Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Kingsley Goodison Inspired By Visions

Published:Thursday | July 28, 2016 | 12:00 AMRoy Black
Tribute to the Greats organiser Kingsley Goodison (centre) looks on as Marvin Edwards (right) accepts the award on behalf of his father, Wilfred ‘Jackie’ Edwards, from Keith Kelly, at the Chinese Benevolent Association Headquarters, Hope Road, St Andrew, last year.

Kingsley Goodison, who conceptualised the idea of an annual Tributes to the Greats Awards Show, declares that his main inspiration behind the choice of awardees each year has literally been his dreams.

"I am a dreamer, and sometimes I get these inspirations in bed. I get visions about the artistes who contributed and who I grew up with. Up to four nights ago (the time this interview was conducted), I came up with four names already for the 20th show, and since it is a milestone, I have to start working on it from now," Goodison told me as I spoke to him at the media launch for Tributes to the Greats 19, which will take place at Curphey Place, Swallowfield Road on July 30, beginning at 8 p.m. The show, which has blossomed into one of the most philanthropic endeavours in the history of Jamaican popular music, has seen close to 300 persons being awarded at 18 shows so far.

Goodison's idea was born out of a burning desire to recognise and assist Jamaican artistes of old who have contributed to the development of Jamaican popular music, but have been left by the wayside, some even becoming destitute and remaining relatively unknown.


"Being among most of the unsung heroes in Jamaican music, I saw the distress on most of them; recognition was nowhere around, even though they had several No.1 hits. Nobody remembers them. So I, along with my brother, Keith, decided to do something for them, and I have seen where it has worked tremendously, lifting up a number of them", Goodison told me in a 2009 radio interview. His empathy seemed to have been triggered by the close association he developed with these artistes, having been around in studio on many occasions when their songs were being recorded.

In its 18-year history, Tributes to the Greats, with the exception of the 17th and 18th shows, has consistently been held at Curphey Place, because of its ideal location and appealing ambience. The inaugural year, 1998, had teething problems due to lack of sponsorship, but by the 10th staging in 2007, Kingsley, also known as King Omar (King for Kingsley and Omar, his pet name) realised his dream, with several sponsors coming on board. The awardees so far, outside of singers and musicians, include producers Duke Reid, Clement Dodd, Prince Buster, Ken Khouri and former prime ministers P.J. Patterson and Edward Seaga.


The awardees for this year are: the Brownie family; Desmond Young, singer, songwriter and current president of The Jamaica Federation of Musicians; Anthony 'Sangie' Davis, singer and songwriter of Bob Marley's Wake Up and Live; Bernard Collins of the Abyssinians, singer and songwriter; Oswald 'Baba' Brooks, trumpeter and music composer; Raymond Harper, trumpeter and music composer; George Ximines, owner/operator of Black Prince sound system; Hector 'Bunny' Williams, drummer of the Soul Vendors band.

A live stage show at 9 p.m., will see performances by Desmond 'Desi Roots' Young, Bagga Case, Racquel the songbird, Anthony Davis and others, backed by Mikey Chung and The Rhythm Master band. Recorded music will be by Merritone.

Goodison has listed his main behind-the-scene motivators as his niece, Anya, who provides lithographic and creative work; his wife, Rhonda, whom he classifies as his tower of strength; his brother, Keith, with a vast knowledge of Jamaican music; and Norma Brown-Bell, who works behind the scenes and doubles up as MC.