THE thanksgiving service for veteran toaster/selector Winston 'King Stitt' Sparks at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street, Kingston on Saturday, was a celebration his contribution to development of reggae music.
Dr Omar Davies, minister of transport and works, said that Studio One founder, Clement 'Sir Coxson' Dodd never had a proper filling system and it was 'Stitt's' knowledge of the music and his encyclopaedic memory that rescued Dodd many times.
Music historian Bunny Goodison expressed similar sentiments.
"And for that alone (Stitt's ability to record and recall important details), the 'King' should be accorded a very special place in the Studio One story. I think he has now gone to recollaborate with Sir D (Coxson Dodd) in that great studio up in the sky," Goodison said.
Kimani Smith, grandson of Enid Cumberland (of Keith and Enid fame) declared Stitt's contribution to the development of local music goes beyond a few vinyl recordings.
"He was an inventor and pioneer. He was a crucial link between Dodd and his sales. He (King Stitt) was the public face of Studio One..."
Tamika Alphonso, Sir Coxson' granddaughter, said Stitt lived next door to Studio One and was present when all the classics were being recorded.
In her eulogy, Marcia Daley said how the artiste turned the negative of his facial malformation into positive.
"The story of King Stitt was one of creating opportunity out of adversity. His early years were humble ones. But he had a natural talent and love music deeply. He made his name by creating his own brand of jive-talking. He was a master selector from the dancehall... he became internationally known and performed in many countries outside of Jamaica. Although close to his death he was over 70, is music was still demanded on the international scene and in 2011. He toured the UK, France and Brazil," she said.
Other tributes came from Carla Cooper, daughter of the late Winston 'Count Matchukie' Cooper and Selwyn Sparks, nephew of King Stitt. Appropriately, bridging the tributes with the eulogy, saxophonist Jeffery Brown performed a fitting instrumental tribute of My Way.
Interment followed in the Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine.
-- Basil Walters