Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Wild Bunch marks 53 years

Published:Friday | July 15, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Gladdy Parker of Wild Bunch at the controls during the 53rd celebratory party at Wickie Wackie, Bull Bay, St Andrew, on Sunday night.
Guest selector Mikey Barnett.
Errol Dunkley perfirms at Wickie Wackie, Bull Bay, St Andrew, during Wild Bunch's 53rd anniversary party on Sunday.
Dennis Brown
Beres Hammond

Sunday night's Wild Bunch celebratory party at Wickie Wackie, Bull Bay, St Andrew, was a relaxed affair in the stages heading up to Errol Dunkley's guest performance.

Patrons marking 53 years of the experience scattered across the seaside venue.

The dance floor, just in front of the stage where the selectors, including Gladdy Parker of Wild Bunch fame, were set up, was lightly populated, but the movement to the music was not restricted to the strip of concrete dedicated to that purpose.

It had been a long day of tunes and moves, as the party had been slated to run from daylight hours into the night.

The music was a reflection of Wild Bunch's extensive history in the business of selecting and presenting music since just after Jamaica's Independence and, with Gladdy at the controls,

Beres Hammond was the singer of choice. Dennis Brown's superb rockers, Your Love Got a Hold on Me, preceded Hammond's No Goodbye, and it was a lot of Beres from that point on, Groovy Little Thing and Tempted To Touch among the cuts.


Things stayed Jamaican for the transition to a more uptempo beat, Parker announcing the extended version of Marcia Griffiths' Electric Boogie designed especially for dancing.

It got more feet moving and the thumping beats continued with Another One Bites the Dust and The Beat Goes On.

Dunkley was announced for 10 p.m. and punctuality was observed. Performing to tracks, Dunkley was initially a distant figure on the raised deck area, his back to the sea. When he asked that people come closer, the suggestion was that he should close the gap, which he did.

Darling Ooh (Your Love is Amazing) was done on the deck, the classic Black Cinderella was the track that got Dunkley closer to the audience in more ways than one. Not only was he closer to the audience, but they were also singing along, the song restarted a couple times. Of course, Dunkley found a few ladies to sing directly to.

Movie Star had a similar effect, the tracks played at the correct speed so the singing was slow and effective. Interacting with the audience, Dunkley did You'll Never Know and interspersed the heartbreak song, You're Gonna Need Me, with the tale of its origin when he was 14 and the girl he liked went with someone else.

There was laughter as Dunkley ad libbed various scenarios in between singing, such as the lady coming in with her clothes on the wrong side.

He paid tribute to some of his musical colleagues, not only in song, but also in mannerisms. Dennis Brown's Lips of Wine telling the audience "dem tune deh a before No Man is an Island".

He described Gregory Isaacs leaning his hat to one side and demonstrated the Cool Ruler's signature strut before doing Front Door and did Delroy Wilson's moves on Dancing Mood.

Homage to Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott was last, Minott slinging an imaginary bag laden with marijuana over his shoulder to do Oh Mr DC.

Back with his own material, Dunkley described OK Fred as his biggest song, one which made him popular outside Jamaica. He handed the microphone over to the selector, but the audience wanted more and got it.

From the turntables, it was announced that Marvin and Gladdy had gone and now it was Mikey Barnett's turn.

It was the beginning of a string of Dennis Brown songs, Here I Come, leading into Silhouette and Little Green Apples, before the late Gregory Isaacs got his due with Love Overdue, the Wild Bunch 53rd celebration picking up pace under a constant, cool night breeze from off the sea.