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THERE is no slowing down for veteran ska, rocksteady and reggae singer Stranjah Cole.

Last year, he toured Europe, Japan, United States of America and Canada. He culminated his trek with two shows in Australia.

Now back in Jamaica and celebrating his 50th year in the business, Cole — whose real name is Wilburn Cole — said he is gearing up to restart the cycle.

He is, however, concerned about the quality of music today.

“It’s all watered down. We are not hearing any horns. The music just doesn’t have the intensity that it had before,” he said.

Cole also expressed his disappointment with the direction the music has taken with regards to slackness.

“I was there to help build the house. But a lot of artistes don’t want to keep the house clean. Try and keep the music clean as it doesn’t do much for the generation coming,” the artiste said. He was quick to point out that he is not in the business to fight against any artiste.

The singer also issued advice to younger artistes to write good songs instead of doing covers.

“When you cover songs, you are putting money in the writer’s pocket. If you wrote your own songs, it will be a pension in the future for you,” said Cole, who has written hit songs such as Bangarang, Rough and Tough, When You Call My Name, Just Like A River, Come Back, and Give Me The Right.

Born in Jones Town, Cole grew up in Trench Town. He was called ‘Stranger’ because he resembled no one in his family.

His recording career began with producer Duke Reid, scoring a hit with his 1962 debut, Rough and Tough. His Louis Jordan revival song, Run Joe was a hit in 1965 and featured members of the Techniques on harmony vocals. Cole frequently used duet partners, most notably Patsy Todd and Ken Boothe and later in his career, Gladstone Anderson (their version of Just Like a River.

Releasing two albums last year, Lucky Dog and Riding High, he is currently working on a new CD in collab with his son, Squidley Cole. It is scheduled for release later this year.

In-between touring, Cole will be spending time in the studio doing more recordings.

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