by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – Anyone who has followed Jamaican music for an extended period knows Wayne Armond is synonymous with Chalice, the band he helped start over 40 years ago.
He is still a member but for It’s Alright, his/their latest song, the credit reads Chalice Featuring Wayne Armond.
The lanky singer/guitarist, who moved to South Florida one year ago, insists he is still with the band. The ‘featuring’ is a strategic move.
“I’m putting my name out there because in the near future I want to put out an album for myself. It doesn’t mean I’m going solo from Chalice; it just means it’s a project I wanted to do for a long time,” he explained.
Armond wrote, produced and arranged It’s Alright which was released in June. Since moving to Florida, he has “hit the ground running” and kept busy, playing gigs. He has recorded instrumental covers of Alton Ellis songs he hopes to release as an album soon.
It’s Alright is being largely promoted through social media, which Armond says has helped make it popular in countries like Ghana and Nigeria. The song has also been serviced to Jamaica where, according to him, “It’s getting some love.”
Chalice burst on the scene in 1980 with I Still Love You, a soft rock ballad written by Armond that topped Jamaican charts for several weeks. Over the years, they have had many hit songs including Can’t Dub, Dangerous Disturbances, Good to be There and Revival Time.
But even as Chalice excelled, Armond found time for other projects. He toured with Jimmy Cliff for six years, playing on the reggae legend’s hit version of I Can See Clearly Now; played on two albums by jazz great Monty Alexander and wrote a hit song (Righteous Youths) for Richie Spice.
From a Jamaican family with strong ties to the thoroughbred industry, Wayne Armond joined Chalice after stints with Time (a group managed by Bob Andy) and Byron Lee and The Dragonaires. Now in his early 60s, he retains a zest for making quality music.
“I still have the drive, the passion. I’m pretty much happy,” he said.