BY HOWARD CAMPBELL—
Though he recorded a number of cover songs early in his career, it did not take B.B. Seaton long to discover the importance of being a songwriter.
By the late 1960’s, he hit his stride as singer/songwriter for The Gaylads, with whom he performs this evening at the inaugural One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival at Ranny Williams Entertainment Center.
“If you have a good voice and don’t have good songs, it’s difficult to get a hit,” he reasoned.
Seaton’s career began at producer Clement Dodd’s Studio One in the ska era of the early 1960’s, but blossomed during the rocksteady period late that decade, with The Gaylads.
He wrote most of the trio’s hits, such as Lady With The Red Dress, You Should Never Do That, Hard to Confess, Over The Rainbow, and My Jamaican Girl.
Other artists benefited from his prolific penmanship. Seaton wrote The Girl I Left Behind and Freedom Street for Ken Boothe; Swing And Dine for The Melodians and Give Love A Try, made popular by Delroy Wilson.
Now 72, the Kingston-born Seaton (real name Harris Lloyd Seaton) is best known for his work with The Gaylads, alongside Delano Stewart and Maurice Roberts.
“We used unison in harmony. Not everybody was doing that…Delano was a magnificent singer; Maurice was very talented,” he said. Stewart, now 69, lives in New York City. Roberts died last year.
Seaton, Harold Davis (formerly of The Sensations) and Dennis Spencer comprise the current Gaylads. They all live in England. The One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival also features Toots and The Maytals, Derrick Morgan, Bob Andy, BB Seaton and The Gaylads, Leroy Sibbles, the Soweto Ska Band and Brooklyn Attractors.