This photo of the lovely Blossom Lamb appeared in The Star newspaper on March 12, 1960. Blossom and her cousin, Louise Lamb, were popular jazz singers in Kingston during the mid-1950s and early 1960s. I featured the Lambs in my recent book, Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Jamaican Music, and here is that excerpt on these women who contributed to early Jamaican music. I would like to give credit to Michael Garnice, author of mentomusic.com, for helping me source some of this info on the Lambs, and give a shout-out to his new book, The Ultimate Guide to Great Reggae: The Complete Story of Reggae Told Through Its Greatest Songs, Famous and Forgotten published by Equinox. Check it out–it is a big one!
Louise and Blossom Lamb
Born in Kingston, Louise Lamb was a mento vocalist who married Carlton Morales and together they had three children, two sons and a daughter. One of those sons went on to play guitar for Julian Lennon [John Lennon’s son] in the 1980s, and the other son performed bass guitar, touring with his band in the U.S. and Norway. Blossom Lamb, Louise’s cousin, was born in Greenwich Town in Kingston. She was a pretty girl and won many beauty competitions. Her mother died when Blossom was just 13 years old so she grew up with her grandmother. At age 21, Blossom had her first child and shortly thereafter another, although she wasn’t married at the time which was controversial for her family. She did marry Clive Evans and had three more children. In total, she had three daughters and two sons. Louise and Clive, known to his friends and family as Jimmy, were married for 40 years before he died of a heart attack in 2000.
Louise and Blossom began performing either solo or together at locations around Kingston in the early 1940s. In 1944, Louise performed at the Ward Theatre with Miss Lou and others in the lineup. It was a show called “Hot Chocolate,” an all-star musical that she had performed in since 1940. In 1949 Louise performed at a club called the Wickie Wackie and was billed as “Louise Lamb, the Heptie-Hutie Song-bird. Hear her dramatize the dynamic and popular hit ‘Dont You Worry ‘Bout Dat Mule.’” It is unknown was a “Heptie-Hutie” is. Louise also performed with the Roy Coburn Orchestra, the Eric Deans Orchestra, and the Redver Cooke Orchestra. In 1953, Blossom Lamb,
who was described by the Jamaica Star as “a beautiful Indian girl with a sure manner at the microphone,” won the weekly amateur night contest at the Glass Bucket Club. That same year, Louise was described by the Jamaica Star as one of Jamaica’s leading female jazz singers. In 1956, the cousins performed together at the YWCA auditorium on North Street in Kingston, promoted by the Ivory Club, at a show called “Evening with the Lambs.” It was presented by the Jazz Committee and featured the Lambs along with Foggy Mullings on vocals and May Foster on piano. Blossom performed in 1957 for the Harold Forbes Show, backed up by Frankie Bonitto and the Rainbow Orchestra, and Louise recorded a number of mento songs for Stanley Motta in the late 1950s.
After meeting Martin Luther King Jr. on his visit to Jamaica in the 1960s when he stopped by Blossom’s craft stall at the souvenir market in Kingston, she struck up a conversation with him and invited him to their family home in Harbour View for fried fish and bammy. King asked her if she ever thought about hosting her own Mother of the Year award after he commented that she was a wonderful mother and should be a role model to other mothers. Encouraged, she began the contest in the early 1980s. She also owned her own store, Blossom’s Dollar Shop and Calypso Records stores.