Noel Bailey – aka Noel Tempo Or Sowell Radics

by Jul 19, 2014Articles, Obituary

Noel Bailey aka Sowell Radics 1953-2014

Artist Info

NOEL BAILEY – 1953-2014

Career: Solo Singer, Guitarist | Bands: Youth Professionals & Roots Radics



  • Lonely Girl (7″), Soul Beats Records
  • Wiggles Diggles (7″), Studio One 1978
  • Fight Fight Fight / Aces Rock (12″), Trojan Records 1980
  • Caution (12″), Attack 1981
  • Love Is What She Wants / Love Dub (12″), Big Youth International 1981
  • All Night Jammin / Dub (12″), DATC 1982
  • Wheel O’ Matilda (12″), S&G Records 1982
  • Give Me Your Love / Lovewize Ridim /Dubstyle High Street Dub (12″), DATC 1982
  • Wonderful World (12″), Gang Production 1986
  • Artificial Girl / Life Must Be Meaningful (12″), Natty Congo 1981
  • Poor Pretty Girl (7″), JG Records
  • It’s Time To Be Free (12″), Success
On Friday July 18, 2014, guitarist/singer Noel ‘Sowell’ Bailey, an original member of the Roots Radics band, died at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) in Kingson, Jamaica, at the age of 61. He had been diagnosed with cancer the previous month.

NOEL BAILEY – 1953-2014

Born in Denham Town, a predominantly residential neighbourhood in west-central Kingston, Jamaica, Noel Bailey began his career as a singer performing under his own name. His debut single called “What Am I To Do Now” was recorded at Harry J’s and was a top 10 hit in Jamaica. Disenchanted with the lack of financial rewards for his hit he found work playing guitar alongside the drumm & bass section of the Hippy Boys, Aston “Familyman” Barrett and Carlton “Carly” Barrett playing the hotel circuit as Youth Professionals.


Noel Bailey - Lonely Girl
Sowell Radics - All Nite Jammin'

In the late 1970s Noel “Sowell” Bailey was invited to play in studio sessions alongside Errol “Flabba” Holt, Eric “Bingi Bunny” Lamont and Lincoln “Style” Scott, who became known as the Roots Radics. The latter became a well-respected studio and stage band, which dominated the sound in the first half of the 1980s.

The band was frequently employed by then ruling producers like Linval Thompson and Henry “Junjo” Lawes to provide riddims for successful vocal, deejay and (when remixed by Scientist) dub albums. They played on recordings for Jamaica’s top artists like Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs, Israel Vibration and many others, and went on tour with Gregory Isaacs. In 1982 Noel “Sowell” Bailey left the band and decided to revive his career as a vocalist. His association with Mikey Dread resulted in the release of “All Nite Jamming”. The single was followed by “Wheel O’ Matilda”, which, along with the Mikey Dread release, enjoyed a respectable placing in the UK reggae charts.

Noel Bailey was a wicked vocalist too and all of his tunes have a truly unique vibe, but unfortunately this under-rated artist didn’t receive the recognition he deserved.

| Sources: The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Jamaica Observer, Blood & Fire forum. |