Wednesday, December 06, 2017

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The Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk continues its daily year in review of people who made an impact during 2017.

When the history of Jamaican music is discussed, the vocal team of Bunny and Scully rarely get their due. The first artistes out of Trench Town to record, they set the pace for an august bunch: Higgs and Wilson, Alton and Eddie, The Wailers, Delroy Wilson and The Heptones.

Noel “Scully” Simms and Arthur “Bunny” Robinson died this year. Scully passed away in February at age 82; Bunny followed in May at age 81.

Both succumbed to cancer.

The lifelong friends were inspired by rhythm and blues (then known as blues) out of the United States in the late 1940s. They first competed as a duo at the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour talent contest in 1951.

Their contemporaries included singers Laurel Aitken and Lascelles Perkins who went on to make an impact as ska performers in Jamaica and the United Kingdom.

Though they recorded in the early 1960s for producers Clement Dodd, Bunny and Scully never had any massive hit songs. Their covers of songs originally done by American acts like Shirley and Lee, went over well on sound systems and live shows.

Scully had a prolific career as a percussionist. He worked with a number of artistes including Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and collaborated regularly with producer Bunny Lee.

Bunny made his mark outside of music. Any fan of cricket or football readily identified his diminutive, bow-legged frame at Sabina Park and the National Stadium where he worked as a peanut vendor for over 45 years.

The ska/rocksteady revival of the 1990s saw Bunny and Scully getting steady work, especially on the Heineken Startime event. They never failed to satisfy as opening acts.

In 2004, Noel “Scully” Simms and Arthur “Bunny” Robinson were awarded a Badge of Honour by the Jamaican government for their contribution to Jamaican music. A small token for two giants from Trench Town.

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