Love & Togetherness: Classic R&B Meets Reggae in Jamaica

by Howard Campbell

Russell Thompkins Jr. and The New Stylistics - Love & Togetherness R&B meets reggae
Russell Thompkins Jr. and The New Stylistics

 

KINGSTON, Jamaica  — Classic R&B comes to Jamaica in August in the form of Love & Togetherness, a show featuring Russell Thompkins Jr. and The New Stylistics. The bill is completed by reggae singers Kashief Lindo, Wayne Wade, Richie Stephens and Heather Cummings-Williams.

Love & Togetherness takes place here August 17 at Hope Botanical Gardens. It is promoted by Sugarcane Productions and Boundbrook Wines.

Charles Simms, spokesperson for the promoters, said shows blending American R&B and  homegrown reggae have always been winners. He expects longtime fans of Russell Thompkins Jr., original singer of The Stylistics, to show up in their numbers.

“I’ve always liked their music, I like what they stand for. I think they’re a really good group,” he said.

Thompkins Jr. left The Stylistics in 2000 and after a brief break from the music scene, started The New Stylistics, which is active throughout the United States. He sang lead on most of the Philadelphia-reared group’s hit songs, including Betcha By Golly Wow, People Make The World go Round, Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart and Break up to Make Up.

Most of their hits from the early 1970s were produced, written or co-written by Jamaican Thom Bell.

Wade (Love You Too Much) and Lindo (No Can Do) recorded hit singles for producer Willie Lindo’s South Florida-based Heavy Beat Records during the 1980s and 1990s. Their songs from that label continue to resonate with dancehall fans.

Stephens is one of the most enduring artists in dancehall-reggae. Maniac, Fight Back, Trying to Get to You and Sail Away are some of his popular songs.