Bass guitarist ‘Bagga’ passes in Maryland
Bass guitarist Earl “Bagga” Walker, a stalwart of the Studio One label and Twelve Tribes of Israel organisation, died on Thursday in Maryland at age 75.
His sister, Orleen Campbell, told the Jamaica Observer that he passed away at MedStar Hospital.
Walker’s physical movement was restricted in recent years after suffering several strokes.
Initially a guitarist, he switched to bass at Studio One, playing on classic songs such as Skylarking by Horace Andy, Vanity by Sugar Minott, and Truth And Rights by Johnny Osbourne.
The dreadlocked Walker was an original member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, backing many of that organisation’s acts. The best known was Freddie McGregor on whose 1986 hit single, Push Come to Shove, Walker played.
“He is sadly missed. Bagga was loved by my entire family. He was the bass player for the Studio One Band and we toured for many years, and worked together at Studio One for many years too,” McGregor said in an interview with the Observer.
Campbell said Twelve Tribes was formed by Vernon “Prophet Gad” Carrington at her family’s Trench Town home in 1968. Her brother, who was the eldest of six children, spent his formative years in that community.
Walker was a major part of the Twelve Tribes of Israel’s recording unit. He played bass on harmony quartet Still Cool’s To Be Poor Is A Crime, which was later covered with great success by McGregor.
In addition to his session work, Walker toured with Jimmy Cliff, The Gladiators, Black Uhuru, and I Jahman Levi.
In 2018 he was honoured by the Tributes To The Greats show in Kingston for his contribution to Jamaican music.
Earl “Bagga” Walker is survived by five children, four grandchildren, three sisters, and two brothers.