By Chaos, Freelance Writer
Brian (right) and Tony Gold are now proud to say they are a part of the 'Big Yard' family, and this duo has no regrets. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
WITH THE release of their colloboration with Shaggy, Hey Sexy Lady, Brian and Tony Gold have once more been thrust into the limelight after a few years of seemingly being absent from the music scene, both local and international.
The two seem like the perfect duo. In an interview with The Gleaner they spoke simultaneously, completed each other's sentences and told each other's stories, totally relaxed.
Brian Gold is actually Brian Thompson and Tony is Patrick Morrison. The two met 'officially' at a Tastee Talent contest in 1986, where they placed first and second. However, before the competition, the two were on 'Wha yuh a sey my yute' terms, since both lived in Vineyard Town, St. Andrew. Brian Gold says "It wasn't until the Tastee Talent contest that we decided to form a group and we've had a number of number ones and twos here in Jamaica and across the globe."
Tony Gold is the darker, shorter and more restrained of the duo, but no less forthcoming. He describes himself as 30-something and was born in Porus, Manchester. "I left in 1980 and came to Kingston and lived in Vineyard Town. Growing up in the country was kinda rough still, but... I knew I could sing then, but opportunities nuh really deh deh yuh know. I was kinda shy still. In 1983 I did a performance at a barbecue at Dunoon Technical (which he attended at the time) and that was the first time (he publicly performed) and everyone give me a wicked vibes. Monday morning a 'bare' gal and mi jus' sey a it dis yuh kno' and from that mi get likkle courage. After that, yuh do some likkle concert and all a dat lead up to the Tastee thing."
What made him brave enough to get up on that stage at the barbecue in the first place, given how shy he was?, The Gleaner asked.
Switching between English and patois, Tony Gold replied "I really wanted to sing, so I really had to build up the courage. When I was growing up an' a listen to Junior Tucker, mi used to sey 'Mi can do dat'. We used to sing inna a class, a beat riddim an' ting, and the girl them used to come in and once yuh see sey yuh a mad dem, it help build courage- is a vibes. After dat (the barbecue) mi start tek it more seriously dan all mi schoolwork, 'cause yuh will do anyting fi mek people hear yuh." For the record, he did finish high school.
The braided hair Brian, on the other hand, was born in Birmingham, England, but was sent by his mother to live with his aunt in Vineyard Town at the age of three. "I went to Rollington Town Primary, passed my common entrance and went to the 'big school' (said with a laugh) Kingston College (K.C.). My singing career started from primary school. Mi did always know sey mi could a sing and mi did like the response from the girl dem when mi a sing. I went from several different choirs at primary school to the K.C. choir. I was also a member of the East Queen Street Baptist choir. I performed at several barbecues, even prisons, as part of the church choir. My family was very musical, my aunt was also in the choir and my uncle was a deacon and played the violin. My cousins were in the choir as well, so it was a very musical family. We used to have devotion every morning, bible readings and singing. I can't say I do the same things now, but it's still in me, " he said, touching his chest as he spoke. "After K.C., it was the Tastee Talent contest.
When asked about how 'musical' his family was, Tony Gold said, with a grin, "My family not very musical, my younger brother a try buss out, but mi tink mi mother coulda sing too, anytime mi hear her mi tink 'If she did
After linking up at the contest, the two were guided by Mikey Bennett and Patrick 'Shadow' Lindsay of the Home T and Two Friends crews and started out doing mainly background vocals because "...that was our way of earning and learning the industry." When asked if they thought the time they had spent doing that had in any way hurt their careers, the duo replied "I wouldn't say it has hurt it, I would say it set us back a little."
Their career has had its fair share of ups and downs, but their biggest regret is signing a seven-year contract with American independent music label Pow Wow Records in 1989. What seemed like a good idea at the time turned out to be a mistake. After releasing singles such as Bull's Eye on the King Jammy's label, Poison, done with Dennis Brown, Sherry Baby and the hits Compliments On Your Kiss, which was a collaboration with Red Dragon and their biggest hit to date Can You, the duo signed with the label, releasing their first album Green Lights in 1991. "The label didn't know much about promoting reggae music across America," said Brian. "Can You was followed up by Free At Last but what really hurt us was that contract with Pow Wow. We did Compliments with Sly and Robbie, who were signed to Island Records. Pow Wow sued Island and they decided not to push the record. That really hurt our careers."
"We started a second album, but they (Pow Wow Records) couldn't understand the direction we were trying to go. They have the tapes but it was never released," the duo explained. They also attempted to make an album with King Jammys which they did not complete, but was released nonetheless as The Best Of Brian and Tony Gold, an assertion Brian strongly disagreed with.
The duo is now signed to Big Yard Records, home of Shaggy and the man who now manages them both, Robert Livingston. These experiences led the duo to say "We never know nutten 'bout the business... That's the reason we're proud to say we're part of the 'Big Yard' family, no regrets."
Brian and Tony Gold say that their next project, Irrestible, is due out soon, and the first single from it, of the same name, is doing well on the various British reggae charts, holding the number one position on most.
As Tony Gold puts it "I have one motto, and that's good things come to those who wait and I guess it's time to start reaping the good things."
See related story in The Star