Little Girl

13. Pick Yourself Up (feat. Morgan Heritage)

14. A Better Way

15. Save A Little Love

16. In Your Dreams

17. Love On Our Side

x

Track List: Anything For You

1. Loving Jah

2. Uncle Sam

3. For You

4. Gatepass To Your Heart

6. Prayer For Two

7. There Is A Reward For Me

8. Cover For Me

9. Sweet African Princess

10. Hold Me

11. Enough Love In Me

12. I'll Do Anything

13. If You Want Me

14. In The Ghetto

15. Get It On

16. A Prayer

17. There Is A Reward For Me

x

Track List: Hard To Get

1. Playing Hard To Get

2. Untouchables

3. Not Passing Through

4. There You Go Again

5. Mountain Breezes

6. Cool Down Your Temper

7. My Lips Are Sealed

8. Push Push Push

9. Midnight Lover

10. Passion At Large

11. Playing Hard To Get (Bogle Lick)

12. Playing Hard To Get (Original)

x

Track List: Jamaican Classics

1. Let Them Say

2. Nice Time

3. Artibella

4. Satta

5. Joy In The Morning

6. Conquer Me

7. Stranger In Love

8. Let Him Try

9. Take It Easy

10. Love Has Found Its Way

x

Track List: Sing Jamaican Classics

Disc 1

1. Artibella

2. Dance Crasher

4. Take It Easy

5. Breaking Up

6. Conquer Me

7. How Can I Forget

8. I Was Born A Winner

9. Joy In The Morning

10. Let Him Try

11. Nice Time

12. Red Rose

13. You Don't Need Me

14. You're Gonna Lose

16. Come On Little Girl

18. Everything Crash

19. Falling In Love With You

Disc 2

1. Give Me The Right

2. Let Them Say

3. Little Nut Tree

4. Moving Away

5. Mr. Fix It

6. Nanny Goat

7. Undying Love

8. Watch This Sound

9. Can I Change My Mind

10. Danger In Your Eyes

11. Declaration Of Rights

12. Satta

13. Sweet Talking

14. Hooligan

15. Stranger In Love

16. My Jamaican Girl

17. Beat Down Babylon

18. Curly Locks

19. Love Has Found It's Way

x

Track List: Now

1. Handle

2. Bad Boys

3. Stop Loving You

4. Waiting There

5. Africa

6. Prophecy

7. Road Block

8. Loving Pauper

9. We Got Love

10. Here And Now

x

Track List: Come On Over

1. Shirley Come On Over

2. Apple Of My Eyes

3. Go Away Pretty Woman

4. Stand Up And Fight

5. Shortman

6. Are You Crazy?

7. Reggae Feeling

8. Rhythm So Nice

9. Natty Dread

10. Brotherman

x

Track List: Bobby Bobylon

1. Bandulo

2. We Need More Love

3. What Difference Does It Make?

4. Go Away Pretty Girl

5. Tomorrow Is Like Today

6. Bobby Bobylon

7. Wine Of Violence

8. Gonna Take Over Now

9. Rastaman Camp

10. I Am A Revolutionist

11. Freddie

12. Homeward Bound

13. Little Girl

15. Come Now Sister

16. I Man A Rasta

17. Rastaman Camp

x

Track List: Big Ship

1. Big Ship

2. Sweet Lady

3. Peaceful Man

4. Stop Loving You

5. Get Serious

6. Don't Play The Fool

7. Get United

8. Let Me Be The One

9. Roots Man Skanking

10. Holy Mount Zion

x

Track List: Indigenous People (Single)

1. Indigenous People

x

Track List: Let's Go Party

1. Let's Go Party

2. No Time To Waste

3. Don't Push Your Luck

4. Grooving Ahead

x

Track List: True To My Roots

1. True To My Roots

2. Your Love's Got A Hold On Me

3. Calling

4. I'm A Soldier

5. Master Design

6. Sen' Come Call Me

7. Song In My Head

8. One Of These Days

9. I'm Falling In Love With You

10. Rasta Ha' Fi Party

11. What You Gonna Do

12. I'll Be Back

13. I Pledge My Love

14. Indigenous People

15. Do You Understand?

x

Track List: Wappy Back

7. Grooving Ahead

Comments

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Love That special song smooth words i will choose this song just for me Bernetta
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Simply the best.
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Sweet to bad...woooow
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I know right
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I love that song Really Nice Track from the heart Peace Joy hope love cookie
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Love that. Man voice sweet. Song. God bless you Son keep praising him love cookie
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Good eveling
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366 of the best.
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Love that song nice Word's from God Bless you all. Ways love cookie peace
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Mash up Crossroads Nightclub in Bladensburg MD
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Yeah, I
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Real big man ever time
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Late night romance
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ntmo37
Yesss Freddie! This song is near and dear to me. I WAS BORN A WINNER....YE S I AM, YES I AM!..especia l l y when you tell me!
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lnmzez
Been to his concert, sounded like beuty
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pamgalberth
Nice to hear while cleaning
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Oh yes mon ..... Good song to smoke de Ganga to
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Freddie your music always sound good, keep up the good work, Jah bless and keep y you all the time,!!!!!
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member the days when man get together and run boat ackee saltfish yam and banana and wash it dung wid some carrot juice then likkle after that you bun some ganja
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Them chune ya vibes u up and make u smoke nuff ganja
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Good s**t
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Can't wait till McGregor and Beres come to Boston this summer. Straight Vibes!!!!!!! !
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I love it!
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Hippy Nig Original
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Give me the gate pass to your heart,!!!!
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TELL them Freddie McGregor we a lock this down,!!!!!
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Respect always Mr. McGregor it was a honor to c u perform not only once but a couple of times RASTAFARI love always...... .
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mzikitele
Poh poh poah...inadi a d a h
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Holy Mt Zion.... Here I come ohhhh
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jmlowry_78
In 1975 I too was christened
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Im gonna catch this flight...
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023 of the best
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Tune!!!
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supahdan2
Ever Ready Freddie! Jah Bless..
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One of the BEST ARTIST
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Delicious tune
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Irie
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miztommygirl
Leave a comment…
Report as inappropriate
What would die-hard reggae enthusiasts do without the likes of such masterful musicians as Freddie?
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Cultural dread.
Ras Gad
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tnotchilous
dapper
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ya mon,big up mr.mcgregor.
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Jamming, Yea man
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that my real artist man ,yea man
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kwabena89
just Great Jah voice. Saw him live in ST. Thomas
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greemo61
Real roots...ah luv it man.
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Ever dependable - soulful roots vibes - Freddie!!
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bpassionb5
feeling irie nice mon!!
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yesss put ya arms up in tha air!! dance dance dance! ty
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regga is what gouing on now
Show more

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