Sir Lord Comic, whose real name was Percival Wauchope, began as a dancer, a “legs man.” He began toasting for Admiral Deans’ sound system on Maxwell Avenue in 1959. In Reggae: Deep Roots Music by Howard Johnson and Jim Pines, they explain how Sir Lord Comic got his start at the microphone. “It was Count Machuki from Sir Coxsone’s Downbeat who inspired him to become a deejay. He started following the selector Willy Penny closely and would occasionally play records when Willy Penny wanted to dance. The Christmas of 1959 Willy Penny had drunk too much and the boss of the sound, Mr. Dean asked Sir Lord Comic if he could manage it. He said yes and enthused he went to Spanish Town Road to borrow a mic from a man called Nat King Prof. Nat King Prof lent him a Grampian mic.”
Johnson and Pines say that Sir Lord Comic’s first song was a Len Hope tune called “Hop, Skip, and Jump.” Sir Lord Comic recalls, “When the tune started into about the fourth groove I says, ‘Breaks!’ and when I say ‘Breaks’ I have all eyes at the amplifier, y’know. And I says, ‘You love the life you live, you live the life you love. This is Lord Comic.’ The night was exciting, very exciting.” Lord Comic’s first toast, he says, was “Now we’ll give you the scene, you got to be real keen. And me no jelly bean. Sir Lord Comic answer his spinning wheel appeal, from his record machine. Stick around, be no clown. See what the boss is puttin’ down.”
One article in the Daily Gleaner on May 1, 1964 advertised Sir Lord Comic’s performance at the Glass Bucket Club, an upscale establishment frequented by tourists, barristers, and the upper crust. It said that Sir Lord Comic would be presented “an authentic sound system taken from western Kingston where the Jamaica Ska was born. Sir Lord Comic will be at the controls with his authentic sound system calls.” Some of his recorded songs include “Ska-ing West,” “The Great Wuga Wuga,” “Rhythm Rebellion,” “Jack of My Trade,” and “Four Seasons of the Year,” among many others.
Sir Lord Comic chimed in on ska in a Daily Gleaner article on May 3, 1964 after a group of musicians, including Prince Buster, had tried to launch the sound in the U.S. “Sir Lord Comic of 33 Alexander Road, Whitfield Town, Kingston 13 says: As a local Ska M.C. for 1964, in my opinion Wash Wash is an imitation Ska cooked up by Prince Buster and the Blue Beats. It is not really a Ska done by Jamaicans. It’s some kind of beat they are trying to catch and call it Ska, but where I am concerned about Ska, “Sammy Dead” is the new Ska beat sung by our top artist, Eric Morris, and backed by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires and for a long time in record releases, “Sammy Dead” is expected to be the first million-disc of Jamaica.”
Check out some of Sir Lord Comic’s toasting and vocalizations: