Sumfest hails ET Webster
The Montego Bay music circuit has produced several noted entertainers, some of whom have never been given their due. One of those unheralded artistes is singer E.T. Webster.
Webster, who suffered a stroke two years ago, will be honoured along with Beres Hammond and Gregory Isaacs during the July 17-23 show which takes place at Catherine Hall in the tourist city.
In a recent interview with The Gleaner, 66 year-old Webster described the Sumfest gesture as 'surprisingly nice'. He performed on the festival during its early years in the 1990s.
The stroke has limited his movement and left Webster wheelchair-bound. But early this year, he completed an album, Inner Path, and is involved in its distribution and promotion.
Webster was born in Montego Bay and got involved with its lively cabaret scene during the late 1960s as lead singer of Billy Vernon and the Celestials. His first recordings appear on that band's self-titled album.
After leaving Vernon's band, Webster became a member of the New Breed, another Montego Bay combo that included footballer Allie McNab on guitar.
It was not until the 1980s that he achieved mainstream success with the songs Music Is Life and Can We Meet. The former was produced by Handel Tucker while Can We Meet was written by popular hotelier Horace Peterkin.
BB Seaton (of The Gaylads) and the Blues Busters are two of Jamaica's pioneer artistes originally from Montego Bay. They left their hometown for Kingston to make it big, but Webster says he always felt happiest working on the north coast.
"It really never mattered to me to go to Kingston. At the end of the day, the most important thing is your work," he said.