Tributes to the Greats today
Kingsley Goodison has declared that one of the most satisfying moments in his 21 years at the helm of the annual Tributes to The Greats Awards Show and Dance was what he called the "Australian Connection".
Speaking to me on the radio last Saturday evening, he said, "Looking back on what we have achieved over the years, it has become mind-boggling. Over 200 and odd awardees so far and another 11 this year. But perhaps my most satisfying moment would be the Australian Connection." On that momentous evening in 2012 at the 15th staging, three Australia-born musicians Peter Stoddart (keyboardist), Dennis Sindrey (guitarist) and Lowell Morris (drummer) - were awarded for their contribution to Jamaican music. Working out with The Caribs band, they brought to Jamaica a new style - Latin rhythms that coloured a number of outstanding Jamaican hits by Jackie Edwards, The Jiving Juniors, Charlie Babcock and Laurel Aitken. They were initially brought to Jamaica at the invitation of hotelier and Glass Bucket Club owner Abe Issa to do resident duties at his club.
King Omar, as Goodison is sometimes called, conceptualised Tributes to The Greats in 1998, primarily to recognise and assist performers who have made invaluable contributions to our music but have become destitute. As the years elapsed, other categories were included.
Then in 2006, he had the bright idea of rewarding those from other locales, whether Jamaica-born or not, who have contributed to our musical legacy. The result was the Caribbean Connection. It saw performers like Lord Laro, Jackie Opel, Lyn Taitt and Lord Creator being honoured.
In 2007, the Cuban Connection took the spotlight, with awards going to saxophonists Roland Alphonso and Tommy McCook and vocalist Laurel Aitken. Rita Marley was also recognised. After a five-year break, the connections returned in 2012 with the Australian Connection, to be followed in 2013 by the American Connection that featured Louis Jordan and Thom Bell, with the United States ambassador to Jamaica, Pamela Bridgewater, in attendance.
In 2014, Goodison brought the Chinese Connection into the spotlight with brothers Mickey and Geoffrey Chung, Phil Chen - a world-rated bass player - and Sonny and Victor Wong from The Mighty Vikings Band.
The British Connection in 2015 was the last in the series, although Goodison says there are others to come. Wilfred Jackie Edwards, Owen Gray, Millie Small, Laurel Aitken, Jimmy James, Winston Francis aka Billy Cole, Pam Hall, Dandy Livingstone and The Beatles with the ska-flavoured Obladi Oblada were recognised.
The 2018 the usual show takes place at Curphy Place in Swallowfield, beginning at 8 p.m. The awardees will be Eric 'Monty' Morris, Earl 'Bagga' Walker, The Folks Brothers, Frankie Campbell, Anthony Alphanso Waldron, Derrick Stewart, Garth White, Mary Isaacs, Lone Ranger, and yours truly.
Special awards will be handed to Livingstone 'John Bird' McCarthy, Norman 'Roots and Soul' Hughes, and Errol 'Rock' McGowan.