I was playing some pre-Ska Jamaican music on my radio show when I received aphone-call from man with a crackly-voice.He said he’d heard me playing ‘Lollipop Girl’ (by the Jiving Juniors),
“I played drums on that for Mr. Dodd”, he stated simply. We were on a lot of those old Jamaican tunes.”
It was Lowell Morris. I had been looking for Lowell and anyone else linked to The Caribssince I was first tipped to the story two years earlier by a ska collector in New York.The irony was that, the whole time I had been hunting Lowell, he had been living only 5minutes from away in a neighbouring suburb. I rushed around to his house after theshow to do the interview.The Caribs Story rolled out before me that afternoon was even more incredible than Ihad hoped …
The Caribs in Australia
The year is 1958. Lowell Morris (Albert Park, Victoria - drums), Peter Stoddart(Adelaide, South Australia - piano), Dennis Sindrey (Camberwell, Victoria - guitar), MaxWildman (Hamilton, Victoria - saxophone) and an Haitian voodoo drum priest Albert LaGuerre (percussion) were the house band at the Paradise Hotel in Surfers Paradise,Queensland. They were called ‘The Caribs’ despite none other than La Gueree everhaving been to the Caribbean. A cabaret band, their stock-in-trade was Latin-Jazzmusic.That same year, the band’s leader, Max Wildman, travelled to Haiti to help with theadministration of a new restaurant there. He had previously owned a curry house inBurke Road, Camberwell. In Haiti, Wildman met a female representative of the JamaicaTourist Board, who nominated him for a position as manager of the new Glass Bucketnightclub in Kingston. He agreed to take on the role, on condition that he could bringThe Caribs with him to be the venue’s house-band.The Caribs accepted the invitation and travelled to the Jamaica, one-way tickets in hand- all except their La Guerre, who feared returning to the Caribbean having fled Haitiduring the Duvalier government’s vicious crack-down on voodoo practices.
The Glass Bucket and the Myrtle Bank
The Caribs arrived at the Glass Bucket in December 1958 and duly became the residentband. Lowell had some wonderful photos of them performing at the club. I looked atthem and immediately recognised their stand-up bass player, Lloyd Brevett! He went onto play bass in the greatest ska band of all time, the Skatalites. It turns out, Brevett’s firstfirst professional engagement was with the Caribs!Around August 1959, the Caribs left the Glass Bucket to take up residency at the MyrtleBank Hotel on Hope Road, Kingston. A Caribs performance centred around a floor-