Don Reid does it with humour

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Thursday, September 12, 2019

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Though not as acclaimed as roots-reggae and dancehall, the satirist has always featured in Jamaican popular music. Pluto Shervington, Stanley Beckford, Lovindeer, Professor Nuts, Papa San and Stitchie held their own amidst Rasta spirituality and outrageous gun talk.

Don Reid, who developed his craft through the church, was influenced by some of those acts. His songs, Hospital Food and Courts, recall a type of humour that once had a following in Jamaica.

“Humour is definitely missing from contemporary reggae and dancehall. I am aiming to use my unique style of twinning humour with real-life issues to bring back fun to reggae and dancehall,” Reid said during an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

He recently returned from New York where he did a month of promotional appearances for Hospital Food and Courts, which are produced by Danny Browne of Main Street Records. According to Reid, the events “were immensely beneficial. They allowed New Yorkers to connect directly with me and allowed for lively interaction with my fans.”

Hospital Food is the St Ann-born artiste's first song. A jab at the oft-maligned hospital cuisine, it was released in September last year.

Courts is a nod to the appliance/furniture company and pitfalls of the hire purchase.

Reid met Browne at Swallowfield Chapel in Kingston where they are members. Browne, founder of Main Street Records and the Bloodfire Posse, is head of the praise and worship team and plays bass in the church band which Reid was looking to join as a keyboardist.

After an unsuccessful attempt at the church's talent competition, Browne suggested Reid become an understudy to Dennis Rushton, the band's keyboardist. He also joined Browne's weekly Care Group, and following positive response to an amateur Facebook video of Hospital Food, the veteran musician decided to record the song.

Papa San and Stitchie, whose prowess as lyricists won over hardcore dancehall fans and major American labels in the 1980s/1990s, are among Reid's musical influences. However, his biggest inspiration is his foster mother, known as Miss Lou, the subject of his next song.

“Miss Lou is a massive influence on not just my careers (banking and music) but on my life in general. Indirectly, by how she lived, she taught me the value of hard work and helped me to develop an enormous capacity for it,” said Reid. “My next single, Who I Am, will be her introduction to young Jamaicans in particular who I hope will be inspired to emulate her almost saint-like characteristics.”


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