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FRANKIE PAUL SENT OFF IN FINE STYLE!

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

 

DESPITE Saturday’s inclement weather, a handful of entertainers, government ministers, family members and friends turned out to pay final respects to singer Frankie Paul at the Olson Memorial Church of God on Old Hope Road in St Andrew.

Frankie Paul

Frankie Paul

The occasion — which began nearly an hour and a half after its scheduled 10:00 am start — also saw Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange appealing to entertainers to put something in place for their “departure”, and not be a burden to those left behind.

“Let us get our act together! I don’t want to come to another funeral and hear stories that the individual has nothing in place for their death. Death is inevitable. Plan for it! It is unfair to your family and me. Organise yourselves and don’t leave the pressure on us when you go… You have to have a plan when you’re earning. The entertainment business is seasonal, but try getting into an insurance scheme. What if I’m not here?” she said.

Singer Shirley McLean speaking with Desi Young (centre), president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians; and Frankie Campbell, chairman of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates.

Singer Shirley McLean speaking with Desi Young (centre), president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians; and Frankie Campbell, chairman of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates.

The minister then asked all the entertainment fraternity members and family present to stand. She asked them to repeat after her:

“I commit today that I will play my part… to make it better for our families, to make us look better, so when we say goodbye, we say goodbye in fine style,” they said in unison.

Applause followed her appeal. Paul’s family reportedly had difficulty raising funds for the funeral; he died on May 18.

The service took on a concert feel, with tributes in performance by several artistes.

George Nooks sang Bridge Over Troubled Water and I Must Tell Jesus. Half Pint did a few lines of Paul’s Alicia before seguing into his smash hit Greetings. Junior Sinclair did his impression of Gregory Isaacs’ Night Nurse.

However, it was Luciano who made the tribute segment his. Despite being advised by the officiating minister that only one item could be taken, “The Messenjah” did a suite of songs, much to the delight of those on hand, who by now were dancing in the pews.

Half Pint paying tribute at the funeral

Half Pint paying tribute at the funeral

Cellphones were out in numbers, capturing every moment.

Luciano’s ‘set’ included Lord Give Me Strength and Sweep Over My Soul. He then went into a chorus-laced segment — We Are Rolling On, I Want A Revival In My Soul, Down By The River Side and Real, Real, Real.

“I had to show my respects! He is one of the singers who inspired me. Frankie Paul has always been an icon unto I and I. He was a trailblazer. When I came in music, many people said I sounded like Frankie Paul, so it was a great honor to be here. Rain or shine, I had to be here,” Luciano told the Jamaica Observer.

Frankie Paul (given name Paul Blake) is known for songs including I Know The Score, Worries In the Dance, Sara and Cassanova. The 51-year-old artiste died at the University Hospital of the West Indies of renal failure. He is survived by five children.

He was interred at Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine.

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