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» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » “MUSIC PIONEER LAUREL AITKEN SHOULD BE HONORED” SAYS KINGSLEY GOODISON OF “TRIBUTE TO THE GREATS”!

“MUSIC PIONEER LAUREL AITKEN SHOULD BE HONORED” SAYS KINGSLEY GOODISON OF “TRIBUTE TO THE GREATS”!

By Simone Morgan-Lindo—

FOR the past two decades, music insider Kingsley Goodison has used his Tribute to the Greats show to laud Jamaica’s finest musicians, many of whom are unsung.

Goodison said while those on the list for National Honors and Awards are overly deserving, there are a number of individuals from the entertainment field who have worked tirelessly without recognition.

Laurel Aitken

Laurel Aitken

“The annals of Jamaican music would be incomplete without mentioning pioneer Laurel Aitken. He was a pioneer of ska music who never got recognized. He was very disgruntled about it that he never got an award from Jamaica and died with a heavy heart in 2005,” Goodison told Jamaica Observer. “To me, he should have gotten it long ago.”

Born in Cuba of mixed Cuban and Jamaican descent, Aitken and his family settled in Jamaica in 1938. He worked for the Jamaican Tourist Board singing mento songs for visitors arriving at Kingston Harbor, before becoming a popular nightclub entertainer.

“He started out with a calyspo, mento flavor. In fact, he was first artist to give Chris Blackwell’s Island Records a hit. It was two-sided (vinyl) hit in 1958 called Boogie In My Bones/Little Sheila,” said Goodison.

Aitken was known for songs like Nebuchadnezzar, Sweet Chariot, and Baba Kill Me Goat. His rhythm and blues-orientated singles from this period include Low Down Dirty Girl and More Whisky, both produced by Duke Reid.

Lauriel-Aitken-Sally-Brown

Aitken moved to Brixton, London, in 1960 and recorded for the Blue Beat label, releasing 15 singles before returning to Jamaica in 1963. He recorded for Duke Reid with backing from the Skatalites on tracks such as Zion and Weary Wanderer, before returning to the UK where he began working with Pama Records. He recorded hits such as Fire in Your Wire and Landlord and Tenants, which led to a wider recognition outside of Jamaica and the United Kingdom. This cemented his position as one of ska’s leading artists and earned him the nicknames “The Godfather of Ska”, and later “Boss Skinhead”. After a long campaign, a blue plaque in his honor was put up at his Leicester home in 2007.

“When he left for England, he became a pioneer there, too,” said Goodison.

He died in England in 2005. He was 78.

Like Aitken, Goodison said other musicians such as Jackie Edwards, Winston Francis, Jimmy James, and Dennis Alcapone should be credited nationally for their part in the development of Jamaican music.

Kingsley Goodison

Kingsley Goodison

“These are musicians who took the music with them to England, which was the springboard of Jamaican music. You just can’t leave these men out. They are ‘bad’ musicians who have done extremely well for our country,” he said.

Goodison said he is imploring the organizers of the National Honors and Awards to honor some of the musicians living in England and other parts of the world.

“A lot of them can’t travel to Jamaica, so why not host a ceremony at the British High Commission office and send their awards to them? These persons deserve the honors,” he said.

This year’s National Honors and Awards ceremony will be held at King’s House in St Andrew on Heroes Day, October 16.

 

 

 

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