Musical tributes for Barbara Jones

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

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IT was a celebration in song for the life of gospel singer Barbara Jones at the Gregory Park Baptist Church in St Catherine, on Saturday.

Jones (given name Barbara Lewis nee Nation) died from pneumonia at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew on December 19. She was 62.

Singers and players of instruments as well as members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) turned out in their numbers to pay their final respects to the singer.

Jones's widower -- former Senior Superintendent of Police Hector Lewis Snr -- said although he was grieving, he felt happy for the support.

"It speaks volumes to the outpouring of love and support given to the family by my former colleagues and the wide cross-section of society," Lewis Snr told the Jamaica Observer.

"She was a woman of humility. If she was able to see the turnout, she would have smiled and said God had this worked out for her," he continued.

Musical tributes came from gospel singers Carlene Davis and Edwin Myers, roots-reggae singer Chronixx and saxophonist Dean Fraser (who represented the Jamaica Federation of Musicians), and Nexus Performing Arts Company.

Jones's offspring Sherrie-Ann and Hector Lewis Jr, percussionist with Zinc Fence Redemption Band, performed a rendition of Deniece Williams's It's Gonna Take a Miracle as well as an original piece entitled I Will Always Love My Mama.

Other tributes came from Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Rose and Howard Maloney, Silver Lining Promotions. Jamaica College's principal Senator Ruel Reid read the eulogy while Rev Karl Henin delivered the homily.

Music impresario Tommy Cowan was also pleased with the support for Jones.

"This is the most official artiste's funeral I've seen in a long time. It was well supported and well organised," Cowan told the Observer.

Jones began her musical journey in 1971 with a cover of American country singer Sue Thompson's Sad Movies with the Soul Syndicate Band for Randy's Records.

She received a fair amount of
airtime with other covers including Angel in The Morning, originally done by Evie Sands, and Englebert Humperdinck's Walk Through This World With Me.

Born in Kingston and reared in Manchester, Jones toured with Jimmy Cliff as a backup singer, before giving up secular music in the early 1980s. She became a Christian and eventually recorded four gospel albums.

"As a woman of the Christian faith, she was loved by the Baptist Church and all other churches in the Union," said Lewis Snr.

Interment followed in the Meadowrest Memorial Park in St Catherine.

-- BB


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