Veteran reggae artiste delighted by Sumfest award

BY SIMONE MORGAN Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Even after 52 years in the music business, Freddie McGregor can still be overwhelmed by the occasion.

It was an emotional moment for the singer Sunday morning when he received a plaque from organisers of Reggae Sumfest for his contribution to the development of Jamaican music.

"I really appreciate it and this honour is a blessing to me. I have received numerous awards but it feels good to be honoured by my own people, he said.

After the mini ceremony, the singer backed by a 21-piece band, delivered a breathtaking show, closing the curtains on the five-day festival.

Though he did many of his hit songs including To Be Poor Is A Crime, Push Come To Shove and So I Will Wait For You, a poignant moment came when he invited singer Judy Mowatt and their daughter Shema to perform the song, So Much of Me, So Much of You.

It was a rare performance by McGregor on a major local event.

This is so because the music has shifted from Jamaica to overseas for a while now, he stated, adding that he is booked for overseas dates for the remainder of 2014.

After five decades in the reggae industry, McGregor believes it has changed for the worst.

"This business is unfair and corrupt. Vybz Kartel is serving a life sentence, yet he continues to release new songs and his music is played more than anyone else. How is this possible?," he asked.

Born in Clarendon, Freddie McGregor is one of reggae's most durable singers. He started his career at Studio One in the early 1960s as a protégé of producer Clement 'Coxson' Dodd.

Dodd produced some of his first hits which included Bobby Babylon and Bandulu.

A decade later, he established the Big Ship recording studio and label which has produced many of his hit songs.




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