To say the reggae industry is male dominated might be the understatement of all time. Jamaica’s first, foremost, and arguably only serious female producer was Sonia E. Pottinger, who died last Wednesday November 3rd at the age of 79. Introduced to the music biz by her husband Lyndon Pottinger, she opened the Tip Top record shop in 1965 and started producing the following year. Serious selectors covet all the rock steady and roots classics released on her Tip Top, Highnote, and Gayfeet labels. In 1974 Pottinger bought Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label shortly before his passing (and she won a big court case just last year retaining her rights to the legendary imprint, which she soon made available online). She was eventually recognised with the Order of Distinction for her contribution to the development of Jamaican music
“Ms. Pottinger, I rate her highly,” legendary soundman Winston “Merritone” Blake told this Sunday’s Jamaica Observer. “For her to enter the music scene at the time she did, going up against the giant record producers in Coxsone and Duke Reid, required tremendous courage. And the kind of music that she produced was unquestioned. They have stood the test of time.” On that note, let’s rewind back some of Ms. P’s Certified Boomshots…
JOE WHITE AND CHUCK “Every Night” (Her big breakthrough hit)
PHYLLIS DILLON “Don’t Stay Away”
THE MELODIANS “Swing & Dine”
THE ETHIOPIANS “The Whip”
KEN BOOTHE “Say You”
MARCIA GRIFFITHS “Stepping Out Of Babylon”
SONIA POTTINGER “Prophecy I” (Dub for Marcus Garvey)
Seek and ye shall find: A Partial Pottinger Discography.
Music Alone Shall Live. Rest In Power, Ms. P.