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Lynn Taitt

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The architect of the rocksteady sound in Jamaica, virtuoso guitarist Lyn Taitt (his full name was Nerlynn Taitt, sometimes listed as Nearlin Taitt) was born in 1934 in San Fernando, Trinidad, where he was a steel pan player as well as a guitarist. He moved to Jamaica in 1962, where he began working in various ska bands, including the Sheiks and the Cavaliers. He formed the Comets in 1964. His most famous band, the Jets, came together in 1966. The Jets recorded what is arguably the first rocksteady track, "Hold Them," for producer Joe Gibbs in 1967. Taitt became the definitive guitarist in the style, attributing his famous "chicken-picking" guitar sound to an attempt to reproduce on the instrument the bubbling sound of steel drums. Taitt recorded for all the major Jamaican producers of the day, including Gibbs, Duke Reid, Sonia Pottinger, Leslie Kong, Derrick Morgan, Ken Lack, Bunny Lee, and Lee "Scratch" Perry, and his well-arranged and funky instrumentals (many of which were covers of international pop hits) remain classics. Taitt moved to Canada in 1968, but his unique guitar style became a pivotal hallmark of Jamaican reggae, and has been much copied ever since.

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Birth Name:

Nerlynn Taitt,


1934 in San Fernando, Trinidad

Years Active:

'60s, '70s