'I've paid my dues' Pelham Goddard happy with UWI honour
Ace musician Pelham Goddard said when he was told he would be conferred with an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies' St Augustine campus, he felt very happy.
With a gleam in his eye and joy on his face, PG, as he is fondly called, said: “I feel honoured because sometimes people feel that musicians aren’t recognised. So any time a musician or artiste gets something of that nature you feel great about it.”
The master keyboardist said with a big laugh: “Some people are calling me heckling me, telling me, 'Doc! Doc! I have a pain here.' But people seem to be happy for me because they know I have been playing music for so long.”
Goddard started playing music with bands from 1967, but before that he played in schools, church and community concerts.
“For well over 65 years I have been playing, so that is more than paying dues.”
Asked about the volume of his work to date, PG said: “I never did a count of the amount of songs I worked on or produced, but it is a lot. When you consider I worked with Ed Watson, Art de Coteau, Earl Rodney, Clive Bradley, on songs that were hits like Sugar Bum Bum (Kitchener), La La (Nelson), Bassman (Shadow), Woman on the Bass (Scrunter) and with Roots and David Rudder and Chris 'Tambu' Herbert and Austin 'SuperBlue' Lyons, it is a lot.”
Goddard first played with the Pete de Vlaught orchestra in the sixties, then went on to The Clan, The Flames, Esquires Brass band and Sensational Roots.
“In 1972, I went to St Thomas with a whole plane full of calypsonians and played for all of them.
"After that, all they want is Pelham in the recording studio with them,” said Goddard with a grin.
Four years after the Berklee College of Music graduate got into pan music, he started arranging for Third World Steel Orchestra. The steelband’s version of Goddard’s arrangement of Gold and American Patrol remain among pan aficionados’ all-time classics.
But long before that, Goddard was one of many musicians experimenting with sounds and music at the now defunct KH Studios, where soca was birthed.
He recalled: “To me, I think soca was a collaborative effort where people were working to do different things, and Shorty (Garfield Blackman) is the one that came up with the name.
By Joan Rampersad
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday