JIS News

Story Highlights

  • As part of the celebration to mark the 35th anniversary of city status for Montego Bay, Keys to the City have been presented posthumously to two of its musical legends, Lloyd Campbell and Phillip James, better known as the Blues Busters, for their outstanding contribution to the development of Jamaican music.
  • At the presentation ceremony in Sam Sharpe Square on October 9, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, lauded the 1960s ska vocalists for their mark on the musical landscape.
  • Close friends of the Blues Busters residing in New York, Leslie Salmon and Owen Dunkley, were joined by a sister of Mr. James, Mathetebel Hall, to receive the Keys and Citation.

As part of the celebration to mark the 35th anniversary of city status for Montego Bay, Keys to the City have been presented posthumously to two of its musical legends, Lloyd Campbell and Phillip James, better known as the Blues Busters, for their outstanding contribution to the development of Jamaican music.

At the presentation ceremony in Sam Sharpe Square on October 9, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, lauded the 1960s ska vocalists for their mark on the musical landscape.

Close friends of the Blues Busters residing in New York, Leslie Salmon and Owen Dunkley, were joined by a sister of Mr. James, Mathetebel Hall, to receive the Keys and Citation.

“The singing duo’s popularity as rhythm & blues, soul and ska vocalists soared across the island and they recorded their first single, ‘Little Vilma’, which was produced by Micky O’Brien in 1960. The Blues Busters later recorded hit songs with the internationally known Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, including ‘How Sweet It Is’, ‘Soon You’ll be Gone’, ‘I Can’t Believe You’re Gone’, ‘Don’t Take Your Love Away’, ‘I Won’t Let You Go’, and ‘Behold’,” the citation read.

“The Blues Busters’ big break came in 1961 when they were asked to perform with international recording star, Sam Cooke. He was so impressed with the duo that he took them to New York where they continued performing with Cooke and recording artiste, Joe Tex. They were also part of Jamaica’s musical representation at the World’s Fair in New York, performing alongside Byron Lee and the Dragonaires,” it added.

Speaking with JIS News, Mr. Dunkley said he was elated by the presentation, but more so by his reunion with Mr. James’ youngest sister, Maisie (Mathetebel Hall), after so many years.