Bunny Rugs will be remembered as one of reggae’s distinct voices. His smooth baritone made Third World songs like Always Around, Now That We Found Love and Try Jah Love classics.
Ten years ago while working on his solo album, Time, Rugs recorded Let’s Pray, a song produced by Young Veterans Music. It was released last week, just days before he will be posthumously awarded the Order of Distinction (OD) by the Jamaican Government.
Rugs died from cancer in February 2014 at age 65.
Sheldon Pennicott of Young Veterans Music said Let’s Pray, which features Luciano, is a tribute to Rugs who joined Third World in 1976. He was still the band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist at the time of his death.
Time. I knew Bunny for several years before his passing and mainly cultivated a friendship during the period when I was working with him on his solo album,” Pennicott explained. “He used our studio to do most of his writing and recording anytime he was in Jamaica.”
Guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith and drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis of Soul Syndicate band fame; bassist Christopher Meredith, keyboardist Paul Crossdale, Caret Donegan (piano), Stephen Wise (saxophone) and Pam Hall (harmony) worked on
According to Pennicott, Rugs requested Luciano’s appearance on the song. His vocals were recorded last year.
“We placed a lot of effort in this song to truly make it a classic. We wanted to uphold the spirit and attention to the detail I know Mr Rugs would be proud of,” he said.
Bunny Rugs was born William Clarke in Manchester. He migrated to the United States in the late 1960s but returned to Jamaica during the early 1970s and worked with the Inner Circle band as well as producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.
In 1976, he joined Third World. That year, the band released their self-titled debut album on Island Records.
Bunny Rugs will be awarded the OD next Monday, National Heroes Day, during the National Honours and Awards Ceremony at King’s House.