US-based reggae producer Philip Smart dies

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Phillip Smart, whose Long Island studio was the hub for reggae/dancehall in the tri-state area, died Tuesday in Port Washington, New York, Howard Campbell reports for Jamaica’s Observer.

Smart, who was in his late 50s, died from pancreatic cancer, his brother-in-law and business partner Michael McDonald confirmed.

The prolific engineer/producer worked with countless artistes at his HC&F Recording Studio in Long Island, most notably Shaggy who recorded several of his hit songs there.

‘Mampie’, ‘Oh Carolina’, ‘Big Up’ and ‘Angel’ were some of the songs Shaggy worked on at HC&F.

Musician Derrick Barnett of Sagittarius Band fame also did numerous sessions at the facility. He knew Smart since the early 1980s.

“Phillip was always willing to share his knowledge, him never hold back,” Barnett told OBSERVER ONLINE.

Rodney Hill, a music industry insider who has worked with dancehall acts including Junior Cat and Super Cat, described Smart as “Humble, gave a lot of good advice.”

He added that HC&F was the hit factory during the 1980s and 1990s.

“It was always booked out. Phillip used to mix and engineer everybody,” Hill said.

Born and raised in the Havendale area of Kingston, Smart got his start in the music business through Augustus Pablo, who lived in the same area.

Smart was at the Randy’s recording studio in Kingston in 1972 when Pablo cut his classic instrumental ‘Java’.

He later became an understudy to engineer and dub maestro Osbourne ‘King Tubbys Ruddock.

Smart migrated to the United States in the late 1970s and in 1981 established HC&F which became the go-to studio for reggae artistes and musicians in the tri-state region.

Smart operated two record labels: TanYah and Eclipse. The former produced notable hits like deejay Dirtsman’s ‘Hot This Year’ and ‘Rikers Island’ by Cocoa Tea.

Phillip Smart is survived by his wife Georgette and son Phillip.

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