Thursday, July 15, 2010

Expired Sugar

Sugar Minott, one of the great original voices of reggae, died yesterday from yet to be determined cause(s).  His biggest song was a cover of a Jackson 5 song called "Good Thing Going".  (I first heard it on a compilation called "Heartbeat Reggae", which was one of my first CD purchases in 1986 when I decided to make the switch from vinyl).  I don't know that much about him, other than he was a jack-of-all-trades reggae singer, singing in the different idioms of reggae music including dancehall, lover's rock, and roots. Sugar wasn't associated with any great band of musicians...many big reggae artists became forever linked to a particular producer (such as Lee Perry) or rhythm section (such as Sly & Robbie) with whom they've had success.  Sugar began by working with Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, one of the seminal producers from Jamaica, but worked in many different styles, and was particularly influential in dancehall (a style I'm not fond of at all).  He did however have a great distinctive voice which will be missed.

The golden age of reggae (imho) was the mid-70's to the early 80's, when roots and lover's rock were the foundation of the music that such great singers as The Wailers, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, and Jacob Miller were making.  It stills hold up today, especially when compared to the garbage electronic and dancehall reggae that eventually took over in popularity.  If you go back and listen to the music made by groups like The Melodians, The Meditations, The Itals, Third World, and many more, you hear what authentic reggae sounds like, music that was based on a spiritual ideal, with positive messages...not to mention a wicked rhythm section.   

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