Packed street festival for Jack Ruby
One of the more telling signs of just how much Friday's second Jack Ruby Festival: The Black Experience was a street festival was a green suitcase with wheels pulled through a section of the large crowd on James Avenue, Ocho Rios, St Ann.
The luggage bulged with clothing that, just before approximately 1 a.m. on Saturday, had been suspended by hangers from a metal fence along one side of the road. And the clothing vendor was not the only person who conducted their regular business with extended opening hours along the street, even as bass-heavy songs rocked the many persons who turned up for the music experience.
Jack Ruby had a presence at both ends of the main audience space along the narrow street, which opened out into a larger space just before where the elevated stage was set up. Facing that stage, audience members looked at a stage backdrop for the event which not only had Jack Ruby's name but his image. And where St James Avenue meets the main street running through Ocho Rios, there is a mural of the late producer and sound system operator.
Many of the live performances were carried live on IRIE FM, which organises the festival, Ikaya, Yasus Afari, Brigadier Jerry, Singer J and Shakespeare among those who were there live. And when that section was there were four hour-long sets from Talia Powers, Mutabaruka, King Jammy and Black Scorpio, in that order, for the festival to close at 2 a.m. as advertised,
Powers put on a set which moved the audience, pulling heavily on rub a dub selections, as all the selctirs did to honour Jack Ruby. A measure of the strength of her set was when she played the version of Luciano's Sweep Over My Soul and the voices of hundreds supplies the lyrics.
Mutabaruka played his selections at length and included a Burning Spear track on a night in honour of the man who produced Spear's standout Marcus Garvey and Man in The Hills albums. But there was also room for Shabba Rank's Trailer Load a Girls, even as Mutabaruka requested a square for Ocho Rios, for persons to enjoy.
King Jammy's set was a sustained high point of the night, from their opening Johnny Osbourne special to the closing run of the General riddim, which naturally included Pad Anthony's Title dub plate. In between there were selections from Bushman, Sanchez and Frankie Paul, among many others, as well as am interview clip with Jack Ruby.
Black Scorpio closed the night, Jack Scorpio speaking about and playing songs by Garnet Silk and Luciano which he produced. He described the moment when Capleton came to the studio in Drewsland to record Cold Blooded Murderer in reaction to Panhead being killed. The song was played and it turned out to be an introduction for the Fireman to perform live. Small World was among his tracks as Capleton urged all to show lighters and cell phones. An added response was a fuebreather of a roof, who spouted many feet of flames.
Junior Reid also sang and Scorpio played the Jimmy Cliff pair of Rebel in Me and Many Rivers to Cross to close off the night.