Count Ossie

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Count Ossie
Count Ossie.jpg
Background information
Birth name Oswald Williams
Born 1926
Origin St. Thomas, Jamaica
Died 18 October 1976 (aged 50)
Genres Reggae
Occupations Musician
Instruments Akete
Years active late 1950s-1976

Count Ossie, born Oswald Williams (1926, St. Thomas, Jamaica - 18 October 1976)[1] was a Jamaican drummer and band leader.


As a young boy Ossie grew up in a rasta community where he learned techniques of vocal chanting and hand drumming under the tutelage of Brother Job.[1] In the early 1950s he set up a Rasta community in Rockfort on the east side of Kingston, where many of Kingston's musicians learned about the Rastafari movement.[1][2] In the late 1950s, he (with other percussionists) formed the Count Ossie Group. His first sound recordings were made after meeting Prince Buster. One of those was a song by the Folkes Brothers, "Oh Carolina", regarded by some music historians as the first-ever ska record. During this period Count Ossie also recorded for producers Harry Mudie and Coxsone Dodd[3]

He formed a group called "Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari" and during his life issued two albums that he recorded with them. His masterpiece was the Grounation three-LP set (1973), which includes songs such as "Oh Carolina", "So Long", and "Grounation" (the latter title with over 30 minutes running time).

Two years later Tales Of Mozambique (Dynamic 1975) was issued, continuing the legacy of the first album. Count Ossie died on 18 October in 1976, aged 50 in an auto accident. [4]


  • Grounation (1973), Ashanti
  • Tales Of Mozambique (1975)
  • Man From Higher Heights (1983)
  • Remembering Count Ossie: A Rasta Reggae Legend (1996)


  1. ^ a b c Moskowitz, David V. (2006) Caribbean Popular Music: an Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rocksteady, and Dancehall, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-33158-8, p. 317-8
  2. ^ Cooke, Mel (2009) "Musical tribute to Count Ossie 33 years after death", Jamaica Gleaner, 15 October 2009, retrieved 2010-07-18
  3. ^ "COUNT OSSIE (1928 - 1976)", National Library of Jamaica, retrieved 2014-07-25
  4. ^ "Count Ossie". Retrieved 6 July 2013. 

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