Glen Adams performing with The Slackers in 2002
|Born||27 November 1945|
|Origin||Jones Town, Kingston, Jamaica|
|Died||17 December 2010(aged 65)|
|Genres||Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae|
|Associated acts||Ken & Glen, The Upsetters, The Hippy Boys, The Pioneers|
Adams' mother was from Kingston and his father from St. Vincent; the two met while working in Curaçao. Adams' first break in the music business came as a teenager, when he appeared as a singer in a vocal group on Radio Jamaica's Opportunity Knocks show hosted by Vere Johns. Later performing on the same show as a solo singer which led to appearances on cabaret shows and performances in Kingston and St. Andrews at weekends. Adams' older sister Yvonne was also a popular singer and he was spotted by Clement "Coxsone" Dodd while rehearsing a song that she had written called "Wonder Thirst". Coxsone took him into the Federal Recording Studio to record the track in 1960. Although not officially released as a single at the time, the song became a popular dub plate on sound systems, and the title of the song became his nickname.
Adams formed a duo, Ken and Glen, with Ken Boothe and they came second place in the 1966 Festival Song Competition with "I Remember". The duo also backed Stranger Cole on his number one single "Uno Dos Tres". He co-founded The Heptones before moving on to The Pioneers, appearing on the latter's "Shake It Up" and "Good Nanny". While continuing to earn a living as a tailor, he moved on to work with Duke Reid's Treasure Isle set-up as an informal musical director, introducing singers such as Joe White to Reid.
Adams also worked with Bunny Lee from around 1967 as a solo singer, backing singer and A&R man, in exchange for studio time. At a recording session in October 1968, when several musicians failed to turn up due to a dispute about payment for a previous session, Adams was asked to play piano, despite not being proficient on the instrument. Unhappy with the results, he switched instruments with organist Lloyd Charmers (although he had never played the organ before). He played organ on eight tracks in that session, which included Lester Sterling's "Bangarang" and Slim Smith's "Everybody Needs Love" and he has stuck with the instrument ever since, becoming a regular session player. Along with other musicians such as the Barrett brothers (Aston and Carlton), he performed in sessions for a range of producers under a variety of group names notably The Hippy Boys for Bunny Lee, where Adams did some of his most memorable work accompanying Slim Smith, The Reggae Boys and The Upsetters for Lee "Scratch" Perry. Adams also worked for Herman Chin Loy, where he was one of a number of keyboard players to record under the name Augustus Pablo, before Horace Swaby adopted that identity.
Perry and The Upsetters toured the United Kingdom to capitalise on the success of Perry's hit "Return of Django" (and the less successful follow-up, "Live Injection"); returning to Jamaica in 1970. As part of The Upsetters, Adams backed The Wailers during their spell with Perry and Adams did much of the arranging and composed the song "Mr. Brown". The lyrics were inspired by a local tale about a duppy who was supposedly seen speeding around on a three-wheeled coffin with two "John Crows" (buzzards) on top, one of which would ask for "Mr. Brown". Adams was due to record the track himself but Perry suggested that the Wailers record it, with Peter Tosh and Adams adding spooky organ riffs. Adams regularly introduced this song at his concerts with the statement: "I wrote this song for Bob Marley". When The Wailers parted company with Perry in 1971 taking The Upsetter's rhythm section with them, Adams remained with Perry. During this period he had also started to split his time between Jamaica and the United States. In the United States he set up his own Capo record label and put together a new band, the Blue Grass Experience. He eventually moved to Brooklyn permanently in 1975, where he became more involved in producing and also worked for Brad Osbourne's Clocktower and Lloyd Barnes' Bullwackie labels and played with The Realistics band.
In the late 1970s, Adams expanded into R&B and Rap production, working with hip hop artist T Ski Valley. He has also worked with Shaggy and remixed an album of previously-unreleased Upsetters material in 1996, released by Heartbeat Records as Upsetters a Go Go.
Glen Adams died on 17 December 2010 at the University Hospital of the West Indies after falling ill while visiting Jamaica.
- Far Away, 1967
- Grab A Girl, 1968
- Hey There Lonely Girl, 1968
- Hold Down Miss Winey
- I Can't Help It, 1968
- I Remember, 1967
- I Wanna Hold Your Hand, 1968
- My Argument, 1968
- Run Come Dance, 1968
- I'm Shocking, I'm Electric (She), 1967
- She's So Fine (I've Got A Girl), 1968
- Silent Lover, 1967
- Taking Over Orange Street, 1968
- Upsetters – Blackboard Jungle Dub
- Glen Adams – Wonderthirst [1963–73] (LP) Landmark
- "Glen Adams – Trojan". Trojanrecords.com. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- David Katz (2000). People funny boy. Canongate Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-86241-854-0.
- [dead link]
- "Article : In memory of... Augustus Pablo". Reggae-vibes.com. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- Colin Larkin (1998). Reggae. Virgin Pub. ISBN 978-0-7535-0242-6.
- Dave Thompson (1 March 2002). Reggae & Caribbean Music: Third Ear – The Essential Listening Companion. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-655-7.
- "Jamaica Gleaner News – Reggae-music pioneer leaves a legacy of greatness – Entertainment – Monday | December 20, 2010". Jamaica-gleaner.com. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- Glen Adams Landmark Corner at the Wayback Machine (archived 14 November 2007) – Nov 2007 archived version of Official Homepage
- PUNKCAST#222 live vid w/ The Slackers, Knitting Factory NYC, 22 December 2002 (RealPlayer)
- PUNKCAST#631 live vid w/ Jammyland All Stars, Club Seho NYC, 3 December 2004 (RealPlayer) (mp4)
- Roots Archive Glen Adams Discography