Tributes To The Greats Awards set for July 28
One of the dominant features of early Jamaican popular music, was the existence of unsung heroes - those who have made worthwhile contribution to the development of our music, yet remain relatively unknown and have gone unrewarded.
Names like Vere Johns, whose self-financed talent show - The Vere Johns Opportunity Hour, unearthed talents like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Alton Ellis, John Holt, Millie Small, Derrick Harriott, Derrick Morgan. Guitarist Lynn Taitt who was a key figure in the creation of Rocksteady music; Lord Flea, who took Jamaican Calypso to the United States and became the first Jamaican to appear in a full-length movie, and the first to record for the larger-than-life Capitol records; Thom Bell, whose songwriting and production skills were largely responsible for the soul music boom in the United States in the 1970s, are just a few.
Philanthropist Kingsley Goodison, somehow recognised the anomaly, and sought to redress it by instituting the annual Tributes To The Greats Awards Show and Dance in 1998. Many of the awardees, who had become destitute and forgotten, acquired a confidence-booster and benefited from the proceeds of the show. Now in its 21st year, the show has awarded 210 individuals, which also included well-known stars and administrators.
Among the unsung heroes rewarded over the years are radio personality and recording artiste Neville Willoughby; vocalists Doreen Schaeffer; Lord Creator; Boris Gardiner; King Stitt; musicians Jackie Mittoo, Bobby Ellis, Jerry Haynes (Jah Jerry), Johnny Moore, Cluet Johnson, Jackie Jackson, Denzil Laing and calypsonian Count Owen.
This year's event, as usual, takes place at Curphy Place, Up Park Camp, on July 28, beginning at 8 p.m. Based on the performers lined up, it promises to be an enjoyable affair and an unforgettable experience. According to Goodison, also known as King Omar, he's now fine-tuning the arrangements for the show and preparing for the launch.