Despite maintaining a permanent residence in Britain, Rodriguez
held fast to his strong Rastafarian beliefs, and Island
frequently paid for him to return to Kingston to record with the city's most prominent session players; while his forte remained jazz, he adapted brilliantly to any environment, and applied his improvisational skills to productions from notables including Sly & Robbie
. In 1977, Rodriguez
also cut a solo LP, Man from Wareika, credited to simply "Rico"; it was followed a year later by Midnight in Ethiopia. In 1979, he appeared on the Specials'
cover of "A Message to You Rudy," and soon joined the band as a full-time member; for the group's Two-Tone label, Rodriguez
also helmed his own outfit, Rico & the Rudies, to yield the albums Blow Your Horn and Brixton Cat. Again as Rico, he also cut another pair of solo LPs, 1981's That Man Is Forward and its 1982 follow-up, Jama. Session work was then primary focus for over a decade, but in the mid-'90s, Rodriguez
returned with a number of solo projects, among them 1995's Roots to the Bone and 1997's Tribute to Don Drummond. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi