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GEORGE FAITH 1946 - 2003

He had the groove

Sad news from Jamaica: George Faith, best known for the soulful To Be A Lover album, has passed away.

Born as Earl George Turner in 1946 in Jamaica, the man who became better known as George Faith began signing at an early age, where his vocal talent was recognized when he sang at parties and church services. Like so many other young singers, Turner was influenced by American R&B performers like Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke. Turner's initial foray into the music business was as part of the Enchanters, although his unique vocal styling led to him being encouraged to perform as a soloist.

At the age of 16 he recorded his debut, "See Me". By 1973 he had formed a partnership with singer/producer Glen Lee, which led to the songs "I Won't Cry" and the soul number "Gonna Give Her All The Love I've Got". During this period he teamed up with Lee Perry, and as George Earl cut the first version of the William Bell classic "To Be A Lover". He then moved on to cut tunes for Lloyd Campbell ("Soulful Lover") and Phil Pratt ("So Many Ways").

Several years later, Turner got back together with Lee Perry and recorded several tunes at the Black Ark, including covers of the O'Jays "I've Got The Groove", Paul Anka's "Diana", and a second version of "To Be A Lover". During this time, Scratch told George "you've got faith, man!" and gave him his new name: George Faith. The success of the "To Be A Lover" single led to the album of the same name, released by Island in 1978. A second album with Perry was recorded with the working title of Working On The Guide Line, but other than a single, "Guide Line", the sessions remain unreleased.

A second album with Perry was recorded, but other than a single, "Guide Line", the sessions remain unreleased.

Around the same time, Faith began recording with Alvin "GG" Ranglin at Channel One Studios. His work with Ranglin was credited to Earl George, as were sessions with Phil Pratt later that same year. In 1980, drawing from his experience in the recording studios, Faith decided to embark on a career as an independent producer. His efforts were sadly thwarted, which inspired his return to recording with Ranglin. A 1982 single, "Since I Met You Baby", showed that Faith still had soul, even if the song didn't become a hit.

Although he was never able to repeat the success of his To Be A Lover days, Faith maintained a respectable profile in the reggae scene with a number of producers on Jamaica. He consistently appeared on the hotel circuit in Jamaica's North Coast, and in 1990 began regularly performing in Toronto, Canada. Notable shows included a tour with Gregory Isaacs and Philip Frazier as well as the acclaimed Rock Steady Nite shows at the Skyline Hotel. Faith's final recording session occurred in 1992 when he released the album Just The Blues.

Thanks to the Reggae Vibes website for the initial news story.

May 2003 (with additional material January 2006)