Watty Burnett

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Watty Burnett
Birth nameDerrick Burnett
Also known asKing Burnett
Born (1950-05-28) 28 May 1950 (age 69)
Port Antonio, Jamaica
Genres Reggae
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, bass guitar, drums
Years active1968 – present
Associated acts The Congos
Website www.wattyb.com

Watty Burnett, also known as King Burnett (born Derrick Burnett in Port Antonio, Jamaica, 28 May 1950) is a reggae artist who had a long association with Lee Perry. [1] [2]

Port Antonio Place in Surrey, Jamaica

Port Antonio is the capital of the parish of Portland on the northeastern coast of Jamaica, about 60 miles (100 km) from Kingston. It had a population of 12,285 in 1982 and 13,246 in 1991. It is the island's third largest port, famous as a shipping point for bananas and coconuts, as well as one of its most important tourist attractions, tourism being a major contributor to the town’s economy.

Jamaica Country in the Caribbean

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola ; the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands lies some 215 kilometres (134 mi) to the north-west.

Reggae Music genre from Jamaica

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as "Rudie Blues", then "Ska", later "Blue Beat", and "Rock Steady". It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.



Burnett grew up in Port Antonio, the eldest of nine children, and learned to sing in the Baptist church his family attended. [2] His nickname of "Watty" was given to him by childhood friend Murvin Smith Jr (aka Junior Soul), in reference to Burnett's prominent stutter as a child. [2] Burnett formed a duo with Jimmy Nelson in the late 1960s, known alternately as The Soul Twins and Jimmy & Derrick, and they travelled to Kingston on Sundays, hoping to get a recording session. [2] Although they were rejected by several producers (including Duke Reid who told them "You're too young, come back in five years"), Lee Perry saw potential in their song "Pound Get a Blow", a commentary on the attempts of Canada and the United States to replace the island's currency. [2] The song was a moderate success in Jamaica in 1968, and placed in the Festival Song Contest. [2] They recorded several more tracks for Perry, although their tracks were often miscredited to other artists such as The Bleechers. [1] Burnett moved to the Allman Town district of Kingston, living with his brother Fitzy, and also recorded as "King Burnett" for Perry in late 1974, releasing "I Man Free" and "Babylon a Fall" under that name. [2]

Kingston, Jamaica Capital city in Surrey, Jamaica

Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It faces a natural harbour protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island. In the Americas, Kingston is the largest predominantly English-speaking city south of the United States.

Arthur "Duke" Reid CD was a Jamaican record producer, DJ and label owner.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

Burnett became a regular session vocalist and instrumentalist (drums, percussion and bass guitar) for Perry at his Black Ark studio, and recorded singles in his own right for the producer, with "Rise and Shine", "Open The Gate", which became the title track of a Trojan Records collection of Perry productions, and his biggest hit, "Rainy Night In Portland" (a version of Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in Georgia"). [2] [3] When The Congos began working with Perry, he added Burnett to the group in 1977 to add baritone to the harmonies, as he was aiming to record a classic falsetto-tenor-baritone group. [3] Burnett sang on seven tracks on the Heart of the Congos album, and also contributed mooing noises, recorded earlier by Perry, who got Burnett to moo down a cardboard tube from a roll of tin foil, and these sounds were also used on other Black Ark recordings. [2] The Congos left Perry after a dispute over the release of the Heart of the Congos album, but after recording another Congos album, Burnett returned to Perry. He continued working as a session vocalist, providing baritone on Jimmy Cliff's reworking of "Bongo Man" on the Give Thankx album, [1] and backing vocals on Bob Marley's Exodus album. Burnett rejoined Cedric Myton in the Congos in the 1990s, releasing the Revival album. [1]

Trojan Records is a British record label founded in 1968. It specialises in ska, rocksteady, reggae and dub music. The label currently operates under the Sanctuary Records Group. The name Trojan comes from the Croydon-built Trojan truck that was used as Duke Reid's sound system in Jamaica. The truck had "Duke Reid - The Trojan King of Sounds" painted on the sides, and the music played by Reid became known as the Trojan Sound.

Brook Benton American singer and songwriter

Brook Benton was an American singer and songwriter who was popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s, with hits such as "It's Just a Matter of Time" and "Endlessly", many of which he co-wrote.

The Congos Jamaican band

The Congos are a reggae vocal group from Jamaica which formed as the duo "Ashanti" Roy Johnson (tenor) and Cedric Myton (falsetto), later becoming a trio with the addition of Watty Burnett (baritone), and have been active on and off from the mid-1970s until the present day. They are best known for their Heart of the Congos album, recorded with Lee "Scratch" Perry.

Burnett released his first solo album proper, To Hell and Back, in 2002. [1]


Studio albums

Shanachie Records Independent record label based in United States

Shanachie Records is a New Jersey-based record label founded in 1976 by Richard Nevins and Dan Collins. The label is named for the word Shanachie, an Irish storyteller.


Clinton Fearon is a Jamaican reggae singer and musician. He has lived Seattle, Washington since 1987.

Appeared on

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 I, Peter (2004). "Article : Watty Burnett" (Interview). Reggae Vibes Productions. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Katz, David (2000) "People Funny Boy", Payback Press, ISBN   0-86241-854-2
  3. 1 2 Larkin, Colin (1998) "The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae", Virgin Books, ISBN   0-7535-0242-9
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)