Annual reggae love-in

The third year of this annual reggae love-in - devoted to that most romantic and nostalgic style known as Lovers Rock - was the best yet.

Let's start with the biggest reason: a "fifty years in music" appearance by FREDDIE McGREGOR.

The man that brought us such hits in the 70s and 80s as 'Just Don't Wanna Be Lonely' showed us all why he has undoubted classic status. Dressed casually, locks tied back, this father of one of the biggest families in reggae the Big Ship Crew (and who Stephen Marley said was at times like a father figure to the Marley children) wowed the crowd, with a performance on top form, and clever arrangements. The big ship was certainly sailing at the Indigo. Hit after hit. Perfect.

Another plus point was the sheer number and range of acts. I’d forgotten there were so many British Lovers Rock stars. The night featured a rare appearance by pioneer GINGER WILLIAMS, and a clever new twist - a cheeky and brilliant lovers rock song clash to kick off the evening, by PAULETTE TAJAH and WINSOME, who warmed up the crowd good and proper getting the audience laughing and all the girls singing along to 'Six Sixth Street'.

But mention must go to the comperes, comedy duo ROBBIE GEE AND EDDIE NESTOR - the original babyfather with the duttybwoy smile together with Mr Permanently 29 - who were on the cracking form, taking the audience on a memory lane stroll through eighties Peckham, effortlessly at the top of their game. This presenting duo, known for their charity gig presenting at the London Palladium (one an established film and TV actor who made his name as Lee in Desmonds, the other a music expert who won the 'Radio Academy Sony Gold Award for Speech Broadcaster of the Year' in 2007) are naughty boy presenters par excellence, capable of tearing up the stage and worth the ticket price on their own. But ladies, just don't let Robbie bring you up on stage for some bumping and grinding.

These events always wear their heart on their sleeve, no less than when MARIE PIERRE appeared despite having recently broken seemingly nearly every bone in her body following a nasty sporting accident. She managed to get the crowd laughing along with her hard luck stories and her performance was as good as her humour as she got the crowd going in 'Walk Away'.

The unquestioned queens of lovers rock sprinkled their unique stardust - CARROLL THOMPSON in beautiful voice on 'Hopelessly in Love' and JANET KAY still keeping the crowd guessing on hitting that note with 'Silly Games'. "Is she gonna? Isn't she gonna?" As always, she did!
These two ladies always leave the crowd in full swing with serious love in the air, and this was perfect for Ginger Williams. Out she came and rocked the stage, dressed in an Indian salwar kameez - she told me she chose her outfit simply because she "loves Indian clothes". Amazing to hear her performance of one of the first ever lovers rock tracks 'Tenderly'. The night had gone full circle - as with all 'Giants of Lovers Rock' nights, it was all there: falling in love to breaking up to cheating to making up again.


Words by Reshma B (www.reggaegirlabouttown.com)
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