Reggae king Holt set for Mango Tree

It’s not often reggae royalty performs here so getting a chance to see the legendary crooner John Holt this weekend is an opportunity to cherish.

The maestro performs at the Mango Tree on Friday 30 November in honour of local DJ Cachas ‘Super C’ Stewart who is celebrating 25 years in the industry.

Super C has a regular show on Hot104.1FM, Rockers Island, specialising in old-school reggae. He has forged a mutual respect with Holt and the superstar was only too happy to agree to perform with General Trees at the popular venue on Shedden Road.

Part of the profits go to Future Sports Club, a team that Super C has played football for over the past five years.

“I am really grateful to John for doing this show,” Super C said. “He is a legendary figure in reggae music, one in a million and it is a great honour. He came way down in his fee to accommodate me for my 25th anniversary and I really appreciate that.

“Excitement is building up, I’m getting good feed back and people are pleasantly surprised that tickets are only $15 in advance and $20 at the gate.”

Holt, 65, last performed here four years ago at a Valentine’s concert at the Lion Centre. Romantics in the huge crowd felt suitably blessed with his mesmerising melodies. They included covers of wonderful pop tunes such as Shirley Bassey’s Never, Never, Never, Billy Joel’s Just the Way You Are and Diana Ross’s Touch Me In the Morning.

There were also many of his own gems such as Fancy Make Up, A Love I Can Feel, Up Park Camp, Stick By Me and Man Next Door.

“I’m looking forward to coming over for Super C’s show,” Holt said from Miami last week. “He is a good man and deserves the best. It is my pleasure.

“That Valentine’s concert was a good night and I’m looking forward to performing again in the Cayman Islands.”

Holt was a child star in Kingston, winning many talent contests. He was the lead singer with the harmony kings the Paragons before going solo, penning a string of hits with them, the biggest being The Tide Is High which was later an international smash for Blondie and was also successfully covered by Atomic Kitten.

The single Help Me Make It Through The Night really launched Holt’s career internationally. It reached the top of the British charts in the early 70s and really catapulted him not just as a masterful reggae singer but also a mainstream artist. Even now London is his second biggest fan base after Jamaica.

“I’m still getting work off that song today,” he laughs.

Not many artists can boast performing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra but Holt can. A decade ago he did a series of concerts in the United Kingdom with the world renowned orchestra drawing material from some of his most successful albums, particularly 1,000 Volts of Holt, The Further You Look and Dusty Roads.

“Those albums were recorded with a string orchestra so that’s why we did the concerts like that.”

The kudos he gained from those gigs reached a new wave of admirers. His appointments book will never be blank.

One blonde violinist smiled throughout each performance at Wembley Arena. Holt remembers her well. “The concerts were really fantastic and she was a jokey lady who loved my music.”

So do we John, so do we.


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