Castell does ode to brother

Observer senior writer

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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OF the talented singers that emerged from Waterhouse in the late 1970s, Lacksley Castell is probably the most enigmatic. Though he helped define what became the Waterhouse sound, he is not as well-known as his contemporaries Hugh Mundell, Michael Rose or Don Carlos.

Like Mundell, he died in 1983, ending a promising career.

One of Castell's greatest admirers is his younger brother Trevor Castell, a Florida-based artiste who maintains a Facebook page in his honour. Last Saturday, Princess Lady, his cover of Lacksley's 1982 hit song, was released.

The self-produced single is part of a tribute album Trevor Castell hopes to release through his T-Castell Records this year. It is his way of keeping Lacksley's music alive.

“I think I owe it to him, myself, the rest of the family along with fans and friends. My brother never got a chance to perform on a major concert or stage and he never had the opportunity to travel,” Castell told the Jamaica Observer.

He said it was only natural that he first cover Princess Lady since it was a favourite of his and Lacksley's who died suddenly at age 24.

Since then, Trevor Castell has steadfastly guarded his legacy. He keeps tabs on use of Lacksley's songs by record companies or producers, and makes regular posts on social media acknowledging his birthday and death.

“My brother is my biggest influence as a singer and my motivator. As I look back, I can remember where we started. We moved from Waterhouse to Duhaney Park, and on weekends we would go to the session at Mrs Morris shop on Waterhouse Drive and would compete with each other,” he recalled.

Lacksley was the third of five Castell brothers who grew up on Dilliston Avenue in Waterhouse. Like Mundell, his early career was nurtured by dub master Augustus Pablo who had close links to the area through his close relationship with legendary engineer/producer Osbourne “King Tubby's” Ruddock.

Children of The Israelites, one of Lacksley Castell's early songs, was produced by Pablo who was also grooming Mundell, another Waterhouse talent. At the time, the community was bursting with roots acts including The Wailing Souls, Black Uhuru and Don Carlos.

Over time, Castell mainly recorded for Negus Roots, a home grown label, that released some of his best-known songs including Princess Lady and Morning Glory.

He also worked with Dean Fraser, Sugar Minott and Neil “Mad Professor” Fraser. Castell died in November 1983, one month after Mundell was murdered in Kingston.

“My brother was pushing himself to be a artiste an' a good singer but he was plagued by sickness. I could see it in his eyes an' his face, one day up next day down because of a stomach virus that he had which was so uncomfortable,” said Trevor Castell.

Trevor Castell's own career launched in the early 1980s with singles for producer Bunny Lee. He migrated to the United States during that decade.

While recording a tribute set to Lacksley is his immediate project, Trevor Castell has another priority. His brother's grave in May Pen Cemetery in west Kingston has no headstone, and that is something he would like changed.

“It's my dream to do so. I am really working on doing that for him so I am going to make every effort to do so,” he said.

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