Totlyn Jackson–First Lady of Jamaican Jazz

Totlyn Jackson, Star Newspaper, June 14, 1961. Caption reads, "Jamaica's Singer, Totlyn Jackson--pictured above with internationally-famous Jamaican entertainer Sagwa Bennett--scatting the ever-popular Mack the Knife at Round Hill Hotel, Montego Bay. Totlyn left Jamaica on Sunday for Bermuda by air en route to London where she expects to fill singing engagements. Whatever her turn of fortune, she expects to be back at Round Hill for the next winter tourist season."

Totlyn Jackson, Star Newspaper, June 14, 1961. The caption reads, “Jamaica’s Singer, Totlyn Jackson–pictured above with internationally-famous Jamaican entertainer Sagwa Bennett–scatting the ever-popular Mack the Knife at Round Hill Hotel, Montego Bay. Totlyn left Jamaica on Sunday for Bermuda by air en route to London where she expects to fill singing engagements. Whatever her turn of fortune, she expects to be back at Round Hill for the next winter tourist season.”

Totlyn Jackson is one of the leading ladies of Jamaican jazz, and beyond. She has an incredible vocal range and can scat with the best of them. Many may know her from her recent work with Basement Jaxx on the 2003 album Kish Kash. But Totlyn has had a long career that started in Jamaica before she moved in London where she still lives today.

Although I devote an entire chapter to Totlyn Jackson in my book, Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Jamaican Music, I recently came across these photos and articles on her when I was scouring the Star Newspaper on microfilm this summer–only four years have been preserved so hopefully the Gleaner, who owns these archives, will be able to fund digitizing all of them. I know they are in the process of making this a priority before the history crumbles forever, as these newspaper are in a very fragile condition at this point. But I digress.

Here is an excerpt from my book that gives a bit of background on Totlyn Jackson:

Totlyn Jackson was born in 1930 in a small village in Port Maria, St. Mary. Her father worked for the government so the family had a bit of status in their town, and their mother was a skilled dressmaker who took care of the home and raised Totlyn and her three siblings—sisters Claire and Peggy and brother Peploe. The family was extremely involved in the Hampstead Presbyterian Church and other social and civic organizations in the community so Totlyn had the opportunity to sing in the church choir and participate in Christmas and other holiday performances. Plus, there was an organ in the family home, so Totlyn taught herself to play and sing, and she also began taking piano lessons from a neighbor. She was born with a club foot which was aggravated by an operation in her childhood. As a result, she has always had a significant physical deformity but she has never let that slow her down.

When Totlyn was 19 years old she moved to Kingston after winning a scholarship to Lincoln College. It was an enormous change for Totlyn, moving from a small village where her family enjoyed social status, to an urban city where she was an unknown. She joined the choir at North Street Cathedral as a soprano and then, like many other talented vocalists and musicians, Totlyn decided to try her hand at the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour. Accompanied by Frankie Bonitto, Totlyn won by singing, “With a Song in My Heart.” She then entered a contest at the upscale Colony Club where Eric Deans led the orchestra.

In Myrna Hague’s article in the spring/summer 2009 issue of Wadabagei, Totlyn remembers, “Coming out of a church situation, I was wearing boots and socks and an inappropriate dress, but Eric [Deans] knew what he was doing with me. Eric had inherited a big band folio—we didn’t call it jazz—I didn’t know anything about jazz. I was treated as a curiosity but I didn’t know it then! . . . I began to work with Eric and was making a name for myself at the Bournemouth Club every Friday where I came into my own. When Lester left, many of his abandoned musicians joined the Eric Deans band including Don Drummond, Brevett, and Lloyd Knibb. He [Lloyd Knibb] never had the hang-ups like Brevett and Don Drummond; Drummond and I never spoke more than ten sentences; he had his anger and stuff that he did—I was never a part of what was going on. I was the only full-time professional singer; the others were part-time with daytime jobs. Friday nights at the Bournemouth and Sonny’s [Bradshaw] got in touch with me for the first big band concert at the Ward; by this time everyone thought of me as a jazz singer because of this concert, and I could sight-read, so I was easy to work with.”

From the Star Newspaper, February 23, 1962. Caption reads, "Back in the island for a holiday since Sunday after stints in London and Bermuda night clubs is Jamaica sweetheart of jazz and blues, Totlyn Jackson who makes an appearance at Flamingo Hotel at 11.30 tomorrow night. Totlyn, who is currently engaged at Bermuda's leading night club, Jungle Room, spent three months in London appearing at the Stork Room, among other spots. She says that while in London she met tenor saxophonist little 'G' McNair whom she affirms is 'just gone with his sounds.' Tonight's show will be Totlyn's only one in the island as she leaves on Sunday for Bermuda. Music tonight will be supplied by Charlie Binger's Band."

From the Star Newspaper, February 23, 1962. Caption reads, “Back in the island for a holiday since Sunday after stints in London and Bermuda night clubs is Jamaica sweetheart of jazz and blues, Totlyn Jackson who makes an appearance at Flamingo Hotel at 11.30 tomorrow night. Totlyn, who is currently engaged at Bermuda’s leading night club, Jungle Room, spent three months in London appearing at the Stork Room, among other spots. She says that while in London she met tenor saxophonist little ‘G’ McNair whom she affirms is ‘just gone with his sounds.’ Tonight’s show will be Totlyn’s only one in the island as she leaves on Sunday for Bermuda. Music tonight will be supplied by Charlie Binger’s Band.”

Totlyn Jackson also performed at the Bournemouth Beach Club with Lester Hall’s Orchestra featuring Don Drummond and she frequently sang with Baba Motta’s Band, the Zodiacs, Sonny Bradshaw’s Orchestra, and Herman Lewis and the Glass Bucket Band. She performed in a show at the Carib Theatre on February 5, 1966 with the son of Frank Sinatra, the 18-piece Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and the Caribs. She even performed for Prime Minister Norman Manley’s birthday on July 3, 1956, singing a song composed for him by Frank Clarice of Little London in Westmoreland that moved Manley to tears. Her only recording on the island was for W.I.R.L—“Island in the Sun” with the B side “Yellow Bird” in 1963 with the Audley Williams Combo.

From the Daily News Thursday June 7,1973. Courtesy Roberto Moore.

From the Daily News Thursday June 7,1973. Courtesy Roberto Moore.


In the mid-1950s, Totlyn frequently sang with another jazz vocalist who predated her career—Julian Iffla. Iffla had been singing in Kingston clubs since the late 1949s and also performed with orchestras of the day including Eric Deans, Baba Motta, Sonny Bradshaw, George Moxey, Frankie Bonitto, and Lester Hall with Don Drummond. Iffla also performed in musicals and pantomime and was billed as “Velvet Voiced.”

While Totlyn’s life was beginning to thrive in Kingston, her family’s life back in Port Maria was crumbling. Her mother and father split up and her mother came to stay with Totlyn. But Totlyn had been living in the home of one of her professors at Lincoln College as part of the scholarship arrangement and her mother couldn’t live there. So Totlyn moved her fractured family into the home of Joe Issa, owner of Issa’s department store. “One day my two sisters and brother arrived, because Dada said that if I was big enough to look after Mama, I could look after them too,” she said in Myrna Hague’s article. Hague comments, “Her father was probably resentful of her [Totlyn’s] show of independence, and because of whatever had gone on between her mother and him, he no longer wanted them or perhaps responsibility of them.”


Soon, Totlyn had yet another family member to care for while balancing her career. She met an advertising executive from New York on his travels to the island when he came to Glass Bucket Club for one of her performances. “I eventually became pregnant. I didn’t want to get married. I had seen how unhappy these wives were, including my mother. I wondered, ‘Should I have this child?’ There was no one to ask this kind of intimate question,” she says in Hague’s article. But she did have the child, a son named Franz. His father, Jack Conroy, the ad executive, died in a car accident shortly before he was born. Totlyn never married—not then, not ever. But she did have her share of boyfriends. “That’s where I met my contacts and my boyfriends,” said Totlyn to Myrna Hague of her time singing at the Glass Bucket Club. “I wanted a first-class life and so what I needed was people who could take me onto that plateau, to take me up.”

One of those boyfriends who took her career up was a man named Michael Rouse and she left Jamaica to go to London with him in 1960. She also left her son to be raised by her mother. “I went to London to join him [Michael Rouse] when he offered to handle my career, and then he became a fully-fledged impresario who was handling people like Juliet Greco, Los Paraguayos, Gilbert Becaud, Miriam Makeba, and others of that ilk. We eventually broke up because he couldn’t sell me and I resented that. When I complained he said that he loved me too much. I thought that was crap but friends said that it was possible because he was afraid of losing me. . . . He couldn’t or wouldn’t arrange a tour for me. He was not a very good businessman,” Totlyn told Myrna Hague.

You can read more about Totlyn and her career in my book, but suffice to say that she has had a long and successful career in London. Below are a few clips of Totlyn Jackson performing in recent years. She’s still got it!!

Here’s a video of Totlyn Jackson performing a tune with Basement Jaxx to get you in the mood for Christmas!

Amateur footage of Totlyn Jackson performing in 2011, scat-a-lat-a-dong-dong!


Basement Jaxx with Totlyn Jackson, “Supersonic.”

Here is a link to Myrna Hague’s brilliant article about Totlyn Jackson, which begins on page 40:

Don Drummond in the Mid-1950s

My friend Roberto Moore, a researcher and historian who lives in Kingston, was generous to send me a few clips related to Don Drummond from Star Newspaper archives from the mid-1950s. I asked him if I could share these on my blog and he kindly said yes, so here are the fruits of his labor.

From the Star Newspaper, October 26, 1956. Sonny Bradshaw's "Batman" column.

From the Star Newspaper, October 26, 1956. Sonny Bradshaw’s “Batman” column. Courtesy of Roberto Moore.

First is this clip from the Star Newspaper on October 26, 1956 in the “Batman” column, which is Sonny Bradshaw. Bradshaw writes, “Don Drummond, ace-trombonist is now selling insurance by day.” I had heard this over the years and was never able to confirm it and I find this instance of it in print intriguing. As I discussed with Roberto, Drummond would have recently left Bradshaw’s band in 1956, so Bradshaw is not what the journalism world would call impartial here. He may have a bias, who knows. Is Bradshaw kind of sticking it to Drummond? How long did this venture last and was it really a foray into a new line of work and why would he pursue this at this point in his life? Who knows, but it should be viewed in context, and it is quite a thought to entertain, Drummond in his suit and boogas, briefcase in hand, peddling paperwork, as Roberto and I mused.

From the Star Newspaper, December 17, 1957. Courtesy of Roberto Moore.

From the Star Newspaper, December 17, 1957. Courtesy of Roberto Moore.

Drummond’s day job was likely short lived, if it ever did amount to anything, because as this clip shows from December 17, 1957, Drummond was back center stage for Jazz at the Carib performing with Sonny Bradshaw. Here is a better photo of the one pictured above in the article.

Jazz at the Carib 1957.

Jazz at the Carib 1957. Caption reads: Jazz ‘57 at the Carib Theater last Wednesday night, presented the cream of the island’s progressive jazz musicians. Led by trumpeter band director Sonny Bradshaw extreme right, these instrumentalists collaborate on one of the several hits of the evening. Taking the other solo, third from left is trombonist Don Drummond. Next to him, Johnny Lawes (?) on bass. At the back of the bandstand Kenny Williams plays drums, and at the piano is Aubrey Adams. Jerome Walters, on bongos second from right completes the combo.


The article, written by Hartley Neita, reads: The 1957 edition of the jazz concert at the Carib last Wednesday night proved to be the best of this series so far. It contained three hours of music that never failed to entertain and excite, and unlike the two previous editions all the arrangements ran smoothly.

As usual the show was divided into three sections. The first introduced the Jamaica concert orchestra and began with the jazz concert anthem “Jump for Joe,” patterned after Stan Kenton’s arrangement, and it served as a background for MC Fred Wilmot’s introduction of the members of the orchestra.

Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” opened the program, and conductor Sonny Bradshaw’s variation of the tune served notice of great things to come. Immediately after this time, there were two relaxing songs by Buddy Eigner. His first song, “You Make Me Feel So Young,” seemed somewhat lifeless, but his second, “My Funny Valentine” was Buddy at his great best.

The concert orchestra’s interpretation of Woody Herman’s “Four Brothers” was lively but the sax section sounded light owing to the absence of a baritone voicing to give it depth. “A Night in Jamaica” was the next offering, and original composed and arranged by trombonist Carlos Malcolm. Incidentally, Carlos was the hit of the show in that in his scoring was evident in a number of the arrangements played by the Orchestra in the vocal group, the Hi-Fis.

Totlyn Jackson’s “Over the Rainbow” was done in a very professional manner as was her “From this Moment On.” Totlyn has improved in her stage presence but I wonder whether this professional approach is not countered by a sacrificial subjection of the true beauty of her voice.

The second section of the show featured the sounds of the small group’s “heart of jazz.” Baba Motta’s Glass Bucket Band started things sailing with three sections. His “In Bond” was a perfect example of improvised counterpoint in jazz.

Sheila Rickard, a fourteen-year-old girl singer, surprised the audience with a grown-up, first rate interpretation of “Moonlight in Vermont” and a snappy “I Got Rhythm.” Sheila will be Jamaica’s next big singer and in the years to come will successfully take the place now occupied by Totlyn Jackson and Louise Lamb.

The UCWI Trio led by Lee Johnson of Antigua on piano with Sydney Christian of St. Kitts on bass and our own (non-UC student) Ken Williams on drums gave three well received items, the best of which was their interpretation of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s famous classic “Django.” The UC Trio also accompanied Young Satchmo in his three parodies of which “Standard” was a showstopper.

As I expected the Lennie Hibbert Quintet featuring Aubrey Adams on piano was a delight. Theirsecond offering, Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are” was played with plenty of soul and feeling and their arrangement earned plenty of applause from an extremely well behaved audience. Their third piece was a Sonny Bradshaw composition and arrangement, “Profile,” which is a tune that could have a world market and which was brilliantly played by the quintet.

Tthe Hi-Fi’s deserve a whole article for themselves. They are by far the best vocal group in Jamaica at present and I would suggest that their leader and arranger Carlos Malcolm include in his album some arrangements of Jamaican songs. It is an exciting quartet!

Happily the Simms and Robinson Rock ‘n Roll duo did not appear on the show as they did not attend any rehearsals. But I do not think their absence was felt, and the success of the show without any rock ‘n roll overtones certainly suggests that this type of innocuous music has not completely captivated the Jamaican public. 


From the same Star Newspaper, December 17, 1957.

From the same Star Newspaper, December 17, 1957.

Here is another photo that ran in that same newspaper. The caption reads, “The Message–from trombonist Don Drummond called his own composition and arrangement played in Jazz ’57 at the Carib theatre last night, and from the appreciative reception accorded the piece, there was no doubt that the message came across. He is seen here as he swings that slide, accompanied by (left to right) Jerome Walters (bongos), Aubrey Adams (piano), Lennie Hibbert (vibes), and at the back of the dais, Kenny Williams (drums) and Johnny Lawes (bass). Jazz ’57 was well received by the big crowd which braved last night’s chilly winds to hear the cream of the island’s jazz artists present at this year’s jazz jam.

I write about that song, “The Message,” in my book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist. It was a song that made crowds go wild. Below is a better resolution of the photo above.

Jazz '57 from the Star Newspaper, December 17, 1957.

Jazz ’57 from the Star Newspaper, December 17, 1957.

Calypso Contest and the Jolly Boys

The Jolly Boys

The Jolly Boys–A Recent Publicity Photo

The Jolly Boys have experienced a rebirth in recent years, perhaps due in part to their calypso coverage of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” which is a spirited and novel rendition. I especially love their calypso cover of Iggy Pop’s “Passenger.” It is said that their name was given was given to them by Errol Flynn since they frequently played for his shin-digs in Port Antonio. I don’t pretend to know much about the Jolly Boys, but I do want to share here two articles that I recently found in the Star Newspaper that are related to the Jolly Boys. One is an advertisement for a Calypso Band Contest sponsored by Wray & Nephew from the Star on June 19, 1962. The Jolly Boys entered this contest and performed quite well, as evidenced in the next article I found.

From the Star Newspaper, June 19, 1962.

From the Star Newspaper, June 19, 1962.


On July 17, 1962, the Star Newspaper wrote in an article titled, “Jolly Boys Top Calypso Contest,” their success was profiled. The article stated, “Port Antonio, Saturday. A large crowd turned out at Delmar Theatre Wednesday night last when the J. Wray & Nephew Calypso Band Elimination All Island Contest was staged. The Wray & Nephew band, led by Trenton Spence, entertained with many numbers then the artistes—Kid Harold who received a big hand from the audience, Herbert Russell and his partner thrilled all who watch them go through their acrobatic dancing and marveled at the precision of the team, Lascelles Perkins whose magnificent voice was heard to good advantage, and Annette Clarke—all entertained the audience prior to the more serious part of the programme. Two bands entered the contest which was judged for appearance, delivery, musical technique, and the lyric and rhythm for a Wray & Nephew Calypso for Independence. Mr. Jimmy Cashman, the firm’s representative, was master of ceremonies, and the judges for the contest were Messrs. Mortimer Geddes, Headmaster of Titchfield School, G. P. Eubanks, deputy supt. of Police, and Miss C. N. Grant. It was a keen contest between the two bands and resulted in the Jolly Boys taking the edge over Jamaica Reef Calypso Band. It was a proud team consisting of Noel Lynch, bandleader, Moses Deans, Martel Brown, Derrick Henry, Alexander Brown, who came on stage to receive the judges report. The Jolly Boys won £25 prize for the eliminations and they will compete at the finals to be held at the Ward Theater in Kingston on Thursday 19th of July. Cartons of rum were donated to each judge, to the Rev. Father Gardiner Gibson, SJ who congratulated the winners, and the leaders of both the contesting bands by Mr. Cashman on behalf of the company. The grand finals will be held in Kingston on Thursday next (July 19).”


From the Star Newspaper, July 17, 1962.

From the Star Newspaper, July 17, 1962.


Here’s another advertisement that ran in the Daily Gleaner on the day of the big event, July 19, 1962:

From the Daily Gleaner, July 19, 1962.

From the Daily Gleaner, July 19, 1962.

I can’t find any article or write-up on who won this contest, but I did find a few more articles and advertisements for the Jolly Boys, which I post here.


From the Daily Gleaner, September 30, 1967.

From the Daily Gleaner, September 30, 1967.


From the Daily Gleaner, March 3, 1964.

From the Daily Gleaner, March 3, 1964.


From the Daily Gleaner, April 11, 1977.

From the Daily Gleaner, April 11, 1977.


And here is an article on mento which features The Jolly Boys written by Roy Black.

From the Jamaica Gleaner, February 12, 2012.

From the Jamaica Gleaner, February 12, 2012.


To hear a little of the Jolly Boys, check these links out to three of my favorite songs.

Here are the original members, or a few of them, recorded in 1989 with No Rice, No Peas, No Coconut Oil:




The Passenger:

Blue Monday:




A Young Sister Ignatius

When we see photos or even some video of Sister Mary Ignatius Davies, we typically only see her in her later years, frail, old, in her habit. But I recently found a photo of Sister Iggy from 1940 when she was just 19 years old. The photo appears in Sister Mary Bernadette Little’s massive book, You Did It Until Me: The Story of Alpha and the Sisters of Mercy in Jamaica. The book is full of wonderful information, although very few of its more than 500 pages are devoted to the music program at Alpha. Instead, it is a book more on the Sisters, and rightly so, since Little herself was a member of the Sisters of Mercy and a principal at Alpha Academy for 30 years. She died last year.


Sister Mary Ignatius Davies in 1940, from Sister

Sister Mary Ignatius Davies in 1940, from Sister Mary Bernadette Little’s book, You Did It Until Me: The Story of Alpha and the Sisters of Mercy in Jamaica.


I also included a photo of Sister Ignatius in my book, Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Jamaican Music that pictured her in March, 1984 when she traveled to New York and saw snow for the first time. Here she is pictured on the right with Sister Mary Theresa, and this photo was graciously given to me by Charles Simpson, an Alpha Old Boy who is still very involved with the school.

Photo courtesy of Charles Simpson.

Photo courtesy of Charles Simpson.

Simpson was a student at Alpha Boys School from 1953 to 1960 and a trombonist in the band. Although we know Sister Iggy’s affinity for music and nurturing musical affinity in her boys, she also encouraged young athletes, says Simpson. “The ability about her, and maybe why she is loved by all the boys, is that if boxing is going on, she’ll be a part of it. She would put on her gloves while in her habit. She was never in any other thing but her habit. Earlier in the day it was black and white, full black all the way down to the ankles and shoes. They had a white breast plate that ran across the chest. She was always playing. She was a complete sports person. She was a fan of the great Sugar Ray Robinson and they were pen pals. She was a tremendous cricket fan. She loved Collie Smith and love Garry Sobers, but when it came to cricket, Collie Smith was her favorite,” says Simpson. He says that as a result, the school excelled at sports like cricket, boxing, soccer, and baseball, winning many national championships. She nurtured a number of Jamaican boxing champions that came from Alpha including Alan Harmon, Roy Lee, and Kid Bassey and soccer player Owen “Ital Stew” Stewart. She founded a baseball and cricket associations for the private school league. “The boys know me because I talk to them a lot about sports and other things,” said Sister Ignatius. She also had a love for world affairs, reading, and history and she was especially fond of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jomo Kenyatta.

Satchmo, Girl Satchmo, and Jamaica

I had the pleasure of attending the annual Chicago Architecture Foundation’s open house on October 17th and visited a number of fascinating sites, but none as incredible as the site of the former Sunset Cafe. According to the WBEZ website (that’s Chicago’s National Public Radio station), “The Sunset Cafe, also known as The Grand Terrace Cafe, was a jazz club in Chicago, Illinois operating during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. It was one of the most important jazz clubs in America, especially during the period between 1917 and 1928 when Chicago became a creative capital of jazz innovation and again during the emergence of bebop in the early 1940s. From its inception, the club was a rarity as a haven from segregation, since the Sunset Cafe was an integrated or “Black and Tan” club where Afro- and Euro- Americans, along with other ethnicities, could mingle freely without much fear of reprisal. Owned by Louis Armstrong’s manager, Joe Glaser, the venue played host to such performers as Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Johnny Dodds, Bix Beiderbecke, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa and, above all, Earl “Fatha” Hines and his orchestra’s members: Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughan.”

As I stepped up into the area that is now the manager’s office at the Ace Hardware that inhabits the building, I realized that this was the stage, the exact same stage where Satchmo had performed, along with these other jazz heroes and heroines. Chills. Here are a few photos that show what it looks like today. The original artwork that appeared on the back of the stage wall is still there, although it has been covered in places with fixtures, like a vent and cabinetry.

Meyers Ace Hardware, site of the Sunset Cafe at 315 E. 35th Street in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. Photo by Heather Augustyn.

Meyers Ace Hardware, site of the Sunset Cafe at 315 E. 35th Street in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Photo by Heather Augustyn.


A painting on the back wall of the stage at the former Sunset Cafe. Shadow is from a cabinet that obscures the rest of the painting. Photo by Heather Augustyn.


A painting on the back wall of the stage at the former Sunset Cafe. Photo by Heather Augustyn.

A painting on the back wall of the stage at the former Sunset Cafe. Photo by Heather Augustyn.

A painting on the back wall of the stage at the former Sunset Cafe. Photo by Heather Augustyn.

A painting on the back wall of the stage at the former Sunset Cafe. Photo by Heather Augustyn.

A painting on the back wall of the stage at the former Sunset Cafe. Photo by Heather Augustyn.

A painting on the back wall of the stage at the former Sunset Cafe. Photo by Heather Augustyn.

A painting on the back wall of the stage at the former Sunset Cafe. Photo by Heather Augustyn.

There was also a large sign in the front of the store that they had removed from storage for the open house, a sign that advertised the brunch at the Grand Terrace, which was the second incarnation of the Sunset Cafe. My jaw dropped when I saw the musical performer advertised as Sun Ra. I asked the docents on duty at the site, but they had no idea who Sun Ra even was! Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount (he wasn’t known as Sun Ra until 1952), settled on Chicago’s South Side in 1946. He performed at “Chicago clubs such as Kirk’s Grand Terrace, the Vincennes Lounge, Parkway Ballroom and Budland,” according to the University of Chicago.


sun ra

Advertisement for Sun Ra from the Grand Terrace in Chicago, circa late 1940s. Photo by Heather Augustyn.


Anyway, back to Satchmo. Having just combed through Star Newspaper archives all summer long, and having written about Girl Satchmo (Kentris Fagan) for Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Jamaican Music, I thought about Louis Armstrong in Jamaica. I knew he had performed on the stages in Kingston and throughout Jamaica, just as he had on this stage in Chicago, although in Chicago his manager owned this stage so Satchmo was more of a regular here instead of a visiting musician. I went back through some of my records and found that Satchmo indeed did visit Jamaica, a number of times, and because Satchmo was born in New Orleans, and Jamaicans were able to receive radio transmissions from New Orleans radio stations on a clear night, and because jazz was prevalent throughout Jamaican clubs, Satchmo was very popular in Jamaica. His films, like High Society, were screened at theaters like the Rialto.

When Satchmo first visited Jamaica in 1957, it was big news. The Daily Gleaner ran stories on his every move–when he came into Palisadoes Airport, where he would appear, etc. He stated in the article below, “I have met several Jamaican musicians in the United States and it’s a pleasure to be here.” One of the greeters at the airport was none other than Ken Khouri of Federal Records.

Jamaica Gleaner, May 17, 1957

Daily Gleaner, May 17, 1957

From the Daily Gleaner, May 17, 1957.

Daily Gleaner, May 17, 1957.


satchmo may 17 1957

Advertisement for Satchmo, Daily Gleaner, May 15, 1957.

Satchmo and his wife Lucille were greeted by the mayors of Kingston and Montego Bay, gossip columnist Kitty Kingston revealed that he was serenaded at the airport by a calypso band and hounded by fans for autographs at the Myrtle Bank Hotel where he stayed, and after his last performance during his 1957 visit, the ambassadors to the American consulate on the island, gave him a private party at their Barbican Heights home.

That calypso band who regaled Satchmo with Caribbean tunes? None other than Lord Tanamo and Count Lasher!

satchmo tanamo

Satchmo returned to Jamaica in 1960 to perform again, and he always remained popular.

Daily Gleaner, January 17, 1960.

Daily Gleaner, January 17, 1960.

When Louis Armstrong died, it was front page news in Jamaica.

Daily Gleaner, July 7, 1971.

Daily Gleaner, July 7, 1971 with front page article “Louis Armstrong is dead.”


It was in 1962 in London that Louis Armstrong met Girl Satchmo, Kentris Fagan, but it wasn’t the first time. A caption in the Star Newspaper on June 28m, 1962 beneath a photo of the two together states, “Satchmo and his girl imitator: In London last month for a Daily Mirror party, world-famous entertainer Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong meets for the second time the only known female imitator of his unique style of singing. Jamaican-born Kentris (Girl Satchmo) Fagan is all smiles as they pose for the camerman. First meeting was in Jamaica in 1957 when Kentris was emerging from Mr. and Mrs. Vere Johns “Opportunity Hour” and “Opportunity Knocks” shows. She has been very successful in England and on the Continent and her records have been smash hits. Kentris expects to be in Jamaica for the Independence Celebrations.”


From the Star Newspaper, June 28, 1962.

From the Star Newspaper, June 28, 1962.

You can read all about Girl Satchmo in my book. She was quite a phenomenon and after her career imitating Satchmo, she used her vocal abilities to record a number of gospel records. Here’s a small excerpt:

In the late 1960s, Girl Satchmo then turned to a different label for her recordings and she partnered with Tommy McCook and the Supersonics for producer Duke Reid on Treasure Isle in Jamaica, and Fab and Trojan in the U.K. The songs, “I’m Coming Home” and “Take You For a Ride,” still featured her gravely growl that punctuated her natural singing style. But Girl Satchmo was more than a novelty act—she had real talent, real business acumen, and a real conversion. In 1971 she founded her own record label, Kangaroo, and released her own single, “Crazy But Good” as Girl Satchmo and Reggae Kings. She produced the song as well. The same year she put out the song “I Found Out Pt. 1” with the B side, “I Found Out Pt. 2” as Girl Satchmo which she also produced.
Girl Satchmo toured Germany and had immigrated to England by the end of the 1960s. She had been traveling there since the mid-1960s when Vere Johns paid her way to England since she was very close with Johns and his wife. She once wrote them a letter saying, “Thanks to you and Mrs. Johns for all I am today. You brought me up and made me an artiste.” Girl Satchmo traveled back and forth between England and Jamaica to perform. She performed in London at the St. Pancras Town Hall and numerous nightclubs, but she returned to Jamaica in the early 1970s as noted in a Daily Gleaner article on August 1, 1971 with the headline “Girl Satchmo for Independence jump up.”

Margarita Dreams of Stardom

margarita vere johns jr.

Anita Mahfood, stage name Margarita, had aspirations of one day traveling to the United States to pursue a career in show business, according to her sister Conchita. Here is a photo from the Star Newspaper in 1961 that shows Margarita in her attempt to fulfill her dream of life on the stage. She was not only a rhumba dancer, but she was an actress as well and a performer extraordinaire. Here she rehearses for a performance with Vere Johns Jr., son of Vere Johns and Lucille Johns who were not only both impressarios of the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour (the talent show that launched so many musical and comedy careers on the island), but were actors themselves. This caption reads, “Money Talks Soldier–The curvesome Margarita (noted Jamaican dancer) and Vere Johns Jr., American-born son of Mr. and Mrs. Vere Johns, have teamed to form the latest dancing combination. They are here seen rehearsing the sequence entitled ‘The G.I. and the Girl.’ Junior served three years in the U.S. Armed Forces.”

It wasn’t the first time that Vere Johns Jr. and Margarita had teamed up for performances with a Vere Johns Production. The following advertisement ran in the Daily Gleaner on April 1, 1956 for the Vere Johns Production of “Easter Frolics” where Margarita is billed as the “shimmy-shaking bombshell” and Vere Johns Jr. appears in the same performance.

margarita april 1 56

That Christmas season, Margarita also performed during a Vere Johns Production with Vere Johns Jr. in “Xmas Morning Revels” and the two performed a “Rock and Roll” scene.

margarita dec 24 1956

In fact, Margarita was so much a part of the Vere Johns Production team, she played the role of a dance club dancer in the documentary, “It Can Happen to You,” which was filmed by the Jamaica Film Unit in the 1950s. In the film, which I was finally able to find last year after many years of searching, Margarita tastefully dances the rhumba in a costume full of ruffles that she herself designed and sewed, and among her are bar patrons enjoying the band and dance. One of the main extras in the film is none other than Lucille Johns herself. Below is a photo of Vere and Lucille Johns, who is wearing the same dress in which she appears in the film.

vere johns and lucille johns

Vere and Lucille Johns.


The following is an excerpt from my book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist: [Margarita] began dancing at clubs all over Kingston and she made her own costumes since she was skilled at sewing. Faye Chin says, “We danced together. We were in a group on stage. She used to do rumba; I do creative dancing, limbo dancing. It’s Alan Ivanhoe Dance Troupe I was in. She was an individual dancer and whenever they’re having performance like pantomimes or the theater used to have opportunity hour, she would dance there. She was a terrific dancer and she taught herself to dance. We became friends and we really became close and we were friends for a long long time until she passed.” Saxophonist Herman “Woody” King knew Margarita in those early days and says the clubs were her calling. “She was a great rumba dancer. The clubs would want her. Of course she had to go. That’s how she earned her living and she enjoyed it too,” King says.
Margarita always began her dance the same way with the same air of anticipation, the ultimate show-woman. As the spotlight hits one spot on the center of the dance floor, the music begins and Margarita is in the corner of the room, out of view. She saunters to the center, ruffles rushing through the tables of men, women, who turn their heads to see her passage to the light. When she comes into full view, the rhythms of the drums at their height, the audience is captivated, fully immersed in her powerful magic. She was auditioning for her dream. One day she wanted to dance on the stages in the United States, but she had to make a name for herself.

Margarita performed with the same circuit of performers, as did most Kingston entertainers of the day. She first met Don Drummond in the 1950s at the Bournemouth Club when they appeared on the same bill together. Ads appear in the Daily Gleaner in June, 1955 for Drummond and “Marguerita (Rhumba Dancer)” together on the same bill with others, including Pam Pam & Gloria, jitterbug dancers, with whom Margarita frequently performed. Margarita performed at the Ward Theatre, Club Havana, Club Baby Grand, Club Adastra, Carib Theatre, Glass Bucket, Rialto Theatre, Ritz Theater, and Queens Theatre, among others where she frequently received top billing. She played the role of a dance club dancer in the documentary, “It Can Happen to You,” which was filmed by the Jamaica Film Unit in the 1950s. On November 23, 1955 she performed in a show called the “Sundown Serenade” at the Ritz Theater with Bim & Bam, Danny Hyacinth Clover, Wonder Brothers and Did & Don’t. This type of billing with a theme for the show was a common feature for clubs in an attempt to attract tourists. Another was at the Ward Theatre on Christmas morning 1959 for a show called “Chrismania” which featured, among others, The Jiving Juniors, Lascelles Perkins, and music by Ken Williams and his Club Havana Orchestra. She also performed that same morning at the Carib Theatre for a show called “Xmas Morning Revels” featuring a similar line up with the addition of Vere Johns and Mrs. Vere Johns, music by Frankie Bonitto and his Orchestra. Artists frequently performed in multiple shows all over the city for Christmas. The clubs themselves also tried to capture themes, and Club Havana, where Margarita frequently performed, advertised itself as “Jamaica’s Latin Quarter.”

Dance the Hully Gully

Before the dance known as The Ska, there was The Hully Gully. It was a time of dances, Land of 1000 Dances, dances like the Twist, the Mashed Potato, the Pony, the Frug, the Jerk, and others. It was in this era that The Ska was created by Ronnie Nasralla, of which I have extensively written on this blog. But the Hully Gully got plenty of attention in Jamaica newspapers, including this article from the Star Newspaper, April 6, 1962.

From the Star Newspaper, April 6, 1962.

From the Star Newspaper, April 6, 1962.

The article reads: “Not since the gay Twenties of the Charleston have there been so many new dance steps. The twist is still raining supreme in popularity, but now somebody has come up with the new dance craze the Holly Gully, also known as the continental. Reason for the name nobody knows, but the dance is just zany. Like the twist, partners don’t touch each other, unlike the twist the Holly Gully requires group dancing and its followers say much much more coordination than the twist. A group of Hully Gullists as they are called form a line facing in the same direction and to the shouts of a caller goes through the movements – strange movements with equally strange names. They dance to such shouts as “Spank the Baby,” “Marilyn Monroe,” “Fidel Castro,” “Slop,” etc. etc. etc.
In the Marilyn Monroe the dancers really get into an imitation of the famed body shaker, complete with throwing the head back and twisting the hips. For the Fidel Castro dancers do an imitation of carrying a gun and plucking a chicken at the same time; don’t ask me why.
It makes for a lot of gyration, and those who like it say a lot of fun too.
Historians of the Hully Gully say it all started at a New York nightspot called Small’s Paradise; and the dance has been getting the place some priceless publicity. It has been the subject of a feature spread in the noted London publication, the Sunday Telegraph, and the television crew of the British Broadcasting Corporation filmed the dance for showing to audiences in Britain. Followers of the Hully Gully say that like the Twist the dance is not only catching on all over these United States but has gone abroad to the Caribbean and Europe. One good thing about the Hully Gully, they say, is that you can learn it in no time. It is danced to the usual rock ‘n roll music; and all you have to do is follow the leader. Hully Gullists predict that because the dance requires more discipline and skill than the Twist it will eventually appeal to the more sophisticated and that they predict will certainly get it on the road to surpassing the Twist. Twist fans on the other hand are saying the “Twist is here to stay.” But we’ll see! The dance originators seem to be thinking up new steps and new dances every day – or rather every night.”


The Star newspaper on November 9, 1961 ran a full-page spread on the Hully Gully in Jamaica, with Alphanso Castro, better known as Boysie, photographed doing the dance. He still dances today, of course, and can really cut a rug! Text from the article’s captions are below.

From the Star Newspaper, November 9, 1961.

The Hully Gully, latest dance craze in Jamaica, is danced in a line – somewhat like the Madison. Jazz trumpeter Sonny Bradshaw, who runs JBC’s Teenage Dance Party, says that the Hully Gully originated in the U.S.A. but that Jamaicans have given their own names to the various steps of the dance as performed here. A caller is used for the dance steps of which are named Frank Sinatra, Madison, Yankee Doodle, Billy the Kid, Marilyn Monroe, Baseball, Skittles, and Freeze (end of dance.) Bradshaw says music for the Hully Gully is two-beat and that it is danced to slower blues numbers. Most of the steps are a sort of drag-shuffle. Illustrating positions of the dance on this page are five members of JBC’s Teenage Dance Party.



The Frank Sinatra: weight on right foot which is turned out; left foot forward, heel slightly touching the ground. Lennie puts his clenched right fist in front of the body and the left fist slightly to the left and forward above his head.



Castro, another member of teenage dance party, shows the position called the Marilyn Monroe: legs apart and toes turned out, left hand on hip and raised right arm parallel with the body and bent 45° at the elbow.



The dance ends with the Freeze, performed here by Pat and Trevor. Trevor’s position is almost the same as Castro’s in the Monroe movement.



Sandy, Pat and Lennie from left demonstrate the Yankee Doodle in which all the weight is thrown on the left foot as the hands are clapped under the upraised right leg.

Margarita–Ambassador of Reggae



I have long continued the argument that Margarita was a champion, an ambassador, of the Rasta drumming that would go on to become the foundation for the reggae rhythm, and without her, it is possible that reggae would not be the same today. I have found now evidence in the Star Newspaper that furthers this argument.

In my book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the Greatest Trombonist, I write: Her relationship with the brothers and sisters in the hills was strong, and so when she performed one time on stage, she refused to dance without the accompaniment of Count Ossie and his group, which were once known as the Rastafarian Repatriation Association of Adastra Road in Eastern Kingston and later became known as The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. Verena Reckord writes, “The group got its first legitimate stage break in the late fifties. It was an occasion when the late, famous rhumba queen Marguerita (Mahfood) insisted that she would not appear on a Vere Johns variety show (Opportunity Knocks) at the Ward Theatre on Christmas morning unless Ossie’s group was on the bill. Johns was wary then about using Rastas on his show, but Marguerita was his star attraction. He had no choice. Count Ossie and his drummers were hired. They were a hit. They soon became regulars on Vere Johns’ show and other functions.” Margarita was the one who introduced Rasta music into mainstream culture, as well as the jazz musicians who accompanied them which is why Miller calls her a “seminal figure in the island’s musical and cultural growth.” In Helene Lee’s work The First Rasta, Brother Royer, a member of Count Ossie’s camp, credits Margarita with helping Rasta music come to the mainstream through her tenacity. Despite Norman Manley’s demand that “Anywhere you see Rastaman, you have to lock them up,” Margarita refused to perform unless Count Ossie and his drummers performed, and it was only after the “people got crazy about the new sound,” says Royer, that Rastas were from then on welcomed onto stages. “Great girl! Our Helen of Troy!” said Royer of Margarita. She was more like the Josephine Baker of Jamaica.

margarita drums1

From the Star Newspaper, August 22, 1961.

So imagine my delight when I found an article in the Star Newspaper, August 22, 1961 that mentioned the exact performance that Reckord referenced! The article reads: African Drums at Palace Hour. Fans who attend the Palace Theatre tomorrow night will see and hear for the first time on a stage Count Ossie and his African Drums, the band whose sounds have taken Jamaica by storm. They will also hear the famous “Carolina” which held the Number One spot on the Hit Parade for son long. Featured in the fast moving “Swingaree” which will be presented between two full length films at regular prices will be: The renowned Blues Busters fresh from the North Coast, the famous Wilfred Edwards, golden-voiced Lascelles Perkins and top favourite Hortense Ellis. Coming in from Montego Bay will be Phonso the Great. For variety there will also be Creative Dancer Margarita, Caribbean Rhumba Queen Yvonne Davis 9Just back from Nassau), whirlwind dancers Pam Pam and Colleen and Jamaica’s leading comedian, the inimitable Bam. The Drum sounds will also feature songs by Skitter and Winston and trombone selections by Rico Rodriques. All roads will lead to the Palace tomorrow night. –C.A.T.

From the Star Newspaper, August 28, 1961.

From the Star Newspaper, August 28, 1961.

The performances were a hit with crowds of the Palace Theatre, according to a Star Newspaper article on Monday, August 28, 1961. The article entitled “‘Swingeree’–A Big Hit,” reads: Upwards of 2,000eager fans thronged the Palace Theatre last Wednesday night to witness the first appearance of Count Ossie and His African Drums, with some of the island’s top entertainers. Scores had to stand and hundreds were turned away. The show was good to the last drop and every item was a winner from Compere Vere John introduced the opening number to Wilfred Edwards’ last song. First came Lascelles Perkins with two numbers and he was followed by Pam Pam & Colleen in a whirlwind dance number. Then Hortense Ellis gave out with “I am not a know it all” and got two encores, after which Count Ossie and the Sounds took over. The fans rocked to the favourite ‘Carolina’ sung by Skitter & Winston, swayed with Rico and his soulful trombone, moaned with Bobby Gaynair and his golden sax and enjoyed “Babylon gone.” Comedian Bam kept the audience in stitches for about eight minutes. Hit of the evening was the dance done to the curvesome Margarita to the beat of the African drums in colourful costume. She received an ovation. Then came the Blues Busters and the audience just wouldn’t let them go even after three numbers. Caribbean Rhumba Queen Yvonne (Electric Eel) Davis also made a tremendous hit with the fans as she gyrated in superb rhythm. Finally Wilfred Edwards closed the show with three favourite selections. ‘Swingeree’ featuring Count Ossie & His African Drums will be seen at the Odeon Theatre, Half Way Tree, tomorrow night at 8.40 o’clock between two great films. It will also be presented at the Gaiety Theatre on Thursday night at the same hour. Supporting stars for these two shows will be The Blues Busters, Margarita, Hortense Ellis, Pam Pam & Colleen and top Comedian Bam. –C.A.T.”

Credit is due to Prince Buster for first recording the drums of Count Ossie that formed the backbone for reggae, but credit is also due to Margarita, Anita Mahfood, for bringing these drums to the stage, where their sounds mixed in the air, knowing no boundary between upper and lower classes. Until this time, and long after this time, the Rastafari were persecuted and considered the outcasts of society. But Margarita championed their cause and their creativity. She used her status as a headlining dancer, a woman from a wealthy family, and her talent to help bridge the class divide by introducing their sounds to the stage. Just a few days later, on September 8, 1961, a photo of Count Ossie and his drummers appear with the caption “Bearded Sounds.” The following month an advertisement for a show at Adastra Gardens appears for Count Ossie, calling his sound “Strange Music from Africa.” All of this was amid article after article of horrible treatment of the Rastafari, headlines claiming they burned babies as a sacrifice, were lunatics, and were murdered, were common during these years. Here are a few of them, and only a few, from 1961 and 1962:








rasta4rasta5 rasta6














I post these to put into context what Margarita did by supporting the drums of Count Ossie. She took a great risk. Prince Buster may have brought the drums to the studio, but Margarita brought them beyond the hills, beyond Orange Street, to the audiences that viewed the Rastafari as these articles present them. She was a true renegade and a heroine and we owe her a great debt.

This Man Is Back

From the Star Newspaper, May 13, 1962.

From the Star Newspaper, May 13, 1962.

Don Drummond was admitted a number of times to Bellevue Mental Hospital–sometimes at his own doing, other times at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, namely the last time. The song, “This Man is Back,” was composed by Drummond after one of his stints in the hospital. It was released in 1961 for Coxsone Dodd’s All Stars label.

I recently came across this article in the Star Newspaper from May 13, 1962. It is titled, “The return of Don Drummond,” and it reads, “Ossie’s Lucas Inn, 15 Mountain View Avenue, seems the ideal spot for all jazz fans this afternoon with the presentation of a terrific afternoon of live jazz, featuring the return of Drummond on trombone. Drummond, whose skill on the trombone is well known, will be playing with the Carlos Malcolm Conbo,Carlos also producing sounds on the T-Bone. In fact, the session,which starts at 4:00 p.m.,will mark the return of another Jamaican jazz wizard, Tommy McCook (tenor sax) who returned last week from engagements in Nassau. Other musicians in the session are Baba Motta, piano, Taddy Mowatt,bass, and Carl McLeod, drums.”

From the Star Newspaper, May 18,1962.

From the Star Newspaper, May 18,1962.


A Star Newspaper article on Friday, May 18, 1962 previewed a subsequent McCook show with the title, “Tommy McCook for Lucas Inn.” It read, “Tommy McCook, Jamaican tenor saxophonist who has been creating quite a sensation since his recent return from Nassau,will be playing tonight and tomorrow night at Lucas Inn, Mountain View Avenue. In recent weeks, Lucas Inn has been a spot for “the most” jazz fans and Sunday last Tommy brought the house down when he appeared on the session, which included names as Don Drummond, trombone, Rolan Alphanso [sic. Roland Alphonso], tenor saxophone, Baba Motta, piano, and Billy Cooke, trumpet, among others. Tommy has been busy preparing some new sounds for his engagements. He sounds off tonight at 9:00.”

Experiences of an Inmate in a Mental Hospital part two

From the Star Newspaper, April 20, 1961.

From the Star Newspaper, April 20, 1961.


The past two weeks I have taken a break from the seven-part series I uncovered in the Star Newspaper called Experiences of an Inmate in a Mental Hospital to devote my blog to Rico Rodriguez. Now I return to that series with part two, which is titled, I Join the Working Party by Christopher W. Rowe. This article ran on Thursday, April 20, 1961. Of particular note in this article, I think, is the identification of the medication injection problem at Bellevue (I discussed in the first part of this series why this is definitely Bellevue that Rowe writes of, although it is never named) since I believe this is the cause of Don Drummond’s death, medication administered improperly or with an incomprehension of the effects. Also of note is that the D ward is where murderers were kept. This is where Don Drummond was, as I’ve written in my book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist. Many officials who were related to the situation told me this, and here is a discussion of that ward. A final note, the revelation Rowe makes about the overflowing sewers and unsanitary conditions.


Here is part two of Experiences of an Inmate in a Mental Hospital by Chrisopher W. Rowe:

I join the working party
I was made to join a working party for more advanced convalescent patients. I was sent to the tailor shop. This consisted of a different routine. We left the ward at about 6:25 AM for the dining hall where we were served early coffee and bread, the same six ounces. After that we left for our working places, some to field parties, some to sanitary gangs, some as messengers, some to the carpenter’s shop, some blacksmiths, some tinsmiths, some to the doctor’s quarters and the matron’s also. My party went to the tailor’s shop. A few would be claimed for the kitchen from about five in the morning and some for the dining hall to wash tables and dishes. In the tailor’s shop I started to make buttonholes on shirts pants and nightgowns made by other patients until I was given a trial at the machines, one foot machine and a few hand ones. I was not new to tailoring so was able to make everything made there, from a shirt, nightgown, trousers, sheets and pillowcases.


At 11 o’clock we working patients were made to be in the dining hall; there we were served a pint of porridge, cornmeal, and half of bread and a bit of cheese, then after that returning to our repetitive working places to carry on until one o’clock at which time we joined with those from the ward that eat in the dining hall. At five o’clock we finished the day with the same route, after that to bed. On Sundays at ten in the mornings a party from the four main wards O, G, B, and N, go to church which is situated near the female division which also sends a party of female patients to attend. The party of male patients would be under the charge of the head nurse or chief charge from N Ward, which ward even though one is the smallest is always the boss in such things, the reasons being that their patients are much better behaved and likewise it carries a lesser amount of attendants so at times the entire ward is made to turn out. (Since they would be short of attendants none would be available to remain with patients in the ward, so all patients about 50 would join the various parties).

At about two o’clock or just after the mid-day meal they have what is called a walking party where the patients go and sit down out on the lawn nearby the church for about two hours. This party partly comprises the same church goers with no exceptions. This walking party is carried on every evening from day to day except if rain or if they are badly short of attendants. I was a member of all the parties. On Tuesday mornings there would be another party known as sea-bathing party who would be called about nine in the morning from the four main wards to go down to the sea and bathe and return at about half past ten.

This took place on three days per week, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, at the same hour every morning. There is a dental party on Tuesdays for those patients with bad teeth. They would be warned on the Monday to be taken to the dentist Tuesday evening about two o’clock whose office would be at the female division.

He would first treat a party of female patients for attending to the males. The system is for him to start there on the females a long while before so by the time the males reach he would be on the tail end. On public holidays most working patients are given a treat together with some well-behaved ones picked from the various wards, of bun and lemonade or at times cream and cake also candy. I was there on the first of August 1934 on which day we were served bun and lemonade.

A patient that is open to be visited receives the caution wherever he happens to be whether in the ward or out in a party whether working party or otherwise. The visitor attends to the waiting room whose officer has a book with the muster of the various wards. The visitor gives the name of the patient he or she wants to see. The waiting attendant looks it up until he finds it then writes out a bit of paper with the patient’s name as follows – John Brown to be seen – he hands this to a patient orderly or runner who takes it to the ward indicated and there he knocks at the door until it is opened by an attendant who forwards the note to the chief in charge or chief charge of the ward who calls out for the patient.

If he is in the ward he is easily found; if not the books are searched to see what party he is in unless he is not connected to that ward. If he is in a party they tend for him right away, a visit being termed a dispatch or emergency. All parties are guided by books from the sea bathing, church, walking, dental and also another party called dressing party, (patients with small sores but not serious enough for them to be sent to hospital and detained wards).

These are taken to hospital where the sores are bathed in warm water and dressed and made to return to their respective wards. There is a ward known as the Detention Ward or Limbo where are placed murderers, men who are arrested and tried in the courts but deemed insane. There is a tuberculosis ward, another wards known as sea ward where patients suffering from dysentery or fever are made to stay. There is also a private patients ward were 21 shillings per week is paid for the patients to stay by his relatives.

There is also a canteen attached to the institution where if money is lodged in the office for you, it can be utilised by drawing things. They are such as biscuits, aerated water, bathing soap, cigarettes etc. The process of drawing things is to lead the head nurse sign a chit or voucher for whatever you require within the amount lodged your account which he in turn hands to the canteen officer, fulfills the written request, which is handed to the patient.

After being there for about two months I was examined by Dr. Myers who was second in command at the time. He in turn sent me to the medical superintendent, discharged me to my father, who had come for me. That was 23 August 1934 and I was made a free person once more. It was more a prison than a hospital.

On a patients being considered fit to be recommended to be discharged to return home he is first examined by the ward doctor who reports it and after that a more senior doctor who considers him fit to see the medical superintendent on examining the patient directs that he be made to go or not if he thinks fit.

The institution has the main office which is occupied by more doctors, a medical officer, and two others. Attached to it is the pay clerk’s office which comprises a cashier or chief storekeeper, chief clerk or assistant storekeeper, his senior assistant and paymaster. Nearby are the provision stores and clothing stores in which are things sent down by the tender board such as cloths to make clothing for patients, foodstuffs to be used in the kitchen, attendant uniform and all other things in such places.

The general muster of all the wards at the time was about 700 with a female division of about 200 making a total of about 900. This was in 1934. Now it has gone up to about two thousand.

It also has a dispensary attended by a dispenser whole time in charge. His duties are to take the blood, test the patients, their saliva and using for the purpose of being tested. He is also in charge of the distribution of medicine to the various wards in the female division as well. A clinic is attached to the institution where revisiting psychiatric social worker gives injection in the lower arm. I was given one turned a sore that lasted me about a month. I had to get it bathe and dress. On the last Wednesdays of each month a check is made of all condemned thing such as patients clothing, bedding comprising of seats pillowcases old pillows, nightgown and old mattress case at times also brooms, old used hands, benches, tables, attendance clothings also chair, canvas cot that are destroyed whether by patient or worn out, are heaped up and placed before a man from the Kingston Public Works of not less than the grade of an assistant superintendent of works who sorts things to see if they are to be used furthermore to be condemned.

If marked off it is stamped condemned and replacements recommended to the management no matter what amounts condemned. It is called a board of… Condemned stock… A dosier from the office attendance to it and likewise represents the institution and … Who is also the assistant…

This institution carries the tailor shop, a carpenter shop, a tinsmith, a blacksmith, a plumber, a mason, a painter and a field party. All the working places are staffed with patients under the supervision of tradesmen attendants who are able to instruct the patients at the various trades.

At the field they weed grass with machete sharpened on grindstones. They also use hoe and pick axes at their carry-ons out the field where they plant garden pepper and the likes. The attendants clothing are made downtown but those of the patients are made in the tailor’s shop except in extreme cases then clothes would be sent out to a tailor in Kingston for him to make some. Mostly shirts and pants.

The carpenter shop produces benches, chairs, tables, do small repairs to doors of buildings like wards and storerooms etc. It is a more serious job the public works sends up the carpenters to do it.
The painter does small paintings such as on canvas cots and canvas chairs. The Mason re-smooths any disrupted surface from time to time.

The plumber and the blacksmith are to see to it that all the pipes of the institution are in order both he and the blacksmith. The institution has a sewerage system which easily goes bad at times causing great inconveniences both at the male and female divisions. It is the duty of the tinsmith to both make and repair cans and pans also large tin pots used in the kitchen for cooking, or ordinary containers. It is not unusual to see sewers choked and running over for days until the plumbing party reaches that section and places it in order.

In the hospital or admission ward there is compulsory bathing on Saturdays which is also clothes changing day. In the main wards it is just the same compulsory bathing on Saturdays and change of clothing. They are the patient is given his hands filled with soft soap which he uses to lather his skin under the shower then washes it off. There are about three taps in a bathroom which is occupied the entire Saturday morning the process of serving diets in B Ward is that the cooked things are brought from the kitchen by patients under the supervision of an attendant which in turn is transferred to pans placed in a large tray with handles and carried by two patients one in front and the other in the rear, and attendant keeps up with it and hands it out on both sides to patients who are made to sit along both sides of the lane.

The patient would at times sneak up and grab a diet but would be chased and captured and the diet taken away by an attendant and he, the patient, would be locked in a cell for the period. There he would be served his meal with a caution.
There are patients who grab from other patients and are generally caught and locked away. If there action become very habitual they are locked away during meal hours. There is another class of patients who are in the habit of either having away their diets or exchanging it for tobacco. These are locked away and fed in cells likewise, in order to stop their habits
A patient that is visited by relatives is taken out to the waiting room as soon as he is announced where he receives whatever is brought for him. If it be things to be eaten he eats it there, he is also allowed to receive small coins up to 2/– which he can used to buy things at the canteen.