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Volume No. 2 Issue No. 30 - Monday February 25, 2008
Starret Francois of the Gaylords Power Union dies at the age of 60
By Thomson Fontaine

starret francois
Starret Francois was a musical icon.
Starret Francois of the Gaylords Power Union dies at the age of 60 Dominicans who were alive in the 60’s and 70’s remember the Gaylords Power Union, they remember “Hit me with music” and of course they remember the blind music genius Starret Francois, Dominica’s own ‘Stevie Wonder’.

Sadly, Starret who hailed from Thibaud, died in London at the age of 60 from acute renal failure, leaving behind a son, four daughters and five grand children.

I was too young to remember everything about the band but throughout the years I have occasionally thought about and remembered the Gaylords and Starret Francois.

It’s kind of weird, but growing up listening to radio, you knew who was hot and who was not. The Gaylords was particularly memorable because of the skill of Starret, the fact that he was legally blind, and the incomparable musical talent which surrounded that group.

When the Gaylords reunited in 2003, to make a one-off nostalgic appearance at Dominica's world renowned Creole Festival, the crowds erupted. People remembered. By that time, Gaylords along with Grammacks, Exile One, Midnight Groovers, Belles Combo, Swinging Stars, Bill-O-Men, and Black Affairs had all taken their places among the greats of Dominica’s unrelenting musical talent.

The Gaylords of Dominica were extremely popular particularly during Carnival. Gracing the streets of Roseau from 1966 to 1974. Members (during the lifetime of the group) included [Greg Breaker who is now the lead vocalist with Hot Chocolate, now using the sobriquet of Billy Brown), Clayton 'Baby Julie' Guiste (now with the New Serenaders Band), Crispin Seaman, Dennis Joseph, Tony 'Bingo' Henderson, Alwin 'Cocky' Polydore, Lionel Pinard, Fitzroy 'Fat Cap' Williams (later to be with Exile One), Starret Francois, Archie Francis, Walter Cooke and Julian Gibson]].

They later changed their name to Gaylords Power Union. They recorded three albums, Love, Peace and the Caribbean (WIRL,1972), Karybian Explosion (Antillana,1970) and To Dominica with Love (Antillana,1969), as well as several singles (45rpm), the most popular of which was "Hit Me With Music".

They toured the entire Caribbean, working the hotels in Barbados, St. Lucia and the Virgin Islands, sharing bills with Jimmy Cliff and the Mighty Sparrow, then the Caribbean's premiere calypsonian. Then in 1971, they played Brooklyn in New York (where they recently made a nostalgic comeback appearance in 2004), and Montreal in Canada.

In 1973, they toured the United Kingdom together with John Holt (the 1000 volts of Holt tour and appeared in Edmonton, with Bob Marley, when they re-recorded Hit Me With Music on the Spark label, produced by Dave Clark of the Dave Clark Five. They returned to the UK in 1974 for another tour, and split up in September 1974, when founder member and lead singer, Greg Breaker decided to go solo.

The funeral service will be held at St. John's Church, Desborough Road, London, on Thursday, 28th February at 12 noon.

The family have opened a condolences website for those interested in registering their sympathies.

Editor’s note: Information on the Gaylords used in compiling this report was taken from E-mail to a friend

Comments about this article? Email:
[email protected]

Volume No. 2 Issue No. 7
Old ways dominate
Lois Commodore-Gospel artist
Rivets and windmills
Cabrits from ruins
2007 budget missing link

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