Reggae Musician, Singer and Producer Pluto Shervington Anniversary Concert Hosted by MC Tommy Cowan
by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – This year, Pluto Shervington celebrates his 50th anniversary in show business. Fittingly, the thoroughbred entertainer marks the occasion with a gig at Gulfstream racetrack in Hallandale (Sports of Kings Theatre 501 Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach) on Friday, February 21st.
The singer/guitarist, known for easy-listening hit songs like Dat, I Man Born Ya and Ram Goat Liver, will share the spotlight with longtime friends Inner Circle, Third World, Boris Gardiner, Ernie Smith, Carlene Davis and Tommy Cowan.
Shervington was born in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, but has lived in South Florida for 43 years. His fans are a mix of West Indian expatriates and Americans.
Though his hit songs were recorded during the turbulent 1970s in Jamaica, Shervington made his name in Magic City playing laid-back venues including Sundays by The Bay and Bahama Breeze.
“I lived in Jamaica for 27 years and performed for eight of those. I have lived in Miami for 43 years and performed for all. Miami has been very good to me,” he said, before cracking: “My entire family is here; six children, five grandchildren, a beautiful wife of 28 years and two ex-wives.”
Pluto Shervington came into the music business in 1969 as a guitarist and vocalist for Tomorrow’s Children, a leading show band in Jamaica. It was not until 1974 that he launched his recording career at Federal Records, which was the base for Smith and guitarist Willie Lindo, who would also become a foundation of South Florida reggae.
Dat, a humorous dig at a cash-strapped Rastafarian buying pork, and Ram Goat Liver, endeared him to Jamaicans during the mid-1970s when their country was in the midst of political turmoil.
Fans were ambiguous to I Man Born Ya which some believe was a poke at the socialist government of prime minister Michael Manley. Shervington is amazed at that song’s durability.
“I performed at a concert at Jamaica House (prime minister’s residence in Kingston) in 1976. When I performed I Man Born Ya the huge crowd of nearly 20,000 roared and sang every word. Michael Manley then came up on stage with me,” he recalled.
Shervington moved to the United States when South Florida’s reggae scene was taking shape. He joined King Sporty and Bob Marley as residents, and maintained a steady schedule of recording and live dates that contributed to his status as one of the region’s elder statesmen.
It has made for a meaningful career.
“Truthfully, I cannot remember having a disappointment in my career. Surely ups and downs, but no real disappointment,” he said.