Soul Rebel Reggae-rizes a Soul Classic “King Majesty”

by Howard Campbell

SOUTH FLORIDA – Jamaican music fans have been rocking to Queen Majesty for over 50 years. Written by Curtis Mayfield, the song was originally recorded by his group The Impressions, but reggae versions by The Techniques, The Jays and Dennis Brown are just as popular in Jamaica.

Singer Soul Rebel is the latest to ‘reggae-rize’ the soul classic. Her version, titled King Majesty, is produced by Carlton “Dilly” McLeod for London-based Stingray Records.

She met McLeod while in London last year and he played the rhythm track for her. After agreeing to cover Queen Majesty, Soul Rebel wanted to go beyond a change in gender title.

Soul Rebel - King Majesty
Soul Rebel

“I changed from Queen Majesty to King Majesty because I wanted to sing to a king. I know art imitates life and life imitates art so I wanted life to imitate the energy in King Majesty and bring better unions in a way that a woman can profess to her king about the love and intimacy that she feels for him. I wanted to sing about love from a woman to a man or rather from a queen to a king,” she explained.

The Techniques cut is the best-known version by a Jamaican.  Released in 1967, it was produced by Duke Reid for his Treasure Isle label. Its revamped rhythm also drives King Majesty.

Soul Rebel is from Linstead, a rural market town in St. Catherine parish, Jamaica. That area has produced acts like rocksteady singer Phyllis Dillon, roots-reggae singer Joseph Hill of Culture and Tony Curtis of LUST.

Last year, she launched her EP, Drama, at The Garden in Lauderdale Lakes.

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