This Day In Jamaican History

On this Day in Jamaican History: Brigadier Jerry was born

Brigadier Jerry

On September 28th, 1957, the dancehall and reggae deejay artist Robert Russell, better known as Brigadier Jerry was born in the Papine area of Kingston, Jamaica. Brigadier Jerry is also called The General and is famous for his “cultural” lyrics. He found his interest in music at an early age, originally connecting with U-Roy and his King Stur-Gav Hi-Fir sound system. Brigadier Jerry first appeared on stage as a stand-up comedian, but he switched to deejaying for local sound systems instead.

In 1978, he joined the Rastafarian branch of the Twelve Tribes of Israel organization and proceeded to spread their message via the Jah Love Muzik sound system. By 1980, he had become one of the most popular sound system performers in Jamaica. Brigadier Jerry recorded for Studio One during the 1980s and had his first hits with producer Delroy Stansbury on the Jwyanza label in 1982. These included “Pain” (on the Answer/Never Let Go riddim) and “Gwan a School.” His first album was a recording of a live performance – “Live at the Controls” – in 1983. His first studio album was “Jamaica, Jamaica,” which was released in 1985. For the major part of his career, he has toured Jamaica and the world, performing over innumerable sound systems. He has recorded many albums and continues to put out an occasional single, including on the Ranking Joe label, but is chiefly a live performer.

Brigadier Jerry is known for his talent for improvising, and he raised the standards of the art with his speed and fluidity in deejay chanting. He forged a path for those who followed, focusing on subject matter that was nearly always spiritual and cultural in nature mixed with a sense of humor.

Many music historians and fans consider him to be U-Roy’s greatest pupil. Other famous students of U-Roy include Ranking Joe, Josey Wales, Charlie Chaplin, U Brown and Buju Banton.

From 1988 to 1991, Brigadier Jerry lived in New York with his wife and children, and then returned to Jamaica in 1992 where he again performed on the Jah Love Muzik sound system and recorded the album “On the Road.” Brigadier Jerry was a mentor to female deejay Sister Carol and actively deejayed almost all of the prominent sound systems in Jamaica. In 1995, he released “Hail Him,” an album under the Tapper Zukie label, and the album “Freedom Street” on the VP label.

When U-Roy revived the King Stur-Gav Hi-Fi sound system, Brigadier Jerry joined him as his touring deejay and traveled extensively with U-Roy around the world.

Here is Brigadier Jerry singing “Every Man Ah Mi Brethren”  and “Strictly Rub-A-Dub”

Photo Source: Youtube

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