Sugar Minott — a man for all seasons

(Jamaica Observer) The significance of Lincoln ‘Sugar’ Minott’s contribution as a critical innovator in the annals of modern Jamaican music will be commemorated at farewell showcase tentatively planned for July 29. It will form part of the tribute for the late reggae/dancehall maestro.

According to his widow, Maxine Stowe, if everything goes her way, the send- off for her husband into the choir of the great beyond will be nothing short of impressive.

“I am looking to work with JAVAA (Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates) on a musical tribute on July 29 at a place to be determined; this planning will come together next week,” she told the Sunday Observer.

She also said that a thanksgiving service in commemoration of the life and works of Sugar Minott is being planned for August 1 at the National Arena with a public all-day viewing at his Youthman Promotions HQ on Robert Crescent on July 31.

“He will be interred at a family plot or associated community cemetery in Harkers Hall (St Catherine) where his father and son Alton are buried,” Stowe added.

The veteran entertainer born Lincoln Barrington Minott on May 25, 1956, passed away on July 10 at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Mona.

At last Wednesday’s induction ceremony for JAVAA’s Hall of Fame music insider Clyde McKenzie noted that Sugar Minott “is a critical part of the music that them called dancehall. He is dancehall…gi dem inna dancehall style…a dancehall wi deh…,” McKenzie waxed lyrically.

Another music aficionado who was instrumental in the discovery of Sugar Minott provided some historical information. “In 1974, I used to have talent shows in the Corporate Area … Lady Pink Club, Greenwich Club and Memory Lane Club. At Lady Pink Club at Maxfield Avenue and Little Q Road, I auditioned a group called the African Brothers. The group comprised Tony Tuff, Sugar Minott and Eric Bubbles. They were on all of these shows, but they won at the Lady Pink Club in 1974,” Tony Mack shared with this writer.

“After that the group did three recordings, then shortly after Sugar went solo and history as we know unfolds… But that’s where Sugar comes from and believe me Jamaica lost one of the greatest musical ambassadors, the greatest ambassador of early dancehall music.

“When you talk about dancehall in the early days, Sugar …like on a weekend… used to go to every dance in the Corporate Area and just sing on any rhythm… just sing,” recalled Tony Mack who was a member of the regrouped musical outfit called The Eternals.

As someone who came through the talent shows experience, Sugar Minott also returned the favour by providing the opportunity with his Youthman Promotions (after which his sound system was named) through which a younger generation of artistes got their big break. Among them Triston Palmer, Tenor Saw, Phillip Fraser to mention just three who came easily to mind. But there were others like Little John, Barry Brown, Tony Tuff, Junior Reid, Yami Bolo, Don Angelo, Nitty Gritty, Garnet Silk, Tony Rebel, Colorman, Daddy Freddie, Johnny Osbourne and Steve ‘Shalom’ Harper who all have

“Sugar is a man who come up through the talent thing but he also implemented it. He started the Youthman Promotions and a whole lot of singers came through this thing… this was Sugar Minott finding the youth them and producing them…he provided that access for the young artistes them coming up during that time, yuh nuh,” explained the veteran singer whose latest project is an album titled Tony Mack Sings Reggae Classics.

On par with his immense contribution to the youth, is Sugar Minott’s vocal style and creative energy, which, for almost 40 years, helped to sweeten modern Jamaican popular music.

The following is an edited version of Jamaican born, San Francisco/California-based publicist and radio disc jockey Queen Mushiya’s reaction to Sugar Minott’s passing she shared on her website.

“My night started out nice …and then my world came to a screaming halt with messages on my phone and texts from Carmelita (Irie Vision TV) and others notifying me of Sugar Minott’s death.

“I cannot say a passing affecting me so, since the day we lost Mikey (Dread); as it was through Mikey that I met Sugar Minott. Funny thing, when I first started my show Reggae Solutions. I would always say before I played Sugar’s song Not for Sale ‘I always loved a little Sugar in my tea’. Too many times I had been meaning to call and have Sugar come on the show. However travel and time got away from me.

“Sugar in all his glory will always be the voice of lovers rock as no one could touch his pitch as he brought you into his world with songs such as The more we are together, Give my love to you, Conscious Lover, Half a love (my favourite) and Tears you cry.

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