His friends called him ‘Bugga’. Ladies called him ‘sugar’. His mother or father must have named him Minott. Bugga lost his front teeth but luckily that had no effect on his sexy soulful voice.
In London, Bugga sang for the Reggae underground, mainly Yardie guys from Jamaica. It was the late 1970s and Four Aces on Dalston Lane was a hardcore Reggae joint. Legend has it that Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and other big stars performed there. Four Aces was now a hideaway for Reggae sound systems and occasional star appearances. Three wide-eyed fans took the night bus from Neasden Bus Garge to check out Bugga.
We entered the dimly lit club and wondered how people moved about. Well, they rarely did. You simply found yourself a spot and “settled’. Close to the DJ, I stood next to this old Rasta who kept sending me to the bar. After a few tipples of Cockspur Rum, he felt familiar enough to tell me about his life in Kingston. He said he was grateful to Bugga because he always saved him from disgrace when a girl came around.
The bass drowned most of his words but I got this. Because he was no sweet-talking man, Bugga’s romantic records did the talking for him. “But sometimes,” he said, “after the girl get de ‘sugar’ from Bugga, she buggers off, innit”. We laughed too but stopped as his demeanour changed.
” Sekkle, sekkle, me people”, DJ called out and introduced Bugga. He jogged to the stage and signalled to the soundman to turn up the bass amplifiers. That shook up the very foundations of the building. At the front of the stage were lots of sexy street girls in Batty Ridders sipping Baby Champ and ‘wyning’ as provocatively as they could. Their men looked on at the bar smoking Sensi and knocking back bottles of rum
“Lovers Rock” was definitely for the girls.
On top of the Pops, Bubba was energetic but his demeanour was very different. It was like he was entertaining at a children’s party.
Bugga dedicated ” Born in the Ghetto” and an earlier version of ‘Herb man Hustling’ to “Mi Sensimilia brethren’. They shouted “Bugga!” “Bugga!” and slapped the tables and walls 😱
Bugga passed on in 2010, a truly hard-working artist, hugely popular in London’s Reggae underground, Japan and other places – but sadly not so recognised in Jamaica.