Smalling remembers Bob's big contribution


Smalling remembers Bob's big contribution

By Kediesha Perry
Observer writer

Monday, April 06, 2020

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THOUGH she was familiar with his music, Dr Marsha Smalling, principal of Glenmuir High School, never met singer Bob Andy until March last year.

He was part of the entertainment package at Glenmuir High's fifth annual fund-raising brunch on the lawns of Devon House in St Andrew. Marcia Griffiths, his long-time vocal partner, was headliner.

“It was my first time meeting him in person; but I can promise you, his words of encouragement and wisdom has left a lifelong impact,” Smalling told the Jamaica Observer.

“It meant everything to me. I always had the utmost respect for him. It was such a euphoric moment; you know like when you meet your favourite artiste for the first time. He definitely impacted the music industry in a positive way and his passing is a great loss,” she added.

Andy died on March 27. He was 75 years old.

At the brunch, Andy and Griffiths performed their cover of Nina Simone's Young, Gifted and Black which attracted loud cheers from the audience.

Smalling explained why Andy and Griffiths were ideally suited for the gig.

“We wanted to add some flavour to brunch. We have a task force, and one of the members is close to Marcia, and she asked her if she could come and provide entertainment. It was such a joy that she agreed and, you know, Bob came as well as well as her [Marcia's] son Yohance,” she said.

The principal noted that her favourite Bob Andy song is Too Experienced, which is taken from his acclaimed album, Song Book. She lauds his songwriting skills.

“I'm not a party person but I listen to his music quite often. What's special about him is that he not only entertains but educates. He is a great lyricist and his passing has left a gap,” she said.

Bob Andy, whose given name was Keith Anderson, was a founding member of harmony group The Paragons, with whom he started his career in the early 1960s.

He left the trio before they became hitmakers at producer Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label in the mid-1960s.

Andy was a star at the rival Studio One where his hits included Too Experienced, Unchained, and Let Them Say. In the 1970s, he penned provocative songs such as Check It Out and Fire Burning.

He showed a different side to his artistry by playing the lead role in the 1978 movie, Children of Babylon.

In 2006, Andy was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to music.

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