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Denroy Morgan

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Biography

Denroy Morgan is a veteran reggae artist who was born in Jamaica, but unlike most of his peers, he launched his career after relocating to the United States, where he went on to enjoy commercial and critical success. Sources differ on where and when Morgan was born -- it's believed he was either born in 1947 in Kingston's Spanish Town district, or in 1946 in May Pen in Clarendon Parish. As a youngster, Morgan was friendly with Toots Hibbert, legendary vocalist with Toots and the Maytals, but it wasn't until he pulled up stakes and moved to New York City that be began pursuing a career in music. In the late '60s, Morgan was playing reggae and rocksteady in New York with a band called the Mad Creators, as well as working with cover bands. By 1974, he had co-founded an American reggae band, the Black Eagles, who released a handful of singles on small labels and cut an album, Warning, in 1978. In 1981, Morgan cut a solo album, I'll Do Anything for You, which fused reggae and rap styles; the title track proved to be a hit, and RCA Records signed Morgan for the follow-up album, 1984's Make My Day. In the mid-'80s, Morgan put his career on the back burner to focus on his family, and as it happened, there was plenty of talent in the Morgan household. Denroy's offspring would go on to form the reggae group Morgan Heritage and a hip-hop/dancehall act known as LSM, while Ray "Gramps" Morgan and Laza Morgan enjoyed solo careers, and Ray's son Jemere Morgan has also launched a recording career. In 1998, Denroy Morgan relaunched his own career with the album Salvation, which found him embracing roots reggae and explicitly spiritual themes. Morgan continued to focus on conscious reggae in the 21st century with albums like 2001's Cool Runnings and 2009's Theocracy Reign. In 2017, with Morgan in his seventies by the most generous estimate, he proved he wasn't slowing down with the release of his album Muzical Unity, another set of spiritual reggae featuring a cover of the Bob Marley/Peter Tosh classic "Get Up, Stand Up." ~ Mark Deming
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