• RiddimStyle Staff Writer

Jamaica Down Under: The King Keith Story



Co-presenter of Bambu Hut on Riddim 1 Radio, Keith 'King Keith' Williams has had a long life of loving music. Keith was born in 1942 'under the clock', meaning at Lying-In Hospital, North Street, Kingston. He grew up in Kingston with a younger sister and attended Alpha, Little and Big Schools on South Camp Road (opposite Sabina Park). Later he went to Clovelly Road Private School near Kingston College.

At an early age, Keith listened to sounds like V-Rocket and Tom the Great Sebastian in a backyard near his home in Browns Town, Kingston. His musical loves began with U.S. jazz and R&B soon followed by Jamaican R&B (Blue Beat), calypso, ska, reggae, Latin and soul/Motown music.

In 1958 he followed his parents to live in the U.K. where he completed his education. Keith then worked as an accountant for a couple of industries including the BBC TV Outside Broadcast Division. During his time in London, along with his Dad, Keith operated a sound system called Have Sound Will Travel. In those days 78 and 45 rpm vinyl records were sourced from outlets like Randy's Records in the USA and Coxsone Down Beat in Jamaica, the latter via old friends Gertie and George' Peckings' Price in London who had a close link with Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd. As well as buying from certain underground record dealers, Keith also sourced music from other music outlets run by friends – such as Earl of Moodies Record Shop in the Bronx, New York.

There was a period of a few years in the U.K. when King Keith had a' sabbatical' from being a popular D.J. and concentrated on his profession as an accountant. For about three years during this time, Keith wrote reviews and articles in the West Indian World and West Indian Gazette newspapers, particularly about the activities of young West Indians in the community. He felt a special honour when he was allowed to pen a review of then prime minister, Michael Manley's book, The Politics Of Change, an acclaimed thesis on socialist progress, particularly in Jamaica.

Keith migrated to Australia in December 1985 and continued working as an accountant until his retirement in 2014. After that milestone, King Keith returned to his early passion for music and once again started turning the turntables, selecting tunes collected over a lifetime - much to the delight of Aussie audiences. This time though the seasoned music enthusiast is back to win new fans as both a club and radio selector and just in time to ride a wave of love for classic Jamaican music Down Under!

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