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Live Chat: Reggae Legend Winston Francis aka King Cool

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Caribbean Radio Show CRS Radio

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Winston Francis  aka King Cool is a  Jamaican singer whose career began in the 1960s.Born in Kingston Francis served an apprentice as a printer before relocating to Miami at the age of 16. He attended music school, and his teacher Chuck Bird arranged for him to perform with the Jackie Gleason Orchestra in front of Spiro Agnew in 1965. He then joined Carlos Malcolm's Afro Jamaicans band, with whom he toured the USA and the Caribbean. He was also a member of The Sheridans (with Pat Kelly) and The Mellotones. In the late 1960s he recorded as a solo artist for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One label, with his debut album Mr. Fix-It released in 1969.This was followed by a second album, California Dreaming in 1971, with the title track released as a single and chosen as 'Hit Pick of the Week' for two weeks running by Tony Blackburn on his BBC Radio 1 show.The single's B-side, "Too Experienced", featured backing vocals from Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer. He toured the UK club circuit and recorded for EMI in the 1970s.

Francis returned to recording in the early 1980s, releases including the Roy Cousins-produced Just Once and the self-produced Africa. After a break from music when he worked as a youth worker and social worker, he returned in 1987 as a backing vocalist for The Melodians and began working with Trevor Star and the Skaticians.He continued to record in the 1990s, working with Dennis Bovell under the name King Cool, and releasing Ragga Love and Sweet Rock Steady, and guested on Kelly's 1995 album Butterflies. His version of Ben E King's "Stand by Me" was a hit in France, selling over 90,000 copies, leading to work with Sly & Robbie and John Kpiaye.In 2003 he teamed up with fellow veteran AJ Franklin to record the album Stand Firm. In 2004 he released the medley album Feel Good All Over.

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