The beautiful island of Barbados where Lloyd Wilson is from

Lloyd Wilson as a member of one of his early groupsI was born and raised in Barbados, a small Island in the Caribbean which has a rich history in music and culture, it provided a fertile learning ground for young musicians. My earliest memories were hearing the salvation army band, my father said I loved to follow them marching, there were also calypso steel bands and church choirs. At the age of 7, my family moved to England for a few years, which is where I saw television shows featuring artists like Paul Robeson and Jimmy Smith on Jazz USA. Back in Barbados I finished high school, then played with a group called the Troubadours, then my brother created a group named the Fantastics, which was in the style of the Supremes. Shortly thereafter we went out on our own, playing Booker T covers and songs by the Funky Meters. We worked the Hotel circuit, then we landed a recording contract with WIRL to record an album and backup other singers, for their projects. We were the Barbados version of BookerT and the MG’s, which was the famous backup band for Stax records in Memphis. We recorded with singers like Fern Trail, Rudy Boyce, Johnny Braf and Mark Holder from Guiana, as well as Richard Stoute and The Arrow. I also did an album with the world-famous calypso group The Merrymen, and Jackie Opel. This led to tours throughout the surrounding Islands.

Young Lloyd with a brimming afroIt was in Trinidad where we battled The Casanovas, then to St. Vincent, Martinique, St. Kitts, Nevis Dominica, Grenada, Monserrat, and St Marteen. It was during those years the Platters came to Barbados and hired me as their keyboardist, also giving me my first opportunity to arrange. When the Platters disbanded I formed the Organization, which lasted for about year and resulted in my first production of a full album, shortly thereafter I was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA in 1974. There was plenty of work back in the early years of growing up in Barbados, many groups were playing around town and our music was well received. Our groups also traveled to surrounding Islands for gigs, clubs were abundant on Islands like Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Martinique, and many others. Little did I know this type of travel would prepare me for the intense touring I would later do as a member of the Red Prysock Trio.

The Fantastics

Lloyd Wilson as a member of the Barbados group The Fantastics

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