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Nitty Gritty

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b. Glen Augustus Holness, 1957, August Town, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 24 June 1991, Brooklyn, New York, USA. As computerized rhythms became popular in Jamaica, Nitty Gritty rose to fame alongside Tenor Saw, King Kong and Anthony Red Rose. The latter’s vocal delivery was similar in style to Nitty Gritty’s own gospel-tinged wail. The second eldest of 11 children of church-going parents, he trained as an electrician before forming the Soulites. He sang ‘Let The Power Fall On I’ in 1973 with Dennis Brown, George Nooks and the Mighty Diamonds for Joe Gibbs. His first solo recording, ‘Every Man Is A Seller’, recorded for Sugar Minott’s Youth Promotion label, was not released for another 10 years. He recorded several tracks at Channel One after working briefly with Danny Dread on the Zodiac sound system, and he also recorded two tracks for Derrick ‘Bubbles’ Howard of the African Brothers before moving to George Phang in 1984. He joined King Jammy in 1985. Their first release, ‘Hog Inna Minty’, was an instant success. Subsequent releases, ‘Good Morning Teacher’, ‘Sweet Reggae Music’, ‘Run Down The World’ and ‘Gimme Some Of Your Something’, were all significant hits. In 1986, his debut set Turbo Charged was released. He shared the credit with King Kong for Musical Confrontation in the same year. He relocated to New York shortly after this, and his work became more varied as a result. He made singles for Uptempo, Black Solidarity and Skengdon. General Penitentiary, recorded with the Studio One band in 1987, showed Nitty Gritty back on form. In 1989, an album for Blacker Dread was released, including material dating back to his first visit to the UK in 1986, but after this his musical activity declined somewhat. Sadly, he was shot dead at the age of 34 in Brooklyn, New York, outside Super Power record shop.

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Birth Name:

Glen Augustus Holness


1957 in August Town, Kingston, Jamaica

Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s