Junior Byles ADD

Junior Byles Tribute Album - Still Beating Down Babylon

07/07/2023 by Press Release

Junior Byles Tribute Album - Still Beating Down Babylon

The genius of Junior Byles — who recorded some of roots-reggae’s greatest songs — is recalled on Still Beating Down Babylon, an 11-song album released July 7th by DubShot Records.

Largely produced by legendary guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, it comprises acoustic versions of songs such as ‘Beat Down Babylon’, ‘Fade Away’, ‘A Place Called Africa’ and ‘Curly Locks’. Chinna started work on the project over two years ago. He was determined to do the original versions justice but kept things fresh with the Nyahbinghi style of his Binghistra band. 

We didn’t do it like di originals, wi have some different arrangements. It’s jus’ like yuh writing (songs) with a guitar an’ bring in some instruments,Smith explained. 

The set features reggae icons Inner Circle, Mykal Rose, and Freddie McGregor, but choosing to work with grass roots artists was key to bringing the project to life he added "They don't have a lotta hype, but they did the songs with a lotta heart.

"Wi can do nuthin more than help dis artiste, because him a guh through him ting from di 70s. Wi jus' happy wi get it done," he said. 

Beat Down Babylon is done by Freddie McGregor, Mykal Rose and Inner Circle; Fade Away is covered by Chiney KiKi; A Place Called Africa is done by Itral Ites and Curly Locks is covered by Little Nate, a singer from Israel.

There are also renditions of Long Way, Nebuchadnezzar, Fever, Chant Down Babylon, I Don’t Know and Heart and Soul.

Byles began recording music in the 1960s as part of a harmony group, but his career took off when he went solo during the root’s revolution of the early 1970s. Several of his hit songs including Beat Down Babylon, Curly Locks and A Place Called Africa were produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry.

That promise was curtailed by psychological and health problems that have plagued the singer in recent years. There has been renewed interest in his music during the past 25 years due to regular playing of Beat Down Babylon and Fade Away at dances and on radio in Jamaica and around the world. 

Earl "Chinna" Smith, who wrote and produced Fade Away in 1974, has maintained ties with Byles throughout his struggles with mental Illness.
Still Beating Down Babylon is his salute to "one of reggae's true legends".

01. Inner Circle - Beat Down Babylon feat. Freddie McGregor & Mykal Rose
02. Kai Wakeling - I Don't Know
03. Matrujah - Heart And Soul
04. Delphine - Chant Down Babylon
05. Chiney KiKi - Fade Away
06. Marlon Brown - Long Way
07. Color Red - King Of Babylon
08. Donovan Joseph - Fever feat. Tappa Zukie & Qudia Lewis
09. Likkle Nate - Curly Locks
10. Iral Ites - A Place Called Africa
11. Inner Circle, Don Camel - Beat Dub Babylon (Don Camel Dub) feat. Freddie McGregor & Mykal Rose