The first recording of “You’re My Jamaica” was made by an obscure artist by the name of John Ragsdale. His only claim to fame was that he was Ray Stevens’ brother. Ragsdale’s record didn’t do anything, but Charley Pride heard it and decided to cut his own version of the song.
In the meantime, RCA’s corporate division decided that Charley should record an entire album in Great Britain. The company thought he might increase his audience in the United Kingdom if he had the “English sound,” so Pride, along with producer Jerry Bradley and keyboard player David Briggs took off for London. British musicians were hired to augment a dozen tracks recorded at the Audio International and Pye Recording Studios.
Most of those cuts remain in RCA’s vaults to this day. After the album was recorded, RCA never bothered to release it in England. “You’re My Jamaica” was the only track salvaged for Charley’s next stateside album. The song became the album’s title and the first single, debuting July 14, 1979 on Billboard’s country chart and reaching #1 in its tenth week on September 15th, marking Pride’s 22nd of 29 chart-toppers.
Pride followed “You’re My Jamaica” with another cut from the album, “Missin’ You,” recorded in Nashville’s “Music City Music Hall” studio (aka RCA Studio “A”). This great record narrowly missed the top, finishing at #2.