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Danny Red

Born Daniel Clarke, c.1962, London, England. Clarke’s formative years in London were followed by an adolescence in Jamaica where he became acquainted with reggae, blues, R&B, gospel, country and jazz. In 1980 he returned to the UK where he was introduced to the Jah Marcus sound system by his cousins. Initially performing as a DJ, he joined the City Dread sound system, leading to further notoriety when he joined the Fine Style Crew. His reputation as a cultural DJ flourished when he toured Europe alongside General Kelly as Danny Dread. It was under this appellation that in 1986, he recorded his debut ‘Duppy Conqueror’, a moderate hit, followed by ‘Skateboard’. A return to Jamaica resulted in a session at Music Mountain alongside the Bloodfire Posse, who supplied the rhythms to ‘Blackness Awareness’ and ‘Who Say Jah Jah’. Danny changed his surname to Red to avoid confusion with two other Jamaican DJs using the Dread banner. The name change coincided with his first singing track, ‘Jah Jah Me’. By 1991 he was firmly established as a roots performer, enjoying hits with ‘Armageddon’, ‘Original Formula’, ‘Don Gorgon’ and ‘Dance Get Overload’. In 1993 Red’s blend of roots and dancehall proved a considerable success, with releases such as ‘Sons Of Jah’ for Surzima Selassie and ‘Jah Is Here’ for Abba Jahnoi and Dredbeat. He recorded a number of tracks for Dredbeat including a tribute to Big Youth, ‘Warn Them’, and a showcase compilation, Rebirth, with Ras Tyah, Ras Natural, and of Lidj Incorporated, Lidj Ishu and Lidj Xylon. In 1994 he recorded ‘Riddimwize’, combining his vocal and DJ skills, followed by a combination with Gospel Fish, ‘Teaser’. His success led to a contract with Columbia Records, who released ‘Wise Up’, which featured Top Cat as well as remixes from Mafia And Fluxy and the Mad Professor. The single proved a moderate success and in 1995 he returned with ‘Rolling Stone’, produced by Sly And Robbie featuring Starkey Banton. The single, promotional video and an appearance on the Radio One Roadshow resulted in a crossover hit, although it marked the end of Red’s association with Columbia. He returned to the roots market with a strong compilation, and worked with a number of top producers, including Donovan Germain, Mikey Bennett and Steely And Clevie, performing ‘Keep On Moving’, ‘Jah Is Here’ and ‘I Don’t Care’.

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