Tribute to the Greats honours music standouts
- Awardees 'Patsy', Pinkney, McDonald perform at Curphey Place
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Although just who would perform was not specified, it was expected that some of the awardees would take to the stage at Curphey Place, Swallowfield, St Andrew, at Tribute to the Greats 14 on Saturday night.
But there was an even bigger surprise than the singing of Millicent 'Patsy' Todd, Larry McDonald's sometimes rapid-fire percussions and Dwight Pinkney's lead guitar playing. The awardees were rounded out by Winston 'Sparrow' Martin, Herbie Miller, Haldane 'Jimmy Metro' James, and dance promoter Cecil Simpson. Miller did double collection duties, accepting the award for The Skatalites, the band he once managed.
That award will go in the collection of the Jamaica Music Museum, of which Miller is curator, but he was also the recipient of the night's big surprise. After the performances ended, McDonald announced that he would be handing over the drums he played that night to the Museum. "I am in such a good mood this evening that I've decided to donate my set of drums to the Jamaica Music Museum. I am taking the opportunity of presenting it to Mr Herbie Miller."
Miller said, "It is gifts like these that will allow us to build an enviable collection."
And organiser of Tribute to the Greats, Kingsley 'King Omar' Goodison, said, "It was a struggle to get Larry here, but I am happy." All three took taps on the drums as the handover was completed.
Earlier, after the last citation had been read by the night's host, Norma Brown, and the appropriate acceptances made, the substantial audience was treated to performances to the superb music of the Rhythm Masters Band. Tanice Morrison stuck in the main to the tried and proven with competent renditions of Althea and Donna's Uptown Top Ranking and Marcia, closing with her own Look Who's Sorry, a statement of triumph to an erstwhile lover.
Lascelles Perkins was in a romantic mood at the beginning and end of his stint, with Mood For Love and Mighty Organ respectively. In between, he reflected, "I've been singing for over 50 years and tonight I see some people I haven't seen in a long time. I really feel comfortable."
The Jays slipped Junior Murvin's Police and Thieves in between their own material to very good results, the falsetto-accustomed harmoniser taking over lead vocals for the song.
Patsy, in an extremely rare showing, was in good nick, starting out with Strangejah Cole on their duet Give Me The Right. Cole is always a frisky gentleman, but when they faced each other and dropped legs, Patsy holding the sides of her dress, she showed she was not bereft in the dancing department.
Cole left the stage and Patsy did a dance song, ending on an upbeat calypso note with Fire Fire, a few ladies dropping legs on the dance floor.
Larry McDonald, seated behind three drums, started out slowly. Goodison handing him a cup of water to wet his fingers, which got the finger rub across the skin of the instrument to increase in volume. McDonald included percussive instruments in this slower segment, but there was no room for those when he cut loose in complicated, rapid-fire patterns, to vociferous appreciation of the audience.
Pinkney opened with Satta Massagana, moved into How Could I Live and Put it On, smiling, strolling and plucking, eyeing those on the dance floor. He pointed out that the Rhythm Masters Band encapsulated over 300 years of contribution to Jamaican music and went back to the Zap Pow roots of some of its members - as well as himself - with Mystic Mood.
And after taking a turn at vocals with his Nengeh Nengeh, it was back to the guitar with nods to Dennis Brown, Tarrus Riley and Beres Hammond.
After the drums were handed over, the night was in Merritone's hands, with Mikey Thompson at the controls.