Play, 'Mr Bassie'
Leroy Sibbles

Startime, the long-running vintage music show, returns on January 9 at the Mas Camp in Kingston. The Jamaica Observer, an associate sponsor, continues a series of features on the event.

THE rocksteady era of the late 1960s produced several great songwriters and musicians. One of them was Leroy Sibbles of harmony trio The Heptones.

Sibbles, an headliner for this Saturday's Startime show, has an enviable record as artiste, bass player and arranger.

While numerous Jamaican artistes have covered or sampled his work, 'foreign' acts have done so with even greater success. In 1982, Musical Youth, a British teen group with Jamaican heritage, hit it big in the United Kingdom and United States with the novelty song, Pass The Dutchie. It was done to the beat of Full Up, a popular instrumental co-written by Sibbles and keyboardist Jackie Mittoo.

Pass The Dutchie went top 10 in the UK and US.

Seven years later, hot British group UB40 covered the Heptones' hit song Baby for their Labour of Love II album. Sibbles co-wrote the song with colleagues Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn and played bass on the original.

The album, which contained covers of Jamaican hit songs, sold well worldwide.