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honor aitken

Posted by Ras_Adam 
honor aitken
September 04, 2017 11:01PM

Aitken for an honour

By Simone
Observer staff reporter

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 Honours and Awards are overly deserving, there are a number of individuals from the entertainment field who have worked tirelessly without recognition.

“The annals of Jamaican music would be incomplete without mentioning pioneer Laurel Aitken. He was a pioneer of ska music who never got recognised. 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 Harbour, before becoming a popular nightclub entertainer.

“He started out with a calyspo, mento flavour. In fact, he was first artiste 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.

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 artistes and earned him the nicknames “The Godfather of Ska”, and later “Boss Skinhead”. After a long campaign, a blue plaque in his honour 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.

“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 organisers of the National Honours and Awards to honour 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 honours,” he said.

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

The list of awardees in the entertainment and arts are Bunny Wailer (Order of Merit); Robert Russell (Order of Distinction — Commander class); Prof Keith Morrison (Order of Distinction — Commander class); Carl Bradshaw (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Copeland Forbes (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Rosina Moder (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Carlos Malcolm (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Lloyd Stanbury (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Ferdinand “Bobby Little Bra” Gaynair (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Patrick Brown (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Maxine Walters (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Joseph “Josey Wales” Sterling (Order of Distinction — Officer rank); Clyde McKenzie Order of Distinction — Officer rank); and Michael “String Bean” Nicholson (Badge of Honour — Long and Faithful Service).
Re: honor aitken
September 13, 2017 02:02AM
Honor Bobby Aitkin too!
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