Our Readers' Opinions
December 3, 2013
Unforgettable experience

Tue Dec 03, 2013

Editor: Sometime around the mid 1950’s, I made arrangement with a gentleman to supply transportation for my quintet “Rhythmaires” to play music for a fete and dance in a hall at Mesopotamia on a public holiday. The members of the band were John Whittle (deceased) on saxophone, George “Bobo” Johnson – guitar, George James – double bass, Winston “Samo” Samuel (deceased) – drums and Raul Soso – trumpet. May both John and Samo rest in peace.{{more}}

We played for the fete from 1:30 until 6 p.m. Then the dance began at 8 p.m. and ended at 2 a.m. Both functions were well attended and at intermission we were served with the tastiest pelau that I have ever eaten. “De taste still dey in me mout’ till now — trust me!”

We returned to the bandstand in high spirits and continued playing to a very appreciative crowd until 2 a.m. I told the men to pack up their instruments, while I went to collect our fee, which I received promptly. I then asked the gentleman to notify the driver of the bus that we were ready to travel back to Kingstown. He looked at me in amazement and stammered: “I…I tort you all would ah sleep in de hall like de udder band…(he called the name of the band).”

Faith and common sense prevented me from committing myself. What bothered me most was that I had just recently got a new job at Edwin D Layne & Sons Ltd and that I was far out in the country with no transportation after 2 o’clock in the morning.

Immediately, I contacted the other members who were also due to return to work at 8 a.m. that day. Without much ado, we started picking up our instruments and equipment in preparation for the journey on foot. We were forced to leave the bass drum and drum box. George and Samo started off with the double bass and three of us held our instruments with music and music stands. As the journey progressed, we changed hands.

As last, we got to Kingstown in broad daylight and managed to get to our band room in Frenches in order to secure the instruments. Thereafter, each went to his home and when I got to mine at Mc Kie’s Hill, I was just able to throw myself in a rocking chair in the living room where I slept until 11o’clock that morning. Thankfully, I managed to return to work on time that afternoon. As soon as the boss sat at his desk, I went to his office and explained exactly what had caused my being absent from work. Mr Layne was quite understanding and he thought that it was an unfortunate occurrence.

I thanked him kindly and returned to my work. May he now rest in peace.

Raul U. Soso