Sugar's final dance - Artiste laid to rest with song
Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Anyone familiar with Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott knows he loved a good dance - the rowdier, the better. Yesterday, the singer many people regard as the father of modern dancehall was given a rousing farewell at the National Arena, where the thanksgiving service for his life was held.
A who's who of underground reggae came out to show their respect for Minott, who died July 10 at the University Hospital of the West Indies, age 54. Several of them, including singers Tristan Palmer and Little John, were groomed by Minott's Youth Promotion company.
"Sugar Minott was like a father. All mi life is jus' me, him and Little John. All this kinda mash mi up," said an emotional Palmer.
Minutes later, Palmer and Little John were rocking the house with Never Gonna Give Jah Up, one of Minott's signature songs. They then did snippets of their own hits, Entertainment and True Confessions, before Palmer delivered a fine rendition of Good Thing Going, Minott's biggest commercial hit.
Backed by Lloyd Parkes and We The People Band, singers Errol Dunkley, Phillip Fraser, George Nooks, the Silvertones and Derrick Harriott also performed. So, too, percussionist Bongo Herman, whose spirited version of Mr DC had the hall jumping.
The service, at times, was too much for members of the singer's family. His eldest daughter, Pashon, was distraught and had to be carried to her front-row seat.
Perhaps the finest tribute came from Nahki, the Japanese deejay who was one of the most popular reggae entertainers in Asia during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He said Sugar Minott introduced dancehall culture to his country in 1984 and influenced many artistes, including himself.
"Without Sugar Minott, there would be no reggae in Japan," he said.
Among those in attendance were Jamaica Federation of Musicians President Desmond Young, singer Ken Boothe, former Third World keyboardist Ibo Cooper, producer/songwriter Michael Bennett, musician/singer Boris Gardner, Judge and Bunny of the Mighty Diamonds, deejays Dillinger and Trinity, Bagga Case of Home T, Pam Hall and Bunny Brown.
Sugar Minott first recorded in the late 1960s as a member of the African Brothers, but came to prominence in the 1970s as a solo act with songs like Mr DC, Vanity and A House Is Not A Home for producer Clement 'Coxson' Dodd.
He had several hit songs the following decade, such as Herbman Hustling, Good Thing Going, Dancehall Style and No Vacancy. He also helped nurture the careers of Tenor Saw, Junior Reid, Garnet Silk and Tony Rebel.
Minott was laid to rest at the Harker's Hall Cemetery.