I uncovered a few new photos of Rico while looking through Star Newspaper archives this week. I thought I’d share them with you. Rico was so much more than a trombonist for The Specials, as many of the obituaries I’ve read seem to forget. Here are some visions of Rico from the past, though his spirit and music will live forever.
The above article reads, “Rico is one of the most improved local musicians in the history of the profession. He brings back a literally dead instrument (the trombone) [see, even back then they misunderstood the meaning of the word literally! Feel like I’m talking to a teenager] on the market. Rico walked into the local recording industry with his trombone and has astonished most local musicians and music lovers who didn’t know the trombone could have taken top place on the local Rock ‘N’ Roll recording industry. Rico Rodriguez, unlike Taddy Mowatt, top bass player who was introduced to local audiences by Baba Motta, had no introduction. He came in this profession when local musicians and audiences refused to recognize the trombone. In fact, three of our excellent trombonists, Carl Masters, John Nelson and Ruby Anderson, put down the trombone to learn other instruments so that they could remain in the musical field. Rico’s music can be heard on nearly every local recording. He has over one hundred records on the local market and he is enjoying a wide range of popularity. This twenty-two-year-old musician earned the top place on his instrument this year, because he took time to study the trombone. It can be admitted that he experienced many trials and disappointments in his struggle for fame, but as he said, ‘where ever I go to play today, the people love me and give me all the ovation I need.'” — Micky O’ Bryan.
It is interesting to note the omission of Don Drummond from this article, and one can only speculate why. The writer of this article, O’Bryan, was himself a musician, a saxophonist and leader of his own band. Could that be a factor? Also, Don Drummond wasn’t playing anywhere live during this time, perhaps in Bellevue. Could that be a factor? Interesting to consider.