From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Originally working as a firefighter, Byles formed the vocal trio The Versatiles in 1967. Generally considered Junior's best recordings is his work as a solo artist with Lee Perry and for the JA Man record label in the early and mid 1970s.
Byles's songs epitomised the "sufferers" style of lyrics and delivery - the outsider struggling to maintain his Rastafarian and African integrity within "Babylon"; exemplified in titles such as the "Long Way" for Lee Perry and "Fade Away" (featured on the soundtrack for the film Rockers) for the Hookim brothers at Channel One. For the wider listening public, the songs can invoke a spiritual bulwark against life's adversities.
Byles' recording output diminished in the 1980s and 1990s as he battled with severe mental health problems. A well-reviewed return to a 2004 live performance in Jamaica led to an ill-advised short tour of the United Kingdom, where his distress was all apparent on stage.