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Observer staff reporter


JOSEY Wales’ reputation as a hardcore deejay has won him numerous admirers, from Admiral Bailey to Wyclef Jean. Add the Government of Jamaica to that mix.

He is among persons from the entertainment and arts fraternity who will receive national honors at King’s House on Heroes’ Day, October 16.

Josey Wales

Josey Wales

The veteran artist will be invested with the Order of Distinction (Officer rank). He said he was officially notified while doing a gig in Canada.

“After I received the call, I also got a letter in the mail last Thursday when I returned to Jamaica. It feels really wonderful and I am very appreciative of it,” the 59-year-old told the Jamaica Observer.

The St Mary-born Josey Wales (given name Joseph Sterling) stated that his deeds go beyond music.

“It is not only just about the work around the microphone, I have contributed to my country. I do a lot of charity work which includes buying an ambulance in 1997. I think the Government just have to say that ‘this brethren has definitely done a lot’. I am really glad because although the award isn’t a monetary gain, it’s a really good honor,” he said.

Wales disclosed that a life-threatening experience influenced him to donate an ambulance. He was robbed and shot in Kingston in 1997.


Josey Wales’ (he took his moniker from the classic 1976 spaghetti western movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales, which starred Clint Eastwood) career began in the late 1970s with the U-Roy-owned King Sturgav sound system.

His popularity grew in the early 1980s on Henry “Junjo” Lawes’ Volcano sound system. When he started out, his lyrics were inspired by Wild West films, but he changed tune as his career progressed. His hit songs include Bobo Dread, Leggo Mi Hand and Undercover Lover.

“My songs were a bit too sexy while the gun tunes were graphic, but I then decide to change up my music because I had a lot of respect for Daddy U-Roy. I use to and still love being on the sound system as there is no written composition, we just make the lyrics on the spot — and it was so exciting,” he said.

Wales didn’t ‘ride’ alone. He and fellow deejays Charlie Chaplin and Brigadier Jerry were known for their ‘Three The Hard Way’ performances.

“Although it’s not as frequent as before, we still perform together. Our last show was at the Montreal Reggae Festival in Canada last year,” he said.

Josey Wales has some advice for aspiring deejays.

“Find your style and stick with that groove, even though when it seems like you are heading towards a dead end. Some will find success easier and faster than others, but it will pay off,” he said. “I remember sitting down in Jamaica for 14 years before I got a work overseas, but I endured to the end.”








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