In 1967, Kingston-born musician Jo-Jo Bennett, then living in Toronto, sent word to Jamaica: Jo-Jo needed a band. Wayne quickly responded to the call, moving from Montego Bay to Toronto that year. Possessed with an intensifying vision, in the winter of 1969, Wayne assembled a stellar cast of musical friends and Studio One vets to begin the sessions for the Sounds of Joy album, recorded during off-hours at Art Snider’s Sound Canada Recording Centre. Wayne was 23 at the time.
Twelve musicians are credited on the LP sleeve including Alton Ellis, Ike Bennett, Everton Paul, and Lloyd Delpratt; others, including Jackie Mittoo, are rumored to have sat in. Of the 10 songs, six were McGhie originals, and as the material moved from funk, to soul, to reggae/R&B crossover, it is Wayne’s pure and soulful voice that sets the tone. Although the band started to gig in support of the album, Birchmount did nothing to promote it. Months later, an accidental fire at the pressing planet destroyed all remaining copies of the record. The album was lost, never to be repressed. The Sounds Of Joy was gone and forgotten.
McGhie spent much of the ‘70s recording one-off projects, occasionally touring throughout Canada, and performing on a number of sessions for Jackie Mittoo, Bill King, and Studio One. But as the ’70s came to a close, Wayne abandoned and disappeared from the music world. Fortunately things changed in the mid-90s. The Sounds Of Joy returned, sparked by a renewed interest from talented hip-hop producers and forward-thinking collectors, like Q-Tip, Mr. Supreme, Pete Rock, DJ Sureshot, Buck 65, and Public Enemy’s Gary G-Wiz.
For much of 2003, Light In The Attic intensely searched for Wayne via every possible channel. Friends from Jamaica to Toronto had lost touch years ago. Wayne was truly missing in action, until a chance meeting with Toronto soul legend Jay Douglas gave us the clues and contacts we needed. In January 2004, Light In The Attic, along with liner notes contributor Kevin Howes, flew to Toronto to meet the man! And now on May 11th, thirty four years later, the Sounds Of Joy is back, still sounding as fresh and powerful as it did in 1970.
Listen & Buy
Wayne McGhie & The Sounds of Joy
The Holy Grail of Toronto Funk has arrived! Light In The Attic proudly presents the first true debut of Studio One veteran and Jackie Mittoo band mate Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy. Originally released in 1970 on the Birchmount label, this self-titled masterpiece is a wicked mix of reggae, funk, soul and wide open drum breaks. The best album you never got the chance to hear and cited by many as the first Canadian soul album!