Thu | Dec 3, 2020

Generations gather for EP, Solid Gold

Published:Friday | September 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Ernie Smith (left) and Governor General Sir Patrick Allen during Smith's visit to Kings House as he celebrates a half century of recording and performing music.
Carlene Davis

Duppy Gunman, has got a deejay touch from Agent Sasco on Ernie Smith's most recent multiple song project, an EP of collaborations on previously released songs, as well as new tracks.

In addition to the Duppy Gunman, remake, there is also a refreshing take of Thank You Mr Music with Wayne Armond, the new, Lucky Seh Mi Wake, Jackie, I Can't Take It (described as the "birthday song" as it is the first one Smith recorded) and a bonus track featuring Wayne Marshall. It was done at producer Mikey Bennett's Grafton Studios.

Ernie Smith says, "I Can't Take It was recorded at Federal Records in 1967. It is it's birthday that is being celebrated as a half century of music from him."

Looking back at how his life has developed since he came to Kingston looking for a job in media and ended up recording a song, Smith said, "thanks to RJR for rejecting my application to become a radio announcer ... . And thanks to Federal Records for asking me to sing my original composition instead of finding someone to sing it as I had requested."




The connections among generations are not only on the EP, but also on the line-up of the Solid Gold celebratory concert, which takes place on Friday, September 29, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston. While there are many of Smith's contemporaries among them - Boris Gardiner, Ken Boothe, and Pluto Shervington - also on the line-up are Capleton, Everton Pessoa, Sahara Smith, Ojay Smith, Dean Fraser, Carlene Davis, Suzanne Couch, Junior Tucker, Dizzy Minott, Charmaine Limonius, Winsome Benjamin, Jon Williams, Lymie Murray and more.

There is a Boy Band, 8, from Jamaica College, which Ernie's wife, Janet, said entered I Can't Take It, in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) school's festival competition. Although they won the parish finals and were second overall, Janet said she was told initially it was questioned if the song was a Jamaican composition and proof had to be provided that it is.

"Many artistes still believe that Ernie covered the song. They think Johnny Nash wrote it. The truth is, Ernie recorded his song in 1967, which he called I Can't Take It, and Johnny did a cover in 1975, which he called Tears on My Pillow," she said.




The connection with Capleton goes back further. Ernie and Janet Smith first heard about Capleton when a project the late Stafford Ashani was working on for them was being delayed because he was also doing a job for Capleton. Earlier this year, Ernie performed on Capleton's charity concert, St Mary Mi Come From, fitting the event's theme as his father is from Highgate and his mother from Caron Hall.

The St Mary Mi Come From performance, was among a number of events leading up to Solid Gold. Among them a visit to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen.

Janet Smith said, "The visit to the governor general was special. When we decided to present a commemorative concert, we sent a request to his excellence asking for the use of the grounds of King's House. He unhesitatingly said yes. The message he sent me for the Thanksgiving Mass (held in St Ann to celebrate Ernie's milestone) was heartwarming."

However, the request had to be withdrawn, as the cost of creating the required setting was just too high.

So meeting with Sir Patrick at King's House still honoured the connection, and from there they went to CARIFESTA in Barbados, then the half century celebration climaxes with Solid Gold at the end of this month.