Hal Anthony adds flavour to classic


Hal Anthony adds flavour to classic

Saturday, October 12, 2019

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The late 1960s were an exciting time musically in Jamaica. During that period, budding singer Hal Anthony moved from rural Frankfield, Clarendon, to Kingston, the country's music hub.

One of the songs that caught his attention early was John Jones (You Son of A Gun), a big hit for singer Rudy Mills in 1968. Anthony, who recently covered it, told the Jamaica Observer that his version was a long time coming.

“I always love di song because of di lyrics. Is something dat happen to a whole heap a man,” he said. “So mi sey, 'yuh know wha, mi a go check Willie'.”

'Willie' is Willie Lindo, who produced ' John Jones' for his Heavy Beat Records. That South Florida-based company has guided numerous hit songs, including Inseparable by Dennis Brown, Boris Gardiner's I Wanna Wake up With You and Wayne Wade's Love You Too Much.

The original was produced by Derrick Harriott, who is credited as co-writer with Mills.

Initially, Anthony thought of recording John Jones with The Tennors, the rocksteady group of which he has been a member for the past five years. He eventually did it solo, but recruited fellow Tennors Clive Murphy and Howard Sinclair for harmonies.

“Wi didn't change too much [from the original] but di sound is bigger an' it come out alright,” he said.

Anthony, who was once a member of vocal group The Beltones, is also a long-time South Florida resident. He is founder, rhythm guitarist and vocalist with the Millennium Band, a unit that has backed Freddie McGregor, Tarrus Riley, Lady Saw, Glen Washington and Sanchez on shows in that region.

His previous solo project was the tribute album, Hal Anthony Sings The Gladiators' Greatest Hits, which was released in 2017. He performed with The Tennors at the Stars R Us show in Kingston in February.

— Howard Campbell

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