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Born Dalton Sinclair Bishop in Bridgetown, Barbados, Jackie Opel (1938–1970) possessed a rich, powerful voice with a high octave range. He was known as the Jackie Wilson of Jamaica, and was a gifted dancer.

In the early 1960s, he was discovered by Byron Lee, the band master of the Dragonaires, who brought him to Jamaica. There, he started performing with the Skatalites as one of their lead singers. He recorded as a solo artist first on Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label, and afterwards on Justin Yap's Top Deck label and Edward Seaga's Wirl label. His styles included ska, R&B, soul, gospel, and calypso. He is credited with inventing spouge music, a fusion of ska, calypso, and R&B music. Opel performed duos with Doreen Schaffer and Hortense Ellis, and in 1964 was backed by Wailers Bob Marley and Peter Tosh on "Mill Man."

Opel eventually moved to Trinidad and then back to Barbados. On 8 March 1970, he died in a car crash in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Discography (selected)

  • A Love To Share, 1964
  • A Time To Cry, 1966, (with The Wailers)
  • Every Word I Say Is True, 1964
  • Mill Man, The, 1964, (with The Wailers)
  • Old Rocking Chair, (with The Skatalites)
  • Pictures Of Smoke, 1964
  • Push Wood
  • Sit Down Servant
  • Sometimes I Wonder, 1964
  • Take Your Time, 1964
  • Tears From My Eyes, 1964
  • The Mill Man, 1964
  • The Vow, (with Doreen Schaffer and The Skatalites)
  • Turn To The Almighty, 1964
  • Valley Of Green, 1964
  • Vow, The, (with Doreen Schaffer and The Skatalites)

Discography on compact disc

  • "The Best Of Jackie Opel" (Studio One)
  • "Cry Me A River" (Studio One)
  • "A Love To Share: Top Sounds From Top Deck, Vol. 2" (Westside) Split release with Ferdie Nelson
  • "The Memorable Jackie Opel" (Select-O-Hits) Spouge recordings

Compilations:

  • The Vow (with Doreen Schaffer) & Old Rocking Chair from "Foundation Ska" (Heartbeat)
  • Push Wood & Sit Down Servant from "Ska Bonanza: The Studio One Years" (Heartbeat) Later reissued as "Go Ska Go" (Heartbeat)
  • You Send Me from "Gaz Mayall Top! Ska Tunes" (Trojan)
  • Push Wood from "It's Ska Time: 20 original Ska Classics" (Charly)
  • The Mill Man & A Time To Cry (both backed by The Wailers) from "Wailers & Friends: Top Hits Sung By The Legends of Jamaican Ska" (Heartbeat)
  • I Am What I Am, Done With A Friend & The Lord Is With Me from "I Am Going Home: 25 Classic Ska Shots" (bootleg)
  • Pictures Of Smoke from "Ska-ntastic: Vintage Jamaican Ska 1963-66" (Richmond)
  • You're Too Bad from "Studio One Rude Boy" (Soul Jazz)
  • I Love Jamaica from "Trojan Jamaica Box Set" (Trojan)
  • Tears From My Eyes from "Ska Non Stop: Top Sounds From Top Deck, Vol. 8" (Westside)
  • Turn To The Almighty (Take 1), Turn To The Almighty (Take 2) & Sometimes I Wonder from "Ska Down Jamaica Way: Ska Boo Da Ba, Vol. 2" (WSM)

External links

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