19 Songs, 57 Minutes


About Chosen Few

One of the most enduring (and enduringly popular) reggae groups of the 1970s, the Chosen Few not only had an enviable string of hits across the decade but also toured the United States, Canada, and England; spawned one unabashed star offshoot career for co-founder Scotty; and launched the international career of co-founder Franklin Spence (aka A.J. Franklin). The group was formed in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1969, following the breakup of the Federals, by ex-Federals Spence and Scotty, with Noel "Bunny" Brown and Richard MacDonald. They were put under contract by promoter/producer Derrick Harriott, who had previously recorded and booked the Federals. Harriott soon took Scotty out of the group and began featuring him as a DJ in a series of recordings in association with various groups, including the Crystalites.

The Chosen Few continued with Busty Brown, late of the Messengers, filling his spot, and the group's reputation grew. They were known for their superbly crafted vocals and also for putting on a dazzling show. MacDonald was later succeeded by Errol Brown, who brought with him a deep knowledge of American soul — the group was also sometimes billed as Errol Brown & the Chosen Few. The Chosen Few's early work, with the group's original lineup, was built around covers of songs by Blue Mink and other rock acts in a reggae style, but they later started doing covers of work by the Stylistics and the Main Ingredient — "You're a Big Girl Now" and "Everybody Plays the Fool" were major hits, and their first LP, 1973's Hit After Hit, featured a reggae version of "Stranger on the Shore" among other unusual covers. The group's recordings increasingly featured Franklin Spence in a production capacity as well as a performer.

They later branched out into straight soul recordings, most notably working with ska artist King Sporty on the album Night and Day (also released as The Chosen Few in Miami). Spence was the longest-tenured member of the group, which continued working into the 1980s with Errol Brown and Michael Deslandes.

Kingston, Jamaica




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