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Wayne McGhie & The Sounds of Joy

Wayne McGhie & The Sounds of Joy

LITA 008
Release Notes
  • Finally back in print
  • Expanded liner notes by Kevin “Sipreano” Howes including exclusive interviews w/ McGhie, Alton Ellis, and Lloyd Delpratt
  • 180gram LP housed in a deluxe Stoughton gatefold “Tip-On” jacket
  • Rare archive photographs

Finally back in print and one of the pinnacle releases in the Light in the Attic Records catalog, Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy is the debut album of Jamaican-Canadian legend Wayne McGhie. Originally released in 1970 on the Birchmount label, the Sounds of Joy is a crucial mix of funk, soul, and reggae. Cited as one of the first Canadian soul albums (and now heralded as one of Toronto’s best LPs ever), LITA’s expanded 2014 vinyl edition celebrates the ten-year anniversary of our landmark 2004 reissue.

In 1967, Kingston-born musician Jo-Jo Bennett (Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, Jo-Jo & the Fugitives), then living in Toronto, sent word to Jamaica: The West Indian Federation (W.I.F.) Club needs a band! Wayne quickly responded to the call, moving from Montego Bay to Ontario later that year. Possessed with an intensified vision, Wayne started to assemble a stellar cast of Jamaican ex-pat musical friends and Studio One vets to record his own album, captured during off-hours at Art Snider’s Sound Canada Recording Centre in the winter of 1969. Wayne was only twenty-three at the time.

Twelve musicians are credited on the Sounds of Joy LP sleeve including Alton Ellis, Ike Bennett, drummer Everton Paul, and Lloyd Delpratt; others, including keyboard king Jackie Mittoo, are rumored to have sat in. Of the ten songs, six were McGhie originals, and while the material moves from funk to soul to reggae, it’s Wayne’s pure and soulful voice that sets the tone. While the Sounds of Joy started to gig in support of the album, the Birchmount label did nothing to promote it. Months later, an accidental fire at the pressing plant destroyed all remaining copies of the record. The album was lost, never to be repressed. The Sounds of Joy were gone. Life moved on.

McGhie spent much of the 1970s recording one-off projects, occasionally touring throughout Canada. He also performed on a number of sessions for Mittoo, Bill King, and Studio One, but as the seventies drew to a close, McGhie started dealing with serious mental health concerns. He abandoned his creative aspirations and disappeared from the music world. Still, by the mid-1990s, the tides had turned. The Sounds Of Joy were back, on record at least, sparked by a renewed interest in the extremely rare Birchmount LP from talented hip-hop producers and forward-thinking vinyl champions like Q-Tip, Pete Rock, Supreme La Rock, and Mr. Attic (Da Grassroots).

For much of 2003, Light in the Attic searched high and low for McGhie’s whereabouts. Friends from Jamaica to Toronto had all lost touch years ago. Wayne was truly missing in action until a chance meeting with Toronto-based Jamaican singer Jay Douglas provided the clues and contacts needed. In January 2004, Light in the Attic, along with DJ and Canadian music historian/liner notes author Kevin “Sipreano” Howes, flew to Toronto to meet the legend himself. And now, decades later, Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy is back in print for music lovers the world over, still sounding as fresh and powerful as it did in 1970.