jueves, 21 de noviembre de 2013



Prolific Jamaican musician who was a pioneer of dancehall reggae

The Jamaican reggae singer Sugar Minott, who has died unexpectedly aged 54, had a prolific solo career from the 1970s onwards. He scored his biggest hit with Good Thing Going, a cover version of a recording by Michael Jackson. Minott's single reached No 4 in the UK in 1981 and prompted a well-received follow-up album of the same name. Minott worked with many of Jamaica's leading producers, including Coxsone Dodd, Mikey Dread and Sly & Robbie, and also nurtured younger artists through his Black Roots label and his company Youthman Promotion.

He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and began working with local sound systems (groups of disc jockeys and MCs) before he reached his teens. "I started singing when I was about 12, in an amateur talent festival near where I lived in Maxfield Park in Kingston," he recalled. "I reached the final with two others, but didn't win. It gave me some encouragement to go on, really." He cited as his musical inspirations Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson and Dennis Brown.

After a stint as a selector with the Sound of Silence Keytone outfit, picking records for the sound system and "toasting" (chanting) over them, Minott teamed up with Derrick Howard and Tony Tuff to form the African Brothers, which gave him his first experience as a singer. The trio recorded for the Micron label as well as for their own Ital imprint, working with producers including Keith Weston, Winston "Merritone" Blake and Rupie Edwards.

In 1974 the African Brothers cut No Cup No Broke for Dodd's renowned Studio One, the pioneering black-owned music studio in the Caribbean. When the group split up shortly afterwards, Minott stayed on with Dodd and worked as a singer and guitarist at Studio One. He began recording his own singles, notching up successes with Vanity, Mr DC, House Is Not a Home and Hang On Natty, and followed these up with his first solo album, Live Loving, in 1978.

It was during this period that Minott earned a reputation as a pioneer of reggae's dancehall style, in which he would lay new vocal tracks over original 1960s backing tapes instead of using a live band. Other artists had done this in live performance, but Minott brought the technique into the recording studio, triggering a revolution in Jamaican music. His efforts helped to boost the fortunes of Studio One at a period when the company was reeling from the defection of artists such as John Holt and Alton Ellis to other labels.

After cutting a second album, Showcase (which made innovative use of electronic drums), Minott left Studio One in 1979 and formed his own label, Black Roots. He saw this as more than just a record company, as it was linked to Minott's Youth Promotion project, an organisation designed to "help youth from going through the same struggle as me".

Another 1979 album, Black Roots, generated two of Minott's biggest hits, Hard Time Pressure and River Jordan. Hard Time Pressure was a big success in the UK reggae charts, which prompted Minott to relocate to Britain for a time. In 1980, his Roots Lovers album found him leaning towards the more romantic, soulful sound of lovers' rock.

He returned to Jamaica to supervise his Youth Promotion operation, celebrating his return with a scintillating performance at 1983's Reggae Sunsplash festival. The dancehall music he had helped to create was going strong, and Minott released the Dancehall Showcase album. Music was pouring out of him: he cut several albums in the mid-80s, and also launched his own Youth Promotion sound system, which offered career opportunities to acts such as Ranking Joe, Captain Sinbad and Ranking Dread.

In 1986 he released Sugar & Spice, a collaboration with Sly & Robbie. In 1987 he teamed up with Gregory Isaacs for the Double Dose collection, which was followed by a further swath of releases including Ghetto Youth Dem Rising, Sugar Minott & Youth Promotion and the political concept album African Soldier. He also collaborated with the teen star Frankie Paul for Showdown Vol 2.

By the end of the 1980s, Black Roots had closed down and Minott's influence was beginning to fade. Nonetheless, he continued to deliver galvanising live performances, and his 1991 album Happy Together was a dramatic mix of musical styles. Further evidence that Minott still had some creative juice in the tank was provided by the albums Breaking Free (1994), produced by Tapper Zukie, Musical Murder (1997) and Easy Squeeze (1999). He could still deliver potent singles, too, such as Wah Them a Do (with Junior Reid) and Chow (with Shaggy).

Earlier this year Minott cancelled concerts in Canada after complaining of chest pains. He was due to perform in California later this week.

Minott is survived by his wife, Maxine Stowe.

• Sugar (Lincoln Barrington) Minott, musician and producer, born 25 May 1956; died 10 July 2010


Lincoln Barrington 'Sugar' Minott (25 de mayo de 1956 - 10 de julio de 2010) fue un cantante de reggae jamaicano y productor.


Sugar Minott se inició como selector en el sound system Sound of Silence Keystone. En 1969, empezó su carrera de cantante como miembro del grupo Africa Brothers con Tony Tuff y Derrick Howard. El grupo saca varios sencillos en la primera mitad de la década y se separa en 1974, poco después de grabar "No Cup No Broke" para Studio One.
Se asoció con el productor Clement Coxsone Dodd de Studio One y consigue sus primeros éxitos con títulos como «Vanity», «Oh Mr DC» y «Hang on Natty».
En 1979, su disco «Black Roots» y el título «Hard Time Pressure» tienen un gran éxito en Inglaterra, donde decide trasladarse para ayudar a desarrollar el reggae. Su sencillo «Good Thing Going» (versión de una canción de Michael Jackson) alcanzó el puesto n°4 en el UK Singles Chart en 1981. De vuelta en Jamaica, creó su propio sello Black Roots y su organización : Youth Promotion. Firmó a artistas como Garnet Silk, Barry Brown, Tristan Palmer, Tony Tuff o Junior Reid. Sacó con Sly & Robbie el sencillo "Rub a Dub Style Sound" en 1984, que está considerado como un prototipo del estilo Ragga que se desarrolló en los años 80.


Murió el 10 de julio de 2010, después de ser ingresado en el Hospital Universitario West Indies en St. Andrew.


Live Loving (1978, Studio One)
Showcase (1979, Studio One)
Bittersweet (1979, Ballistic)
Black Roots (1979, Black Roots/Island)
Ghetto-ology (1979, Trojan Records)
Roots Lovers (1980, Black Roots)
Give The People (1980, Ballistic)
African Girl (1981, Black Roots)
Good Thing Going (1981, RCA)
Dancehall Showcase (1983, Black Roots)
With Lots Of Extra (1983, Hitbound)
Herbman Hustling (1984, Black Roots)
Slice Of The Cake (1984, Black Roots)
Wicked a Go Feel It (1984, Wackies)
Leader For The Pack (1985, Striker Lee)
Rydim (1985, Greensleeves)
Time Longer Than Rope (1985, Greensleeves)
Inna Reggae Dance Hall (1986, Black Roots)
Sugar & Spice (1986, Taxi)
Jamming In The Streets (1987, Wackies)
African Soldier (1988, Black Roots)
Buy Off De Bar (1988, Sonic Sounds)
Sugar Minott & Youth Promotion (1988, NEC)
Lovers Rock Inna Dance Hall (1988, Youth Promotion)
Sufferers Choice (1988, Black Roots)
Ghetto Youth Dem Rising (1988, Black Roots)
The Boss Is Back (1989, RAS Records)
Ghetto Child (1989, Black Roots)
Smile (1990, L&M)
A Touch of Class (1991, Jammy's)
Happy Together (1991, Black Roots)
Run Things (1993, VP Records)
Breaking Free (1994, RAS)
Stir it Up (feat. Daddy Freddy) (1994, Music of Life)
International (1996, RAS)
Musical Murder (1997, VP)
Good Thing Going (1998, VP)
Easy Squeeze (1999, World)
Simply the Best (2000), World
From the Heart (2000), Blackwacks
Leave Out a Babylon (2005), Discograph
In A Lovers Roots Style (2008), Pinnacle
Tribute to Studio One (2009), Tad's
New Day (2009), Stop Look Listen

Albumes split

Rockers Award Winners (1985, Greensleeves Records) (Sugar Minott & Leroy Smart)
Double Dose (1987, Blue Mountain) (Sugar Minott & Gregory Isaacs)
Showdown Volume 2 (Channel One) (Sugar Minott & Frankie Paul)


With Lots of Extra (1983, Hitbound)
Best of Vol 1 (1988, Black Roots)
Collectors Collection Vol 1 (1996, Black Roots)
RAS Portrait (1997, RAS)
Sugar Minott's Hidden Treasures (1999, Easy Star)

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