Songs, stories of Prince Buster at tribute concert
THERE WERE patent connections between the late Prince Buster and performers at Saturday’s tribute concert which followed his interment at May Men Cemetery, Spanish Town Road, St Andrew.
Some links crossed generations; the leader of the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari reminded the capacity audience at the Institute of Jamaica’s lecture hall that the drumming of his father, Count Ossie, was included in Buster’s production, Oh Carolina.
There were also direct connections to Buster as a producer. Dennis Alcapone mentioned a recording session with footballer Allan ‘Skill’ Cole and late Tivoli Gardens strongman, Claudie Massop. He gave Alcapone striking, durable advice that fame does not last long, so he should make good use of it.
“Never forget that,” said Dennis Alcapone, before doing El Paso.
With poet Mutabaruka as MC and the band with bass guitarist Lloyd Parkes at the helm, the respects to Buster’s material started early. The band started the music and Mutabaruka did a line from The People’s Court (related to Buster’s courtroom drama Judge Dread). The line about putting politicians on trial for tricking people, hit home and the tribute was off to a good start. It flagged a bit in the later stages, as a couple performers in the audience were urged to come forward, but picked up Mystic Revelation of Rastafari closing Prince Buster’s tribute concert on Saturday at the Institute of Jamaica’s lecture hall, East Street, Kingston. Strangejah Cole (left) and Patsy Todd (right) perform at the tribute concert to Prince Buster, held on Saturday evening at the lecture hall, Institute of Jamaica, East Street, Kingston. with the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari to end on a high.
Ernie Smith did Buster’s Enjoy Yourself, while Strangejah Cole and Patsy Todd were a hit combination with, When I Call Your Name – Cole adding Rough and Tough on his own. Saxophonist Lester Sterling, Junior Sinclair (who did Prince Buster’s Hard Man Fe Dead) and Errol Dunkley were all part of the tribute. Dunkley added memories of Buster to his delivery of Movie Star and Black Cinderella.
“My first producer was Prince Buster. He produce me when I was 11 years old, him make me stand on a box (to reach the microphone),” Dunkley said.
Bongo Herman moved from the drums to the microphone to honour the late Alton Ellis, who he said was Price Buster’s favourite, with Breaking Up. Buster’s 10 Commandments was done by the band and the requisite response of a collective ‘bow!’ was provide to Tappa Zukie’s query, “people are you ready?”
The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari gave respect to Prince Buster being a Muslim (named Muhammad Yusuf Ali), their leader saying, “give thanks to Allah on this occasion for the fit of PB – Prince Buster.”
And they closed the concert with Peace and Love to a swaying, singing mass of people bidding Prince Buster farewell.