Sunday, July 11, 2010

R.I.P. Sugar Minott

Sugar Minott is dead

Howard Campbell
Gleaner Writer

Roots singer Lincoln ‘Sugar’ Minott, who influenced a new generation of reggae artistes in the 1980s, died at the University Hospital of the West Indies Saturday evening at the age of 54.

Minott’s wife, Maxine Stowe, confirmed his passing yesterday but gave no cause of death. The singer had cancelled shows in Canada in May after reports that he had experienced chest pains.

Minott was best known for roots anthems like Vanity, Mr DC, No Vacancy and Herbman Hustling. But he was just as adept belting out lovers rock songs such as Lovers Race and Good Thing Going.

Good Thing Going was originally done in 1972 by the Jackson Five. Minott’s reggae version entered the British national chart in 1981 and remained his biggest commercial success.

He was also a prolific producer at his Youthman Promotions company which recorded countless upcoming acts. Tristan Palmer, Tenor Saw, Little John, Barry Brown, Yami Bolo, Garnet Silk and Junior Reid all recorded for the label which Minott started in 1979.

He co-produced Foreign Mind, Reid’s first big hit. Yesterday, Reid remembered Minott as someone who did ‘great works’.

“Him gi a lotta strength to the music but neva get a lotta love from the business,” said Reid.

Born in the Maxfield Avenue area of Kingston, Sugar Minott was strongly inspired by rocksteady singers John Holt and Alton Ellis. He started his career in the early 1970s as a member of the African Brothers vocal group but went solo later that decade at the famed Studio One with producer Clement ‘Coxson’ Dodd.

Using rocksteady beats from the 1960s, Minott, Freddie McGregor and Willie
Williams led a Studio One revival One during the late 1970s. Among his songs for Dodd were the breakthrough Mr DC and Vanity.

Minott became a regular on mainstream radio in the early 1980s with rockers such as Herbman Hustling, Lovers Race and Dancehall Stylee. He also toured Japan, promoting the emerging dancehall culture.

In a 2003 interview, Minott said he was disappointed his career never took off internationally. He blamed that on poor management and un-professional record companies.

“Independent companies don’t market the artiste, they market the albums,” he said. “If yuh don’t have a label like a Virgin or a Columbia wey promote the artiste, then forget it.”


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