Errol Mais aka Jah Bible passed away

by Jun 10, 2024Articles, Obituary

Errol Mais aka Jah Bible passed away
Errol “Don” Mais (1950-2024)

Reggae lovers have been hit with a wave of sadness at the start of June. Following the deaths of Delroy Williams and Clive Hylton, also known as Colour Red, news has now emerged of the passing of singer and producer Errol “Don” Mais on Sunday, June 9, 2024, at the age of 74.

In the second half of the 1970s, Ossie Thomas, Sugar Minott, Linval Thompson, Leon Synmoie, Henry “Junjo” Lawes, and other independent producers were instrumental in shaping the sound of what would become known as dancehall music. Around the same time, Errol “Don” Mais, who hailed from Greenwich Town, began his career in music production in 1976. His first production was Earl Zero’s Home Sweet Home, and by 1980 he had hits with artists like Philip Fraser, Sammy Dread, Michael Prophet, and Little John. Additionally, he successfully worked with deejays like Toyan and the duo Peter Ranking and General Lucky. Don Mais was not only a successful producer but also a singer who performed and recorded under the name Jah Bible.

Just like Bertram Brown, another producer from Greenwich Town, he relied on the locally-based Soul Syndicate band for his recordings that were released on his Roots Tradition label. Eventually, he started working with a new group that would revolutionize the music scene as Roots Radics. However, his biggest contribution was discovering a young 16-year-old mixing engineer at King Tubby’s studio named Hopeton ‘Overton’ Brown, also known as Scientist. The latter was only 17 or 18 years old when he started to mix tracks for Mais, who at the time was only 10 years older than Scientist.

The music created by Don Mais and other independent producers was known for its immediacy and spontaneity, capturing the competitive atmosphere of the time. Coming from ghetto origins, these producers were closely connected to their audience so they knew perfectly well what the people wanted. Starting out with a focus on creating original riddims, Mais eventually transitioned to putting his own spin on classic Studio One riddims such as Never Let Go, Hi Fashion, and Pick Up The Pieces. He recorded his old friend Philip Frazer as well as new artists like Sammy Dread on these relicked riddims.

In 1981, Errol “Don” Mais relocated to the US where he spent some time in New York during the early ’80s. There he was a popular performer on the dancehall scene before returning to Jamaica in the late ’80s. He settled down in Linstead, where he farmed with his family. Additionally, he begun reissueing his classic dancehall tunes on 7″ singles and albums and licensed a Scientist dub album titled Dub in The Roots Tradition to Blood & Fire in the UK. A vocal compilation, Roots Tradition From The Vineyard, was licensed to short-lived Dutch label Majestic Reggae in 1997. As Jah Bible he released several 7″ singles including Time So Hard, Read Up Jah Bible, Can’t Keep I Down and Babylon Fight Youth. In 2019, Tad’s Record released a 7-track digital EP of Errol Mais titled Jah Bible. Although he has gone to Zion, his legacy lives on. 

Our condolences to his family and friends. Rest in Peace.

Earl Zero – Home Sweet Home

Jah Bible – Read Up Jah Bible

Rod Taylor – True History