The Aussie connection

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

Friday, July 13, 2012    

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IN 1958, most Jamaicans' knowledge of Australia was that it produced great cricketers like batsman Donald Bradman, and the all-rounder Keith Miller who toured the West Indies three years eariler.

In November, 1958 three Aussie musicians came to Kingston and added a different flavour to the city's vibrant music scene. Keyboardist Peter Stoddart, guitarist Dennis Sindrey and drummer Lowell Morris were original members of the Caribs band which will be honoured July 28 during the Tributes To The Greats show at Curphey Place in St Andrew.

Stoddart, now 78, still lives in Jamaica with his wife, Rilla. Recently, he spoke to the Jamaica Observer about the award.

"I've never really thought we've got our due but the same can be said for people like (bandleader) Carlos Malcolm or (saxophonist) Roland Alphonso," Stoddart said.

At different periods, the Caribs included drummer Karl McLeod, vocalist Louis Sparks, congo players Cecil Scott and Noel Seale, bass players Steve Loutz, Lloyd Brevett and Jackie Jackson, and Trinidadian drummer Roger Bethulme.

From 1958-59, they were resident band at the Glassbucket club and spent three years (1959-62) in a similar capacity at the Myrtle Bank Hotel. They were the official band at the Jonkanoo Lounge from 1962-74.

Stoddart, Sindrey and Morris were part of a band that played the Surfers Paradise area in Queensland. Stoddart, originally from Adelaide in South Australia, said they were invited to play the Glassbucket by its owner, hotelier Abe Issa.

"He was a good friend of (Australian actor) Errol Flynn who knew of us. So he said if we were passing this way, we should give him a call," Stoddart recalled.

The trio did just that in late 1958 while in Miami en route to England where they were scheduled to do some shows. It would be 12 years before Stoddart returned to his country.

In addition to playing the latest in calypso and Latin American music at the Glassbucket, the Caribs played on some early Jamaican hit songs like Tell Me Darling by Wilfred 'Jackie' Edwards and Laurel Aitken's Boogie in My Bones, both produced by an emerging producer named Chris Blackwell.

"There was no real recording studio so we had to record at RJR (Radio Jamaica) where Graeme Goodall was sound engineer," said Stoddart.

Goodall, another Australian, first came to Jamaica in 1955 to help set up RJR's broadcast system. He will also be honoured by Tribute To The Greats.

Morris presently lives in Melbourne, Australia, while Sindrey resides in Boca Raton, Florida. They reunited two years ago in Melbourne where Stoddart says they were backed by a 30-piece ska band.

Lloyd 'Mohair Slim' Dewar, a radio disc jockey in Melbourne, is working on a documentary about the band.



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