Throughout a crucial period that bore witness to the emergence of ska and its later mutations into rocksteady and finally reggae, Justin Hinds was among the most successful recording artists on the Jamaican music scene, his sweet tenor spotlighted on hundreds of Duke Reid-produced singles between 1963 and 1972. Born on May 7, 1942 in the St. Ann's area, Hinds' greatest music was later created in the company of his backing vocalists the Dominoes, a duo comprising Dennis Sinclair and Junior Dixon. They first recorded at Reid's Treasure Isle studios in late 1963, a debut session that yielded the hit "Carry Go Bring Come" in just one take. Between 1964 and 1966, Hinds was Reid's most popular artist, and during this period alone he recorded some 70 singles backed by session aces Tommy McCook and the Supersonics; among his biggest ska hits were "King Samuel," "Jump Out of the Frying Pan," "The Ark" and "Rub Up Push Up."
Around 1966, Hinds made the transformation to rocksteady, and the hits kept coming. Over the next several years, he released smash after smash, including "The Higher the Monkey Climbs," "No Good Rudy," "On a Saturday Night," "Here I Stand," and "Save a Bread." He and Reid parted company in 1972, with the latter dying three years later; Hinds then began working with producer Jack Ruby, a collaboration which resulted in the 1976 LP Jezebel. Two years later, he also teamed with producer Sonia Pottinger for a series of singles including "Rig-Ma-Roe Game" and "Wipe Your Weeping Eyes." After 1984's Travel with Love, however, the reclusive Hinds essentially went into retirement, leaving Jamaica only rarely. He did return to recording, albeit sporadically, with a final studio effort in 1992, Know Jah Better, and then a decade later with a live album Let's Rock Live. Another concert album, 2003's Live at the Grassroots, featured Hinds backed by roots revivalists John Brown's Body. Justin Hinds succumbed to cancer two years later, passing away quietly at his Jamaican home on March 16, 2005. Labels continued to release additional material after his death, however, such as the 2009 compilation Sinners. ~ Jason Ankeny