Entertainment

Whatever happened to Larry Marshall: unheralded trailblazer

BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON Observer staff reporter livingstonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, April 13, 2013    

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This is the seventh in an eight-part series.

Forty-five years after he recorded what some musicologists consider the first reggae song, singer Larry Marshall remains an obscure figure.

Marshall and fellow singer Alvin Leslie cut Nanny Goat at Studio One in 1968 for producer Clement Dodd. The song was his breakthrough after years of recording for various producers.

Besides Nanny Goat, Marshall is known for dancehall standards like Throw Mi Corn and I Admire You. He believes he has never got his due as a trailblazer.

"I feel unappreciated, I never really gotten the recognition I should have," Marshall said during an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

The last time Marshall performed in Jamaica was in 2000 at the Heineken Startime show in Kingston.

A cancer survivor, the 70-odd-year-old Marshall now lives in Florida. He does not do a lot of shows but continues to record.

His last album Old and New Songs was released in 2011. It featured Nanny Goat, Thelma and I've Got Another Girl.

Marshall's latest song, Bredda Anancy, was released in February.

Born Fitzroy Marshall in St Ann, he says he moved to Kingston in the early 1960s for a career in the music business.

Marshall says he started out recording for producers such as Philip Yap (Promise Is a Comfort To A Fool), Dodd (Please Stay) and Prince Buster (I've Got Another Girl).

His big hit, however, is Nanny Goat which vies with a handful of songs such as Toots and the Maytals' Do The Reggae, as the first reggae recording. Though he had other sizable hits such as Throw Mi Corn, Marshall never lived up to the promise of his most famous recording.

He plans to set the record straight in another critical area.

"I have not benefited financially from my songs that were released. A lot of them did well, but someone else collected," he said.

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