THE hardcore dancehall fan has been familiar with Michael Buckley’s distinctive baritone for over 35 years. Though he has influenced artistes such as Bushman, mainstream recognition has been elusive. Underground songs like Send Another Sound Home have earned him a following on the sound system circuit, but Buckley aims to expand his base with his first album.
He admits the tag of dance artist has limited his career. With a vast repertoire of singles at his fingertips, releasing an album seemed appropriate.
Bawl And Bawl is the title of the 10-song set which is scheduled for release in April. All tracks are original and produced by Buckley who was born and raised in Waterhouse.
A contemporary of singer Wayne “Sleng Teng” Smith, he was among a flood of young artists from the area who got their start on sound systems like King Jammys.
“Mi a come from long-time days, from lift up box an’ dem thing,” he said, chuckling.
Buckley’s first song, Don’t Stand Up And Loaf, was produced by Iris ‘Moma Iris’ James, wife of producer Lloyd ‘King Jammys’ James, a heavyweight in Waterhouse.
He recorded for other producers such as Mikey Bennett (My Selector) and Shocking Vibes (I Can’t Live Without You), but his signature song remains Send Another Sound Home, produced by King Jammys in 1989.
Its force as a ‘soun’ killer’ has earned Buckley a following among the hardcore dancehall crowd in the United Kingdom, France and Germany, countries he has toured.
An overdue album may be just what the doctor ordered for a career revival.
“Wi travel deep an’ wide but because mi neva really put out di extra effort people neva hear di song dem. But wi have di thing together, so wi si good things happening,” he said.
— By Howard Campbell