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TopFeature ArchivesArtist Hall of FameLloyd Charmers
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Lloyd CharmersText by Harry Hawks
Lloyd Charmers' production proficiency, voice, guitar and keyboards created some of the greatest records to ever come out of Jamaica.
Lloyd Charmers
Lloyd Charmers
Real Name Lloyd Tyrell
Born Apr 18, 1946
Died Dec 27, 2012
Place of Birth Kingston Jamaica
Related Artist(s)
"I started singing with Roy Willis in The Charmers..." Lloyd 'Charmers' Tyrell

But Lloyd 'Charmers' Tyrell did far more than sing and he played an integral, if still largely unrecognised role, in the development of Jamaican music. One of reggae's rare renaissance men Lloyd wrote songs, played keyboards and guitar and produced top quality hit records for over two decades.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica 18th April 1946 Lloyd grew up in Trench Town and started his singing career in 1961 as one half of The Sweet Charmers with a friend named Roy Wilson and, like so many other aspiring hopefuls, their first break came at the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour. Following the success of Higgs & Wilson and The Blues Busters vocal duos were the order of the day and The Charmers (as they were now known) soon became one of the most popular recording acts on Kingston's burgeoning ska scene. From 1963 to 1966 their hits included 'Best Friend' for Lyndon Pottinger, 'My Heart Cries For You' for Byron Lee, 'Girl Of My Dreams' & 'Time After Time' for Prince Buster and 'Lonely Boy', 'I'm Going Back Home' & 'What's The Use' for Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd(CS Dodd) and, forever after, Lloyd Tyrell was invariably referred to as Lloyd Charmers.
"Lloyd was a top performer, both as a singer and dancer..." Count Prince Miller
As ska turned into rock steady Lloyd joined Alton Ellis & The Flames where his deep voice added immeasurably to their hits for Treasure Isle such as 'Cry Tough' and 'Rock Steady'. He also recorded some beautiful, but overlooked, solo rock steady outings for Coxsone at Studio One including the aching 'Things Is Going Wrong' and the soulful 'Time Is Getting Hard' and Lloyd then became one of The Uniques alongside Slim Smith and BB Seaton.

"Through Slim used to sing lead with The Techniques I came up with the name The Uniques. Them days you'd have to think! The first Uniques was Derrick Morgan, Ken Boothe and Slim Smith... they sung the harmonies on (sings) "People get ready to do rock steady..." that's the first Uniques tune. Lloyd Charmers came in when we did 'Let Me Go Girl'... the second one that mashed up the place was 'Let Me Go Girl' and BB Seaton and Lloyd Charmers were singing on that one... and when the tune came out it was the baddest tune for 1967... it became a monster hit everywhere in Jamaica! So the Uniques officially were Slim Smith and Lloyd Charmers and the original 'My Conversation' was just Slim Smith and Lloyd Charmers." Bunny Striker Lee

Lloyd then moved on to playing keyboards in The Hippy Boys, one of Kingston's leading session bands, alongside Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett on bass, Carlton 'Carlie' Barrett on drums, Alva 'Reggie' Lewis on guitar and Glen Adams also on keyboards. As well as providing the backing for numerous hit records "in fact The Hippy Boys were The Upsetters while being produced by Lee Perry and The Hippy Boys while being produced by Sonia Pottinger" they also created their own instrumental hits including 'Dr No Go' and 'Reggae Pressure' for Sonia Pottinger's High Note label.

In 1968 Lloyd had recorded the rather risqué 'Bang Bang Lulu' as Lloyd Tyrell on WIRL which was a massive underground hit in the UK for the recently established Pama label. Two years later, after Lloyd had created his own Splash label, he returned to saucy subject matter on 'Birth Control', another massive underground hit that The Specials later revived in 1979 as 'Too Much Too Young'. The success of these x rated tracks led to an entire album's worth of similar material credited to Lloydie & The Lowbites aptly titled 'Censored'. Lloyd's incisive sense of humour was also in evidence on releases such as 'Dollars & Bonds', 'Jamaican Reggae', 'Touching The President' where Lloyd casts aspersions on Shorty The President's 'President A Mash Up The Resident' and 'Vengeance' where Lloyd disparages The Upsetter with some hilarious impersonations of Dave Barker and Lee Perry. Lloyd followed up his medley of Roy Shirley's greatest hits, 'Hold Them Plus One', with a version entitled 'Mucking Fuch'... a very cheeky little number although "actually Roy Shirley didn't like it and he said he would answer me... but he never got round to it".

Now working with the Now Generation band there was also a very serious side to Lloyd Charmers as demonstrated on his productions such as Ken Boothe's 'Black, Gold & Green' and 'Is It Because I'm Black?', Bob Andy's 'Fire Burning' and alongside Ken Boothe as The Charmers with 'Rasta Never Fails'. However, it was with sentimentally inclined love songs that Lloyd proved to be most successful and he started work on a series of smooth, sophisticated recordings through an amicable arrangement with Federal Records. Marcia Griffiths hit with 'Play Me' and 'Sweet Bitter Love' and in September 1974 his cover of David Gates' 'Everything I Own', sung by Ken Boothe, reached Number One in the UK National Charts.

"Lloyd Charmers was over Federal more time. He produced a lot of tunes for Federal... all Ken Boothe with 'Everything I Own'... it's Federal did make it. It came out on Wild Flower... that was Federal's label." Bunny Striker Lee
"Lloyd Charmers... we created a label for him with fifty/fifty ownership of production and he got paid according to the agreement. He came into Federal Records in 1972/73... his records were released on Wild Flower but our productions were released on the label too." Paul Khouri

Ken Boothe's follow up 'Crying Over You', also produced by Lloyd, rode high in the UK National Charts reaching Number 11 in December of that year. Two years later Lloyd narrowly missed out on another UK Number One with Delroy Wilson's cover of Bob Marley's 'I'm Still Waiting'. This masterful interpretation was one of his biggest ever hits but the record was not released outside of Jamaica and was only available in limited quantities in specialist shops as an expensive import, or pre-release, single.

"Delroy Wilson had a tune named 'I'm Still Waiting' for Federal... Lloyd Charmers did produce it for Federal... and the people in England them wanted it but they couldn't get it..." Bunny Striker Lee

However, Lloyd and Delroy were able to consolidate their success with the 'Sarge' album in 1976 which was released in London and seemed to never stop selling. As the decade drew to a close, Lloyd relocated to London where his album 'Spell' with Sylvia Tella proved to be a milestone in UK lovers rock. Lloyd Charmers gradually withdrew from music making although he never stopped making music and last year (2012) he was busy working on his autobiography dictating his life story and employing a typist to get it all down on paper. If the book contains even a fraction of some of the stories Lloyd recounted when I last spoke to him, unfortunately off the record because Lloyd was sensibly saving the best for his book, then it will be an essential addition to the history of Jamaican music, will prove every bit as important as his music, and help to set the record straight.

"My only disappointment is that a trooper like Lloyd Charmers was not recognised with a national honour by Jamaica, as he was one of the main people who helped to spread Jamaican music in the UK and Europe, making it the world music it is today. People like Rupie Edwards, Owen Gray and Lloyd Charmers are the forgotten ones, and they have given so much energy and love to promote Jamaican music." Winston 'Mr Fix-It' Francis(Winston Francis)

On 27th December 2012, after reportedly feeling unwell, Lloyd was driving to hospital when he suffered a massive heart attack. An ambulance rushed him to Homerton Hospital in east London but he was pronounced dead on arrival. His "sudden passing came as a complete shock to all who knew him with friends and family commenting that he had previously shown no apparent signs of ill health" . Lloyd Tyrell was not only a huge talent but also a true gentleman who more than deserved his charming Charmers epithet. He will be sadly missed by his friends and family and by everyone who was familiar with his wonderful music and all at Dub Store send sincere condolences to Lloyd's family and friends at this very sad time.

22nd January 2013

Date Added: Jan 29, 2013 / Date Updated: Jan 29, 2013
Copyright (C) 2018 Dub Store Sound Inc.
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