50 years ago: History of Brac’s Beach Boys revealed

In the May 17 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Sister Islands news included:

“The much talked about ‘Beach Boys’ dance band flew from Cayman Brac to Grand Cayman to play God Save the Queen at the official opening of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference at the buffet dinner and dance for the delegates at the Coral Caymanian Hotel last Thursday night.

“The boys have really improved from a motley group of stringed instrumentalists to an appealing calypso band. The have certainly come a long way since 1963.

“The band was formed by its present leader, Eddie Scott, a versatile banjo stylist, in 1963. At that time the ska was the latest dance craze in Jamaica, and the band took the name the Skatellites. The boys played good town ‘n’ country music, but specialized in calypso and ska. The band made a big hit in the Brac, playing at first only the Sea View and Rafaldo’s Club.

“It was especially popular when the spellbinding guitar-vocalist Hinton Connolly, now a foreman with Cable & Wireless, was a key member of the band.

“Before the Skatellites was formed in Cayman Brac, Jamaica had a top band by that same name. World-famous Don Drummond, now confined to a mental institution in Kingston after being found guilty of murdering his sweetheart, [and] the equally popular rhumba dancer, Marguerita, were the key figures in the band.

“After Drummond, a frequent patient in the mental institution, was convicted on the capital charge, the band began losing popularity. The Cayman Brac band also split and some of the members formed Hinton and the Boys, and the rest linked up with Eddie and the Beach Boys.

“Cayman Brac is too small to accommodate two bands, and so after a month of keen rivalry Hinton and the Boys collapsed.

“Eddie and the Beach Boys have since dominated the scene, playing at all the clubs and hotels.

“Most of their instruments were played on loan by the clubs. The band was handicapped because most of the boys were dedicated seamen and when they left, the band suffered.

“Today, the band owns all of their instruments. Playing in Grand Cayman was their first big assignment.

“At the opening ceremony, they played the National Anthem calypso-style, but well. The cross-section audience must have been pleased at the exotic rhythms, especially with ace drummer, schoolboy Mike Hurlstone.

“Everyone enjoyed the dance at Coral. Eddie and his Beach Boys have made many dance fans in Grand Cayman. Someone said, ‘We look forward to their quick return.’”