‘Love, manners and respect’ for Robbie Shakespeare at One Pop Studio
Widow remembers him as a great father, husband, friend
Sunday was the day chosen for the public viewing of the body of legendary musician Robbie Shakespeare at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston from noon to 3 p.m. However, on Sunday morning, music industry players, some of them well dressed in black pants and long-sleeved white shirts, made the pilgrimage to One Pop Studio on Red Hills Road to pay their respect to their fallen soldier. It was the first stop on the itinerary for a studio tour, prior to the official viewing of the body of the bassist who passed away last December in Florida.
Long before the scheduled 10 a.m. stop at One Pop, the studio he shared with his lifelong musical partner, Sly Dunbar, musicians and artistes, including Steven ‘Lenky’ Marsden, Rorey Baker, Hopeton Lindo, Hawkeye, Chico, Tanto Metro, Devonte, Worm Bass, Clive ‘Busy’ Campbell and a host of others assembled inside and outside One Pop. It was a case of them simply having to be there, whether they were members of the legendary Taxi Gang or not. A hush fell over the place when Perry’s Funeral Home rolled in with an elaborate convoy of stretch limousines, with the bassist’s body encased in a shining, golden casket and his name written big and bold across the entire length of the limo.
“Yuh know mi haffi deh yah. I have to be here to show my support,” Hawkeye, who has been working with Sly and Robbie for a number of years, told The Gleaner. “Robbie has done so much for the music yuh can’t even begin to put it together, so to be a part of the Gang – and even if I wasn’t a part of the Gang – for the track record they set, that is enough to give thanks for. They open and pave the way for us as a fraternity, as an industry, as a culture. Mi haffi come; mi haffi deh yah. Condolences to Mr Basspeare’s family; and a bare love and manners and honour and respect.”
Singer, songwriter and producer Hopeton Lindo flew in on Saturday night from Florida just to be there.
“Give thanks that I am able to be here to pay respect to my family, mi nuh call him bredren anymore. We live near to each other in Miami and I have been in touch with him all through the process, and my family have been in touch with Cat [Robbie’s wife]. My daughter works at the hospital, so we have been close,” Lindo shared.
He added, “ It was very emotional, and I was glad to make it, even after making an emergency landing with the flight last night. Robbie is a man who give us a lot of advice. He is one of my mentors; we have done a lot of studio work together and a lot of writing together. He will be missed, but thank God his music will live on. Sly is like a brother as well, so I am glad I was able to make it to represent my family and also the manager, Patrick Lindsay, who was unable to make it out of Philadelphia. It was an honour to have known and have worked with Robbie. Robbie was a real general in the true sense of the word, and we love him.”
Singer Chico lauded Robbie for his kindness. “Robbie has put in so much work over the years. I want to be a part of this because of my affiliation with him. He has always been a good person to me. Coming up in the music business, yuh meet some people who not so friendly, but Robbie has never been that kind of a person to me, from the day I met him till now. So I am here to celebrate his service and send him home in God’s good grace,” he stated.
The legend Sly Dunbar was not in a talking mood, but, as usual, he remained gracious. “Today is a sad day, but I am feeling good, also. But it is a sad day,” he reiterated.
Robbie Shakespeare’s widow, Marian, spoke lovingly of him. “Today is a great day because we getting on with things. We are putting him to rest, so at least that pressure will be gone soon. I just have to adjust to getting on with life without him. But he will still be loved, he will still be in our presence. I know he will be greatly missed by so many people. It’s like something was just blown out of this world when it happened. People were in shock. I wasn’t really in shock, because I was the one along the whole process. I was called so that I could be there with him in my hands while he took the last breath and his eyes closed. And that’s when reality hit; and I called Minister Babsy Grange same time. He was a wonderful person, a great father, a great husband, and a great friend. I called him Robbie, or ‘Pap’ sometimes, and he called me ‘Cat’. That’s the name he gave me, and everybody called me that,” Marian Shakespeare shared.
The funeral is scheduled for today at 10 a.m. at the Webster Memorial United Church in St Andrew.