BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto and Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org
DESPITE a derailed effort in 2011, this year's Merritone Family Reunion and Homecoming will include a facelift of late male duo The Blues Busters's graves.
The announcement was made at the reunion's media launch at Waterfalls in Liguanea, St Andrew, on Thursday.
The reunion, which is also celebrating the 63rd year of the Merritone Music sound system, is scheduled from October 13 to 21. A church service as well as a weekend at the Sunset Beach Resort in Montego Bay are planned.
"We really wanted to do this for The Blues Busters. We are more than just music," Winston 'Merritone' Blake told the Jamaica Observer.
He said the ambitious project, which was the Blake family's idea originally, had to be shelved due to lack of finance.
"We'll be enshrining their graves and adding headstones and markers. The graves are in a really bad shape," he said.
"We got some help from the Byron Lee Foundation, VP Records, Clive Davidson, Hugh Grey, and Stan Hall to pull it off."
The Blues Busters, comprising Philip 'Boasie' James and Lloyd 'Lloydie' Campbell, were both born in Montego Bay. They honed their skills in the tourist town's clubs and hotels before moving to Kingston where they established themselves as ska performers.
James and Campbell never had the classic sound of their contemporaries from the rival Treasure Isle and Studio One. Their distinctive feel was inspired by American crooners like Nat King Cole and Sam Cooke and soul groups out of the American south.
Their hits songs during the 1960s, including Wings Of a Dove, Behold and Soon You'll Be Gone, were done for the Byron Lee-owned Dynamic Records which recorded mainly for a middle-class audience.
Thinking and Privilege were also minor hits.
The duo died in New York city. James passed away in 1989 and Campbell three years later. Both are buried in the Pyre River Cemetery in Montego Bay, St James.