By: Empress Jenny
Godfather of Reggae Dancehall, King of Lovers Rock, Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Producer, Music Pioneer, Sound System Operator, Studio Engineer, Stage Show Promoter, Soccer Player, Father, Grandfather, Son, Lover, Brother, Uncle, and Humanitarian. He held these titles and so much more...
How could you ever be forgotten when you touched our hearts in so many ways? You've made us so happy with your sweet, gut wrenching music, with your warm smile, your genuine heart, which was always giving, helping people in your community and worldwide. You never thought someone else's burden was too heavy for you to share; you gave your whole self to someone else's problem. Not seeking gratification but just being you.
Hence that day in your youth when a man approached you without shoes, you took off your own shoes and gave it to him and you trodded on barefooted. You believed that it was not wise to put one’s trust in vanity, because it will let us down, and you quoted Jesus’s word in your song, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Zion.”
So we smiled when you journeyed on and some said you died poor. But we ask, can a man who is rich in God’s work, be poor? Can such a man be poor, when his happiness stemmed from helping by sharing his material things with his fellow man? One man after his passing, wailed. “What we going to do now, how we going to eat? We father gone!!
So we will never forget how you were always advocating for the poor, the downtrodden, singing “We living a rough old life, a rough old life, tribulation, starvation, trying to keep a good man down, and when war and injustices seem to be the way, I just can’t stand all the pain.”
In one of your next songs you said, “I had a vision, just the other day, I saw children playing in the street, we are taking the ghetto uptown we are tired of being on the ground.” We know you lived it, you stayed in your community, never ran away from the ghetto, and as you depicted in yet one more of your many songs “Ghettology, life in the ghetto, ghettology, temptation, starvation, life’s brutality.”
How can we forget how you were always forgiving, turning the other cheek, always the peacemaker, always teaching us never to be vengeful. You preached unity, as your vision was for a righteous kingdom.
How can we forget how you thrilled women around the world when you sang songs such as “And no matter how many girls shall break my heart, and no matter how many girls shall tear it apart, I will keep on loving every day of my life, to you, to you, to you I know my love is true, can you feel it in the morning, can you feel it in the evening.”
You had people sympathizing with you when you sang, “Come back baby, come on back baby, you promised you would be my wife, and now you wanna walk out my life, I love you, I need you, I love you, yes I really do.”We remember when you did the cover version of “House is not a Home” you had people openly crying! And when you sang “This is Lover’s Rock People” Fans went wild! No wonder in England you were dubbed King of Lover’s Rock.
A few years back, a fan wrote that they saw Prince Charles dancing to your cover version of Michael Jackson’s, Good Thing Going, and when it was checked out, we were told that your cover version was a favorite of Princess Diana and Prince Charles from back in the 1980’s when it had hit the British Charts earning you a Silver Disc.
How can we forget? You started singing in your mother’s yard as a child standing on a little box you made for a stage and with a tin pan as your mic, singing your heart out, making up your own lyrics.
Later when you became a superstar it didn't matter if you had a few or thousands of people as your audience, you always delivered a 100% performance, until your clothes were dripping wet. As your song said, “Turn me loose mek me nice up session!”
As a Music Pioneer, how can we forget your phenomenal input into Reggae Dancehall Music when you were the first person to lay rhythm track over rhythm track. You were the first person to create Dubplates, which rules the dancehalls and dancehall sound systems worldwide!! Your hit Herbman Hustling Song along with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare was the first digital recording to come out of Jamaica back in the 1980’s. You were the most instrumental person who took Reggae music to Japan thus contributing to the tourism of the Japanese to Jamaica mainly at major music festivals such as Reggae Sunsplash,Reggae Sumfest and,other events. Godfather of Reggae Dancehall’s title was given to you for your major contribution and input into this genre of music.
You took the music to another level when you started the annual stage show Reggae in the Hills held annually on December 25th, and even when funding was low, you kept saying the show must go on. This showed your tenacity even in the face of adversity.
How can we forget all the great Singers and Rappers and Players of Instruments whose career came through your Youthman Promotion and Black Roots label, you always believed that every Singer, Rapper, Musician should be given a chance. And how your Sound System the Mighty Youth Promotion, that brought home the trophy as the number one Sound System in Jamaica, ruled and was instrumental in letting so many new talents such as Tenor Saw, Garnett Silk, Tony Rebel, Nitty Gritty, Junior Reid, Barry Brown, Yami Bolo, Naki, Skinny Ranks, Daddy Shark, John Bego, Color Man, Sister Charmaine, Lloyd Hemmings, Musical Youths, Mikey General, Jackie Knackshat, Pashon Minott etc, (who many later became superstars) songs to be heard!
How can we forget your pain when after 40 years of dedication and hard work in the music industry and with one of the biggest catalogues of all times your music was hardly being played because of the corrupt system and you were burdened by it. Sometimes you felt that it was better if you had stopped singing.
We are so grateful that you kept on making your music, after all, your mission was not over, and your work was not yet complete.
Though we mourn every single day for you, we know that you were a loan to us from God, that angel from his choir. With that soulful voice that went straight to the heart like a dagger. God wanted you back because you really belonged in heaven.
We thank you Lord for the rich legacy of his music, his gentle kind soul and though he was such a humble man his brilliance left us in such awe. And Lincoln, just before you left us you sang, "I am gone, gone, gone..." We now realize that you were really telling us good bye.
But we know that you are not truly gone because when we hear the birds singing, the raindrops falling, your voice is right there and that in heaven’s choir, you are clapping, dancing, and singing with that big beautiful smile on your face.
We will always love and remember you.
RIP Dad, Chief, Teacher, Friend, ...
Yours always Jennifer.