b. Joseph Sterling, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Raised in West Kingston, he began DJing in 1977 with Roots Unlimited sound system, alongside Buru Banton, taking his name from a popular Clint Eastwood movie. The next three and a half years were spent on U-Roy's King Sturgav Hi-Fi where he enjoyed a successful partnership with Charlie Chaplin. By 1982 his gruff, reality-laced lyrics could be heard on live dancehall albums for Bunny Roots’ Kris Disk label. He then joined Volcano, which under the auspices of owner, promoter and producer Henry ‘ Junjo’ Lawes had become the leading sound system on the island. Junjo produced Josey's first hit; Leggo Mi Hand, later that same year, and work began on a debut album, THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES,which confirmed his status as a serious rival to Yellowman when released in 1983. TWO GIANT CLASH witnessed them both sharing the same Roots Radics rhythms but the follow-up set, NO WAY BETTER THAN YARD, in 1984, was produced by Wales himself and Mickey Pep from Cornerstone, with no discernable drop in quality. Wales took his talents to King Jammys and the hits continued to flow. Na Lef Jamaica, Water Come A Mi Eye, It's Raining, Culture A Lick and My Special Prayer showed his feel for plain speaking and cultural ghetto truths was undiminished. The following three years reaped several fine albums, including one for George Phang ( UNDERCOVER LOVER) and then Black Solidarity ( RULING). He introduced both Admiral Bailey and Shabba Ranks to the Jammys camp.
By 1988 Wales could be heard voicing for Gussie Clarke, Exterminator and even Jimmy Cliff. Relocating to America he briefly recorded for Count Shelly before going into semi-retirement, occasionally guesting on stage shows and sound systems. In 1993 he made a successful comeback, topping the UK reggae charts with Hey Girl, a duet with Beres Hammond. Further tunes with Hammond and then for Tapper Zukie, Exterminator, Gussie Clarke, Bobby Digital and King Jammys quickly followed, with Wales often reworking his former lyrics to renewed effect. A good example of this is COWBOY STYLE, which King Jammys released in 1994.
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