Itals’ Davis has new project in his ‘Pocket’
Roots reggae singer-songwriter, Ronnie Davis backed by the Pocket Band will perform Saturday, Dec. 1 at Sawtooth Ridge Café in Tahoe City.
Davis is best known as one of the singers in the reggae band The Itals, a vocal group that formed in 1976 and comprise Keith Porter, Davis and Lloyd Ricketts. The Itals were inspired by the late sixties and early seventies American R&B groups, although their themes are Rastafarian-oriented.
Davis was born in Savanna La Mar, Jamaica in July 1950. When he joined the Tennors at the age of 17, he began a professional singing career, which now spans some thirty years of recording and performing highlights. The Tennors had already begun to make a name for themselves with lead vocalist Maurice Johnson and George “Clive” Murphy singing “Pressure And Slide,” a big hit for Studio One. Clive saw potential early in the young Davis. With coaching and encouragement from Clive, Davis was soon singing lead for the Tennors. Together, the Tennors recorded some of the most memorable vocal performances of the period. Titles were released on Treasure Isle, Gay Feet, Prince Buster, Dynamic and the group’s own Tennors label. By the time the Tennors began to dissolve, the group had recorded well over 50 titles including productions of Jackie Bernard, Monty Morris and several other artists as well. As rock steady began to evolve into reggae, the Tennors as a group ceased to exist and Davis began recording as a solo artist.
As reggae lovers know, the early 1970’s began a period of amazing creativity in Jamaican music. Davis, living in Kingston at that time, was among the most prolific and successful solo vocalists in Jamaica. From 1971 to 1975, Davis recorded well over 100 titles for a variety of labels and producers. He recorded extensively for Bunny Lee in the early seventies, but it was his work for Lloyd Campbell that would have the most profound effect on his life and professional career. In 1975, Davis had a No. 1 hit for Lloyd Campbell with the tune, “Won’t You Come Home,” on the Spider Man label. In 1976, the same riddim was re-voiced by Keith Porter, with Davis singing the harmony parts. First released as by Keith & Ronnie, Campbell renamed them the Itals. The tune, “Inna Dis A Time,” went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year and a signature-piece for the new group.
Despite the many achievements made by the Itals over the years, Ronnie felt the need to project more of his own music and has worked on solo projects more than once. His sound remains fresh and up-to-date, yet retains the timeless appeal of classic roots reggae. Few reggae artists have demonstrated the ability to remain vital with the changing times.
Tickets are $10 advance at the Sawtooth Ridge Café or online at http://www.renegadeshows.com. For more information call (530) 583-2801.
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