Barbara Jones still giving thanks

Where Are They Now?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

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This is third in an eight-part series.

THERE is nothing more satisfying for gospel singer Barbara Jones than giving praise to God. But there was a time when her music rocked a different audience.

Since 1991, Jones has been a devout Christian, recording several albums, the most recent being 2011's Use Me Lord for her Nylah's Music Productions.

Now 60, Jones says she was born Barbara Nation in Jones Town, Kingston, but grew up in Porus, Manchester.

Returning to Kingston in her teens, she caught the music fever while living off Molynes Road where bandleader Byron Lee and his Dragonaires played regularly at a club.

"I was really fascinated by the music but because of my Christian upbringing, I couldn't go ahead and do it," she said.

After going on her own at age 19, she got into music professionally when she recorded her first song for the Randys label, a cover of country singer Sue Thompson's Sad Movies.

Other songs followed including Changing Partners and Englebert Humperdink's Walk Through This World With Me.

Jones also did back-up vocals in the late- 1970s and early 1980s for Jimmy Cliff, touring Africa and the United States.

In 1991, Jones changed her tune by accepting Christ as her Saviour. She took a break from music, got married and had three children before music pulled her back in 1999, but this time as a gospel performer.

Her first gospel album, Jesus Is Calling, was produced by Lloyd Campbell in 2001. She later recorded two gospel albums for Howard Mahoney out of Canada -- Thank You Lord For Your Blessing and So Much To Thank Him For.

According to Jones, there is no rush to record a new album as she is still promoting Use Me Lord, which includes the songs Praise Praise, Praise, Free Free and Does Jesus Care.

Jones says she mainly performs on the local church circuit but some persons think she is living abroad.

"I am very much around. A lot of people would be surprised that I am living right here in Jamaica," she said.

For her next project, she plans to fulfil a longtime ambition.

"I've done secular and other genres, but I have never recorded Christmas songs and it's something I promised myself I would do," she said.

Jones has won several accolades including Reggae Soca Award for Best Album, Tamika Reggae Award Artiste of the Year for 2001, Kingdom Award and a Caribbean Gospel Music Award.

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