'Greats' to get due


'Greats' to get due

Observer senior reporter

Thursday, July 18, 2019

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Repeated incidents of pioneer Jamaican musicians dying without being recognised continues to drive Kingsley Goodison's Tribute To The Greats. The annual awards show is in its 22nd year and will again acknowledge contributions of artistes and musicians.

The honourees are headed by The Wailing Wailers. Formed in the early 1960s, the original group included Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Junior Brathwaite, Cherry Smith, and Beverley Kelso. Wailer and Kelso are the only survivors of that line-up.

Guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, The Mighty Diamonds, Gem Myers, music industry executive Anthony “Chips” Richards, singers Charmaine Lemonius and Owen Gray, sound system man Michael “Louis” Owens, Norma and Bunny Wright — promoters of the popular Rae Town dance — and radio personality Norma Brown-Bell, complete the class of 2019.

The event is set for July 27 at Curphey Place in St Andrew. It was launched Monday at Two A Island Seafood and Grill on 2A Strathairn Avenue (off Ruthven Road) in Kingston.

Goodison, who is conceptualiser and promoter of the event, told the gathering that although there is no money to be gained, reaction from honourees over the years, shows how much an event like Tribute To The Greats is not only needed, but appreciated.

“I was one of the most fortunate young men in the 1960s when Jamaican music was on the verge of exploding. I was blessed to be associated with the greatest producer in the country, Clement Seymour Dodd. To have seen Bunny (Wailer), Junior Brathwaite, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry (Smith) and hear them harmonise and record music. All of them were under 19 years old at the time. And now to hear some of that music and to see artiste like Jah B (Bunny Wailer) become an international artiste, is just amazing,” said Goodison.

“Owen Gray was one of the pioneers of the local music along with people like Laurel Aitken. Aitken went home a broken man as up until then he had not been honoured by the country, and he really felt bad about it. So, the little that we can do in terms of recognising our brothers and sisters while they are still alive, we will do,” he continued. “Twenty-two years is a lot of years and I want to thank all those who have helped us during the course of those years.”

Staged by Goodison's King Omar Productions, Tribute To the Greats has honoured over 100 stalwarts who have contributed to Jamaican popular music. Many of them are forgotten or unheralded artistes, music producers, musicians, show promoters, and sound system owners/selectors.

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