In the late 70’s, while still in high school, Erroll Bennett (General Smiley) teamed up with Anthony Fairclough (Michigan) to make up what would be a duo for the history books called Michigan & Smiley. The two were among the first dual toasters on the Jamaican scene and would go on to record for some of the most renowned studios of Jamaican reggae history over classic riddims which still rule the dancehall today. They recorded #1 hits like Rub-A-Dub Style, Nice-Up the Dance, Diseases, Sugar Daddy, and One Love Jamdown. Many artists of the golden era of Rub-A-Dub have unfortunately passed in recent years. Most of the remaining ones have stopped recording new material and perform infrequently if ever at all. There are only a handful of veteran artists who have kept themselves in superior physical shape and are able to continue this rigorous lifestyle in music. But the ageless General Smiley continues to record new, fresh, and relevant material like this great song Make a Change featuring Sgt Remo.
Since 2005 General Smiley has been progressively forging ahead his career as an independent solo artist at times teaming up with unlikely artists and producers. The fruitful results are evident in his recent works. This exceptional video production, directed and filmed by No Reservation Productions, is one example of his visionary approach to music. For this combination General Smiley teams up with, not a Jamaican producer, but a fairly unfamiliar name. The track was produced by Cuban born producer Pedro Hernandez who today resides in St. Petersburg, Florida. On this song Smiley collaborates with another unlikely personage. The Mexican born, U.S. raised, reggae artist Sgt Remo adds an irreplaceable element to this already encouraging and elevating song. His lyrics and striking voice gracefully compliment the General’s renowned talents.
General Smiley is as fresh as ever, only slowing down to share his lifelong experiences with the future of reggae music. Smiley has become a mentor to multiple young artists and producers like Sgt Remo. He seems to truly enjoy, or fulljoy as some would phrase it, paying forward his experiences and lessons-learned with those who seek his guidance. It is only natural and very suitable to invest in the future of reggae. Although in the minds of some, the name General Smiley might be a sweet memory reminiscent of the classic songs he helped deliver decades ago, Smiley has no thoughts of slowing down or disappearing into the history books. Look out for fresh, new material from General Smiley as well as a healthy dose of live performances throughout the U.S. Smiley is as full of life as ever!