I grew up listening to the music of the Clarendonians who introduced little Fredde McGregor into the business by taking him to Clement Dodd. Freddie recorded with Earnest Wilson for Coxsone, beginning his long sojourn in Jamaica's music business. Today, Freddie McGregor occupies Iconic status on my scale of measure of Jamaican artistes. I remember the period when the iconic song "Big Ship" was released. Today this song is the titular label under which the McGregor Empire has been sailing, as over the last five decades Freddie brick by brick, song by song, succeeded in building a legacy, no less than Bob Marley, Toots Hibbert, and Jimmy Cliff. Today the McGregor family is among music Royalty not only in Jamaica, but across the globe (even if they are not aware of this). Thus the incapacition of Freddie, is nothing to feel ashamed of. His legacy has been assured and it is now for the succeeding generation to carry on that legacy even as they see to their patriarchs full and complete recovery. Freddie McGregor is a Perfectionist No less than other fans of the music, I revere Freddie McGregor. Only two months ago our Yaawd Media -Sunday Scoops program hosted a two hour show to celebrate Freddy's great body of work. We acknowledged his incapacitation and out of respect sought not to converse with him directly as for me, it was most important to let his work be his voice. It is against this background that I do not believe that Sumfest did his legacy any justice by having him participate in a live show. After all, Freddie throughout his entire career epitomized vocal quality, delivering precision and holding key.
Freddie's vocal range Very few artistes in my time can come close to Freddie in terms of his vocal range. I witnessed this time and again at his performances, especially during his collaboration shows like the Dennis Brown and Friends series, or even as he belted out his hits at concerts here with Marcia Griffiths, Beres Hammond, or at the KC fund raisers here in South Florida. This is the Freddie McGregor that I want to remember, not someone who obviously does not belong on a concert stage at this time. A Better Way to Honor Freddie I believe that as a country and a people we failed Freddie McGregor by putting him on stage in this state, even if he requested it. I believe that the music community, even Sumfest failed him. For if they wanted to really honor him, a much better way of showing that would have been by dedicating one of the nights of the Show to Freddie McGregor and have all the performing artistes sing his songs in a massive tribute to his yeoman service. That apart, both themselves and Red Stripe could use the opportunity to make a contribution of what would have been his fees (plus some) as a contribution to the cost of his recovery.
Freddie McGregor is far too important to our music legacy to be paraded around when he is not at his best.