Frankie Paul’s swan­song

Singer laid to rest with songs, speeches

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mar­cia Rowe Gleaner Writer

ON SATUR­DAY, a month af­ter singer Paul ‘Frankie Paul’ Blake’s death, his fam­ily and friends bade him farewell.

The thanks­giv­ing ser­vice for Frankie Paul’s life was held at the Olson Me­mo­rial Church of God, Hope Road, St Andrew. Due to rain, it was some time af­ter the sched­uled start that the white cas­ket was wheeled to stand be­fore the podium to a record­ing of Amaz­ing Grace. Much later, the of­fi­ci­at­ing party, led by the Rev­erend Ad­in­hair A. Jones, an­nounced the start to a rel­a­tively small con­gre­ga­tion.

The en­gag­ing ser­vice was marked by scrip­ture read­ings, trib­utes from the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties of which Blake was af­fil­i­ated, as well as a ren­di­tion of God Un­der­stands, writ­ten and sang by Blake. The song was pre­sented by Blake’s sis­ter, Tisha Clarke, via a cell phone. Un­for­tu­nately, the won­der­ful idea was marred by in­com­ing calls.

Hon Olivia Grange, min­is­ter of cul­ture, sports and gen­der af­fairs, praised Blake’s mu­si­cal tal­ent. She noted that he was not only a great vo­cal­ist, but he also played a num­ber of mu­si­cal in­stru­ments.

“He has con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to our mu­si­cal her­itage ... I dare say that Frankie Paul (who was vis­ually im­paired, but not to­tally blind) should be grouped with the likes of Ste­vie Won­der and Ray Charles He has gone from us in the flesh, but the mu­sic of

Paul Blake will for­ever live in our hearts.” Grange said. Vice-chair­man of the Ja­maica As­so­ci­a­tion of Vin­tage Artistes and Af­fli­iates (JAVAA) Ju­nior Sin­clair paid trib­ute by singing Amaz­ing Grace and re­turned by re­quest to do Gre­gory Isaacs’ Night Nurse. Henry Law­son, rep­re­sent­ing the Dis­abil­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion, de­scribed the man he knew since he was four years old as “a world-class singer and en­ter­tainer”.

The mu­sic fra­ter­nity was also rep­re­sented by Ge­orge Nooks, who de­liv­ered a med­ley, in­clud­ing Bridge Over Trou­bled Wa­ter. Half Pint paid homage with Alisha, one of Blake’s hits. Copeland Forbes, Frankie Paul’s for­mer manger, in­tro­duced Lu­ciano, who ren­dered Sweep Over My Soul, among other songs. Owen Brown read the eu­logy. Un­for­tu­nately, there seemed to some dis­cord in Blake’s fam­ily. This was brought to the front by El­der Orville Dor­man, who wit­nessed the late singer’s bap­tism. He asked the rel­a­tives to stand and say to each other:

“We are go­ing to be one”. The Rev­erend Wilmer Jack­son, in the cus­tom­ary prayer for the fam­ily in­vited Blake’s rel­a­tives to the front of the con­gre­ga­tion. With them stand­ing around the cas­ket, he de­liv­ered a pow­er­ful prayer that re­duced adults to tears. The pro­gramme had the Rev­erend Len­worth Anglin de­liv­er­ing a fiery five min­utes ser­mon ended with the Bat­tle Hymn of the Repub­lic.

Blake is sur­vived by five chil­dren. In­ter­ment was at Dove­cot.

PHOTOS BY GLAD­STONE TAY­LOR/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Miriam Clarke, sis­ter of the late Paul ‘Frankie Paul’ Blake, is over­come with grief as pall bear­ers carry the singer’s cas­ket from the Olson Me­mo­rial Church of God to the hearse on Satur­day.

Lu­ciano per­form­ing a mu­si­cal trib­ute at the fu­neral of the late Frankie Paul at the Olson Me­mo­rial Church of God, Hope Road, St Andrew, on Satur­day.

Ge­orge Nooks pay­ing trib­ute to Frankie Paul.

Per­cus­sion­ist Bongo Her­man at Frankie Paul’s fu­neral.

Pall bear­ers (from left) Akeem Rhaman, Or­lando Blake (Frankie Paul’s son), Pa­trick Len­non (Frankie Paul’s brother), Trevor Fran­cis and Nick Martin carry the cas­ket con­tain­ing the body of late record­ing artiste Paul ‘Frankie Paul’ Blake from Olson Me­mo­rial Church of God, Hope Road, St Andrew, on Satur­day.

Tisha Clarke (left), sis­ter of the late singer Frankie Paul, con­soled by Pamela Scar­lett.

Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, min­is­ter of en­ter­tain­ment, sports, cul­ture and gen­der af­fairs, de­liv­ers a trib­ute to the late Frankie Paul.

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