I traveled extensively to Jamaica from 1979 right through until 2017. I bought a house there with a friend and had the house for 27 years before having to sell it.
It was in this period that I sang reggae, in the land of reggae. What a trip.
Singing reggae in Jamaica all started with a singing contest being held in 1988 at one of the large outdoor clubs in Negril. It was being transmitted live over RJR radio, the biggest radio station in Jamaica at the time. My, by now, ex-wife urged me to enter the contest against a dozen local dreads and singers.
I entered and sang Gregory Isaacs Night Nurse much to the delight of the very large crowd….and I won.
After this surprise win I figured I could probably hold my own at the local reggae clubs in Negril. At first I hung out at Kaisers Cafe on the West End which was the best show in town and like all the other hopefuls I got in line. To get in line you had to speak to the DJ who was running the show that night. The DJ here was Gummy Dee and he’d have me sing 3 or 4 Bob Marley songs. After a few performances he dubbed me “White Bob” or “The White Bob Marley”.
One night after I’d sung, a gentleman who I really didn’t know, introduced himself as the owner of “Bourbon Beach” a well known club on the beach and he asked me if I would like to”headline a performance at the club this coming Saturday. I couldn’t refuse. I was quite nervous but the gig went on successfully.
Since then I have sung repeatedly over the years at Rick’s Cafe, Sea Star, Samsara, The Yacht Club, MX-3, Charela Inn, Bourbon Beach, Roots Bamboo and of course Alfred’s Ocean Palace
One of the stalwarts of the scene, a great singer and DJ who originally worked exclusively at Alfred’s was Errol “Polkadot” Dunn (dec). He was the best. For any of you that remember Polkadot, here is one of the songs I’m sure you remember him singing:
I worked in the studio with many bands from 1983 until 2004. I also played with a band I put together for one of my clients. This was a guy hailing from Equatorial Guinea…Annax Bickie and the band was called Annax Bickie and Zalang