Neville Beckford (aka Jah Woosh) was born on the 16th September 1952 in Kingston, Jamaica. Before entering the recording studio, Beckford served an apprenticeship as a mechanic. He and his friend Reggae George attended auditions with Jamaica's top producers under the name of Neville And George, but their partnership was short-lived and both went on to pursue solo careers.
Beckford's career took off when he became resident DJ on Prince Lloyd's sound system, and producer George Bell liked what he heard. The result was 'Angela Davis', a tribute to the black freedom fighter credited under his new pseudonym, Jah Woosh. Despite the strong lyrics, it was not a hit, but he was able to impress producer Rupie Edwards.
The sessions with Edwards led to the release of the 'Jah Woosh' LP through Cactus in the UK. He subsequently enjoyed a brief spell of fame recording for a number of producers, and enjoying hits with 'Psalm 121', 'Ital Feast' and 'Zion Sound'. Following his success, he recorded a self-production with the Mighty Clouds Band, resulting in the release of the popular 'Dreadlocks Affair' album.
Other records followed, but it was the release of the 'Religious Dread' set that produced a successful run in the Jamaican reggae charts. With Sydney Crooks of the Pioneers producing and a host of top session musicians assembled, 'Loaded With TNT' was the follow-up. Despite excellent musicianship from Lloyd Parks and keyboard wizard Ansell Collins, the set was destined not to repeat the success of his earlier recordings.
As the end of the 1970s approached, Jamaica was becoming awash with DJs, and with his popularity having peaked, he decided to leave the island. This was achieved by hooking up with a group of UK/Ja musicians who were collectively soon to become the recording and touring unit known as Creation Rebel. Jah Woosh's 'Marijuana World Tour' album, recorded at the Black Ark, Randy's and King Tubby's, and produced by the "Rebels Of Creation", was the first result of this partnership. It was initially released on their own short lived Creation Rebel label and subsequently on Woosh's Original Music imprint.
A key facilitator within this collective was the still teenage Adrian Sherwood, who was just starting to cut his teeth as a producer, technician, engineer and label owner. So it was that by 1979, Jah Woosh had relocated to the UK and joined fellow ex-pats Prince Far I, Bim Sherman (over whose 'Love Forever' riddim [Rhythm B13] Woosh had previously cut a couple of DJ versions) and Prince Hammer in the Creation Rebel-backed and Adrian Sherwood-live mixed "Roots Encounter" tour of Europe.
By the turn of the decade, Sherwood had formed his now synonymous On-U Sound record label, and most of the tour's participants had stayed around and become fully paid(?)-up members of its various groups - joining the many other musicians who had also been drawn to the label by its critical mass.
Jah Woosh was included in their numbers, and contributed vocals to various early Singers And Players and New Age Steppers recordings. Using Creation Rebel's 'Chatti Mouth' riddim [Rhythm 8], he also voiced his only self-credited On-U work - 'Woodpecker Sound' - which was initially released as the lead track of the label's first ever compilation LP, 'Wild Paarty Sounds: Volume 1' (ON-U LP6).
As the 1980s pressed on and reggae music turned digital, Jah Woosh came to dislike the new technology and lost interest in recording.
"I never liked their data-processing trick, No feeling yunno?"
Consequently, he moved on once again, this time settling in Ghana. Though he lay low musically in his latter years, he continued to run his Original Music label on the side, ensuring that much of his back catalogue remained relatively easy to uncover. He died in early 2011 aged 58.
(Compiled, adapted and supplemented from a short biography formerly found at downloads.walmart.com/swap/LoadArtistBio.do?artistId=88621 and an interview with the artist once found at www.heartical.net)