Steely R.I.P.


Seems like Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson, keyboard player and 50% of ace JA production duo Steely and Clevie has passed away.

Man I don’t even know where to start with this one. I guess we all got so used to 70s roots legends dying before they got due credit and respect for their work that it began to seem almost natural. But it’s still shocking when people who really hit their stride in the 80s and 90s pass away.

The story of Steely’s hospitalisation first came to light via the JA Observer (which I picked up thanks to Rootsman on Blood & Fire)

Sad news confirmed by Radio Jamaica.

One of the best things about playing the Big Chill House with the Droid the other week was pulling out so many of those sevens with the white labels and the red, yellow and black lettering. Things like Ninjaman’s “Murder Dem” and Reggie Stepper’s “Drum Pan Sound” – bonafide classics which always always bring a smile to my face when I hear them.

Steely and Clevie produced so many top tunes and built so many top riddims (Streetsweeper! Bagpipe! Nine Night!) that I’m reluctant to even try an overview here. So I’ll just sign off now and say thanks to Steely for all the great tunes, never met you but your name and work meant a lot.

Steely and Clevie at Red Bull Music Academy

Allmusic entry

One Comment

  1. sad sad sad news

    i was chatting to someone recently about what had happened to s&c in the last few years after a mini comeback with stuff like sleepy dog and old truck. hopefully clevie will continue to produce. at least they’ve got hundreds of big tunes we can all keep banging out.

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