Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Family affair at Tribute to the Greats 19

Published:Tuesday | August 2, 2016 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Bernard Collins, one of the night’s awardees, performs in the concert segment of Tribute to the Greats 19, held at Curphey Place, Swallowfield, St Andrew, on Saturday night.
Desi Young performs.
Danny Browne (right) speaks after the award to the Browne family as members of the family, including matriarch Sylvia (fourth right) and organisers of Tribute to the Greats 19, listen.
Vocalists Bagga Case (left) and Clancy Eccles Jr perform during the concert segment of Tribute to the Greats 19.
Several of the awardees at Tribute to the Greats 19, held at Curphey Place, Swallowfield, St Andrew, on Saturday.
Shara Davis (left) accepts the award to her father, Sangie Davis, from Len Hardy.
Paulette Mitchell of the CHASE Fund (left) hands singer Desi Young his award at Tribute to the Greats 19, held at Curphey Place, Swallowfield, St Andrew, on Saturday night. Behind them are the night's host, Norma Brown (centre), and the event's organiser, Kingsley Goodison.

Sylvia Browne, matriarch of the family which was honoured last at Saturday night's Tribute to the Greats 19, had the last and defining words in the awards section of the annual event.

"I am honoured at receiving this citation. I am happy this has happened in my lifetime and especially at a time when I celebrate my 90th birthday in two months," she said, to applause from the audience at Curphey Place, Swallowfield, St Andrew.

A bit earlier, she had said, "This is the first time I am allowed to stand with my children to receive an award, and I am very happy." The sons are Cleveland (better known as Clevie of the duo Steely (now deceased) and Clevie, Noel, Danny (who spoke extensively about the family), with Glen (Marjorie standing in) and Dalton away. The generation after them was represented by Robert.

Danny, as the youngest son of the quintet, gave snippets of information on his elder siblings. It was a personal expansion of the Tribute to the Greats format, where the citations read by host Norma Brown gave an outline of the honoree, event organiser Kingsley Goodison often adding some details from his deep involvement in Jamaican popular music, and songs from the person's catalogue were played on the sound system.


The first two awards were posthumous and to horn players, Oswald 'Baba' Brooks and Raymond Harper (who was dubbed a "Jamaican music mystery man"). A sound system operator, George Ximines of Black Prince, was next, his history in the music business beginning in 1971. After drummer Hector 'Bunny' Williams' citation was read, including his being a part of early touring band Soul Vendors, Goodison said Williams was the first drummer he saw with a collapsible drum set.

Anthony 'Sangie' Davis' award was collected by his daughter, Shara, Wake Up and Live playing in the background as his songwriting credits (including Sophia George's Girly Girly) were read. Desi Young is well known as president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians, but it was for his work as vocalist (he would perform later) that he was honoured on Saturday night.

Bernard Collins of The Abyssinians was honoured and the birth of the reggae anthem, Satta Massagana at a youth camp in 1969 related, as well as the group performing on both Reggae Sunsplash and Reggae Sumfest in 1993. During his performance, Collins gave thanks for the award with a translation of Satta Massagana - which is what it means - for his first award after 48 years in Jamaican popular music.

He also said the 1972 song, This Land is for Everyone, was a Festival Song Contest entry.

The Browne family was last, moving in numbers for awards to be accepted individually to those who made up the Browne Bunch which recorded Good Thing Going in 1972, and for Danny to give some insight into his brothers' development. But it started with their mother, Danny recalling her teaching his brothers harmony when he was five or six years old.

"She was practical, she was always tolerant," Danny said. "It all started with Mom. She never gave up on us. She allowed us to fall into place as we grew in the music business." And when they are on tour for extended periods, she is always keeping in touch.

In the concert segment, Racquel (who included Moonlight Lover in her set), Orville 'Bagga' Case and Clancy Eccles Jr as a duo also performed extensively, in addition to honorees Young and Collins, all supported by the Rhythm Masters band.