Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Golden Jubilee ... Jack Scorpio celebrates 50 years in music

Published:Friday | September 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkeem Masters/Gleaner Writer
Jack Scorpio
Jack Scorpio shows off a citation he received from the mayor of Connecticut, Luke Bronin, for his contribution to music.
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In 1968, Maurice Johnson, more popularly known as Jack Scorpio, started out in the industry by playing music at his home on Headley Avenue in Drewsland, St Andrew, on an instrument he called 'Dulcemina'.

"I started a sound name Special Hi, and the first thing mi buy a one likkle thing name Dulcemina. One side a turntable, and one side a speaker," he recalled.

Then a young selector, Jack Scorpio said he bought two records and began working magic. That was the start of a decorated 50-year career.

"That use to be every night until 1969. It start gather up a big crowd and it happen that it just a develop till mi go buy a likkle amplifier from a bredda downtown," he said.

Jack Scorpio said that his popularity grew, but political friction caused him to rename his sound system from Special Hi to Black Scorpio. He said the area in which he lived was aligned to the People's National Party, but people felt that the sound's name betrayed sympathies to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). The slogan being used at the time by the JLP was 'High Up'.

Since the birth of Black Scorpio, Jack Scorpio has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the music arena. He has gone on to win several sound clashes all over the world, with King Jammys being one of his chief rivals.

However, his musical expertise did not stop at the turntables, and he went on to produce numerous hit songs.

Jack Scorpio said he will be hosting a series of shows to celebrate with persons who have played a part in the longevity of his career.

"This show that I'm keeping in Jamaica is an award show where I want to give back to most of the people dem," he told The Gleaner.

The first of the three celebratory shows was held in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, last Saturday. He was recognised by the mayor of Connecticut, Luke Bronin, for his contribution to music.

"I travel the world and play music for thousands of people. I get a lot of awards, I win a lot of sound clashes, but this achievement from the mayor of Hartford is something that I appreciate getting at this stage of my career," he said.

Another of the anniversary events will be held in New York on September 29. Jack Scorpio will then return to Jamaica to hold the third show at House of Dancehall in Kingston on November 3.