Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Always Yellow

The legendary King Yellowman (Winston Foster) is returning to Charleston on June 29th. Once again, I have the pleasure of opening the show. People that know me know of Yellow being my musical mentor and as the reason that I began doing reggae in the first place. It runs deep on many levels. Yellow was always a kind of outsider. He was orphaned as a baby (in Jamaica) and faced all kinds of rejection and was met with scorn because of his albinism. I don't have those issues, but I felt inspired by someone who could endure all of that and still become a legendary reggae entertainer. The 3rd gig (of my career) that I did was opening for Yellowman and I was nervous as hell. Time went on, and we opened a few more shows...I always looked to see if he was watching, but after about 5 shows I finally asked if he saw me and he would say "no, me nah see you". Fast forward a year later and he was listening and watching and sent for me to speak with him. He said to me, "Robbie, that song 'Just Like That' is a wicked need to record that". I nearly wet my pants...the guy who inspired me to do this in the first place likes one of my songs! Oh my GOD! With the help of his then bass player Derrick Barnett we recorded the song. It became a staple during my shows. My whole style uses Yellowman as a blueprint.....In 1996, the unthinkable happened in my own hometown the great Yellowman called me onstage to do a song WITH HIM...I don't recall what I said but my bandmates told me that I was giving Yellow's band (Sagittarius Band) orders as if they were my band. I had watched HOURS of video with all kinds of artists performing in front of that band and now I was one of them...I was in heaven! That spoke of some serious respect. For Yellow to invite me onstage and give me shoutouts during performances when I open the show gives me goosebumps. Yellow has been slowed by cancer (originally given 6 months to live in 1985), he's still doing it. Sure his voice isn't nearly as strong as it was in the 80s and 90s....but his energy onstage is matched by very few....Always an inspiration, always Yellow!

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