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Joseph Cotton

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b. Silbert Walton, 1957, St. Ann, Jamaica, West Indies. Prior to his success in the music industry Walton spent a year in the Jamaican Police Force before recording as Jah Walton for Joe Gibbs in 1976.
By 1977 he recorded a number of tracks for producer Harry Mudie, including the popular combination hit with Prince Heron, ‘Stay A Yard And Praise God’, ‘Touch Her Where She Want It Most’ and the hilarious ‘Married To A Bank Cashier’. With Sonia Pottinger he was enrolled to perform on the rehashed ‘It’s Raining’ by the Techniques, made available in the disco mix format. In 1982 he released the dancehall stepper ‘All Kinda People Come To The Dance’ and the Nicodemus -influenced ‘Senator Dee’, which enhanced his credibility and led to a session at Channel One for the equally popular ‘River To The Bank’. In the mid-80s he became known as Joseph Cotton, which led to a change of fortune when he recorded the chart-topping ‘No Touch The Style’ for Fashion Records in the UK, featuring the uncredited vocals of Janet Lee Davis. The release was coupled with a celebratory instrumental, ‘Cotton Comes To Harlesdon’, a pun relating to the 1970 blaxploitation movie starring Godfrey Cambridge. The success of the single resulted in a rare UK television appearance in 1987 on the Channel 4 Club Mix programme, where he performed his hit to an exuberant crowd. The single led to numerous hits including ‘Things Running Slow’, ‘Pat Ha Fe Cook’, ‘Tutoring’, ‘Judge Cotton’, and the combination with Janet Lee Davis (credited to her alter ego Shako Lee), ‘What Is This’.
In the late 80s Cotton teamed up with veteran producer Glen Brown, who had enjoyed a revival when he recorded the instrumental Glen Brown Plays Music From The East. In the early 90s he joined fellow expatriate Errol Dunkley, performing their interpretation of Ken Boothe’s ‘The Train Is Coming’ as ‘Bad Boy Train’. A surprise appearance at a concert headlined by Dunkley at the Podium in London’s Vauxhall resulted in several false starts, a practice drawn from the dancehall phrase ‘haul and pull’, which denotes audience approval. In 1995 he released ‘Smile Orange’, taking its title from the classic Jamaican film, and in 1996 followed with the equally popular ‘You Sexy Thing’. He also recorded in combination with Sylvia Tella the hit ‘Warm And Tender Love’/‘Rastaman’. In 1997 he appeared as Jah Walton at the Essential Festival Weekender alongside Dennis Alcapone, recreating the excitement of dancehall.

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