Ken BootheKen Boothe
Ken Boothe (born 22 March 1948) is a Jamaican vocalist known for his distinctive vibrato and timbre. Boothe achieved an international reputation as one of Jamaica’s finest vocalists through a series of crossover hits that appealed to both reggae fans and mainstream audiences.
Ken Boothe was born in Denham Town, Kingston. He attended Denham Primary Elementary School and during this period developed an interest in music after receiving encouragement from his eldest sister, Hyacinth Clover, who was an established vocalist. Boothe cites singer Owen Gray as a major influence, particularly after hearing Gray perform the Leiber and Stoller rhythm and blues version of the 1920s blues standard, “Kansas City Blues”, written by E L Bowman and notably performed by Jim Jackson in 1927. Stranger Cole, who was an established artist and neighbor to Boothe, had already worked with Boothe on the Sir Percy sound system as well as recording two songs for independent producer Sir Mike though Boothe’s major breakthrough came in 1963 after Cole arranged an audition at Duke Reid’s studio. The audition with Cole and Boothe performing the song “Unos Dos Tres” was a success and Boothe and Cole formed the duo ‘Stranger & Ken’ with the first track released by them being “Hush Baby” on the B-side of Cole’s Island Records single “Last Love”. This was followed by the singles “Thick in Love” both released in 1963 on R&B Records. They released several more popular singles between 1963 and 1965, including “World’s Fair”, “Hush”, and “Artibella”. Boothe also recorded as a duo with Roy Shirley (as Roy & Ken), which resulted in the release of the single “Paradise” in 1966.