Greats to get their due

Observer writer

Monday, May 13, 2019

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Two of reggae's great harmony groups, The Wailing Wailers and The Mighty Diamonds, will be honoured at Tribute To The Greats, which is scheduled for July 27 at Curphey Place in St Andrew.

Kingsley Goodison of producers King Omar Promotions, told the Jamaica Observer that the outstanding legacy of both groups make them a shoo-in for selection in 2019, when reggae celebrates its 50th anniversary.

“The Wailing Wailers are seminal in just about every aspect of music…vocals, harmonies, musicians. The Diamonds are marking their 50th anniversary this year, so it's fitting we recognise them,” Goodison said.

Formed in Trench Town during the early 1960s, The Wailing Wailers included Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Neville Livingston (later Bunny Wailer), Junior Braithwaite, Cherry Smith and Beverley Kelso. They had a number of ska hit songs for producer Clement “Coxson” Dodd including Simmer Down, Lonesome Feeling, One Love, Love and Affection, and It Hurts to be Alone .

Wailer and Smith (who was honoured by Tribute To The Greats in 2014) are the only survivors from that line-up. Marley died in 1981, Tosh in 1987, Braithwaite in 1999, and Kelso in 2008.

Like The Wailing Wailers, The Mighty Diamonds launched in Trench Town, with Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson, Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson and Donald “Tabby” Shaw as original members. Most of their classic songs such as The Right Time, I Need A Roof, Have Mercy and Africa were recorded at Channel One studio in the 1970s.

Other awardees this year include pioneer singer/songwriter Owen Gray, Anthony “Chips” Richards, a former marketing executive at Trojan Records, prolific session guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, and Louis Davis of the Vinyl Record Collectors Association.

This will be the 22nd staging of Tribute To The Greats, which lauds the achievements of administrators, artistes, musicians and sound system operators who have contributed to the development of Jamaican music. Over 130 persons have been honoured since the event was first held in 1998.

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