was born in September 1940 in Jamaica, his real
name was Michael F James and he enjoyed local success
with two self-composed singles "Bewildered
and Blue" and "Come Softly To Me",
before arriving in England in 1964, when he joined
the multi-racial Vagabonds, and the new unit became
a leading attraction at UK soul venues during the
60's, including London's Flamingo and Whisky-A-Go-Go.
James & The Vagabonds
were at the forefront, along with other legends
of the era, such as Geno Washington & The Ram
Jam Band, Herbie Goins & The Nightimers, Zoot
Money, Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede and Georgie
Fame & The Blue Flames.
a that time they failed to secure a substantial
chart hit The Vagabonds' early albums were impressive,
infectious, reinterpretations of contemporary releases,
featuring material by The Impressions, The Miracles
and Bobby Bland.
eventually secured a record contract with Pye Records
and after a few single releases and some successful
albums, they hit the charts with "Red Red Wine".
This Neil Diamond composition was, of course, a
more recent day hit for UB40.
1976, alongside another set of Vagabonds, Jimmy
James returned to the charts, in the
heart of the disco era, with "I'll Go Where
The Music Takes Me", which was produced by
Biddu, famous for his exploits with Tina Charles
on "I Love to Love" and "Dance Little
Lady Dance." It was the follow-up, however,
"Now Is The Time", which reached the Uk
top 5, giving him his biggest chart success.
James & The Vagabonds are still
a major attraction today in the nightclubs and discotheques
of the UK and Europe, with his foot stomping all
action show. He also makes several TV appearances
solo, normally performing his 70's hits.