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Welton Irie is a Jamaican reggae deejay who is best known for his prolific work in the 1970's and 80's.
Irie was born Welton Dobson in 1960 and started deejaying at a young age initially with Sir John the President and Big John's Stereophonic Sound which later called themselves Echo Tone. He worked with the group until 1981. He began by copying another deejay, Ranking Trevor, and became so good at it that most persons could not tell them apart. This helped him build up his own following and he eventually moved to Gemini sound who was at the time one of the best known sound systems in the island.
He moved to Virgo sounds after this, taking his fans with him. There he joined with Lone Ranger and they began their recording career as a duo for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One. It was Coxsone who suggested he add Irie to his name and he thus became the first Irie in reggae. He and Lone Ranger recorded a few songs but their partnership was short-lived.
Welton later attracted the attention of producer Glen Brown as he chatted "Wicked Haffi Run Away" over the Greenbay rhythm. The producer was so impressed that he invited him to record and this spawned his first album "Ghettomane Corner". His second album however, "Reprobate", was produced right around the time when the dancehall era was just beginning, so this second album took on an entirely different sound. Importantly, this album was released under Hitbound, one of the most important labels at the time.
Welton's biggest hit was produced in 1982 and was called "Army Life". This was a humorous chronicle of the disappointments of army life and it eventually sold 30,000 copies in 3 months.
The next year Welton returned to Gemini for an international tour alongside Squiddy Ranking and Johnny Ringo, where they played in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and London. By the mid-80's Welton stopped deejaying for Gemini and instead turned to selecting for the sound. At the end of his deejaying career, Welton had released 9 albums and had appeared on 2 live albums.