Reggae veteran Max Romeo born, “Maxwell Livingston Smith”, 22 November 1944 ,is a Jamaican reggae recording artist who has achieved chart success in both his home country and the United Kingdom as well. He had several hits with the vocal group, The Emotions. His controversial song “Wet Dream” (1968) included overtly explicit lyrics and propelled him to fame.
Born in the parish of , St. Ann, Jamaica, the now 76 years old Reggae Veteran left home at the age of 14 and worked on a sugar plantation outside Clarendon before emerging tops at a local talent competition when he was 18. This prompted a move to the capital, Kingston, in order to embark on a musical journey that would spun 6 decades.
In 1965, Romeo joined up with Kenneth Knight and Lloyd Shakespeare in The Emotions, whilst also working in sales for the Caltone label. The group were unsuccessful in auditions for other producers, but Ken Lack offered them an audition after overhearing Smith(Max Romeo) singing to himself while working. In 1966, the group had their first hit, with the Lack-produced “(Buy You) A Rainbow”. The Emotions went on to release several hit singles. and by 1968, the reggae veteran, by that point known as Max Romeo began his solo career in 1968, but did not have any great successes on the charts. Romeo returned to The Emotions, now recording for a different producer, Phil Pratt, and founded a new band, The Hippy Boys.
MAX ROMEO AS A SOLO ARTIST
1968 saw the breakthrough in Romeo’s career, when he wrote “Wet Dream“, a song that became a massive hit in Jamaica. The track was banned by the overly conservative BBC Radio in the UK due to its explicit lyrical content, although the singer claimed that it was about a leaking roof. Nevertheless, “Wet Dream” became a Top 10 hit in the UK, where it spent six months in the charts. Further recordings that came out in 1969 were “Belly Woman”, “Wine Her Goosie” and “Mini-Skirt Vision”, as well as Max Romeo’s debut LP, A Dream. Romeo was banned from performing at several venues during a tour of the UK.
In 1970, Romeo returned to Jamaica setting up Romax, an unsuccessful record label and sound system, and released his second album, Let the Power Fall in 1971, that included a number of politically charged songs, most advocating the democratic socialist People’s National Party (PNP), which chose his song “Let the Power Fall” as their theme song for the Jamaican general elections in 1972.After this, Romeo worked with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry (who passed on a couple of weeks ago) on the album Revelation Time (1975), which featured the classic song “Three Blind Mice”, an adaptation of the nursery rhyme with lyrics about a police raid on a party.
In 1976, the Reggae veteran released War Ina Babylon, an album perceived as his best ever. The politically and religiously themed album included the song ‘Stealing’ and the popular single “Chase the Devil“, which would become one of his most known songs. Shortly after this, Max Romeo and Lee Perry fell out, leaving the Veteran to self-produce his follow-up album, Reconstruction, which, however, could not match the success of its predecessors when it was released in 1977.
In 1978, the Reggae veteran moved to New York City. The rest of his output during the decade went practically unnoticed, with Romeo finding employment at a New York electronics store. Another veteran, the late legendary John Holt encouraged him to return to Jamaica, and he lived at Holt’s house in Meadowbrook for a year before visiting the UK again.
In 1992, Max Romeo recorded albums Fari – Captain of My Ship (1992) and Our Rights (1995) with Jah Shaka. He joined up with UK rhythm section/production team Mafia & Fluxy in 1998 for the album Selassie I Forever. A compilation album, The Many Moods of Max Romeo, was released in the UK in 1999.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE
Max Romeo has now teamed up with the energetic Bobo DeeJay Anthony B to release “Public Enemy” on the “Zion High Label”. This is a remix on the “Cherry oh baby” riddim which will feature more artists as this is a pre-release.
The official digital platform release date has been slated for 1st October 2021 but you can always catch this tune on Rockers Radio www.rockers-radio.live . This is going to be a riddim driven album and the honour of a pre-release has definitely been given to the Reggae Veteran, Max Romeo.