Sam Carty

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Carty is remembered for his Song Festival entries in the early 80s when he fought off competition to secure a place among the final 10 contenders for the title. The Jamaican Song Festival began in 1966,…
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Carty is remembered for his Song Festival entries in the early 80s when he fought off competition to secure a place among the final 10 contenders for the title. The Jamaican Song Festival began in 1966, held in Kingston’s National Arena. Winners have included many of reggae’s finest performers - the Maytals have secured three victories: the first in the inaugural competition with ‘Bam Bam’, their second in 1969 with ‘Sweet And Dandy’, culminating with ‘Pomps And Pride’ in 1972. Eric Donaldson is renowned for his achievements, notably with his 1971 winner, the distinguished ‘Cherry Oh Baby’. He repeated his triumph in 1977 with ‘Sweet Jamaica’ and again the following year with ‘Land Of My Birth’. In 1981 Carty entered the arena when he performed the favoured ‘Jam Rock’, which proved a popular local hit in terms of both sales and airplay. The song was the runner-up, being beaten by Tinga Stewart’s ‘No Where Better Than Yard’. Undeterred, Carty re-entered the competition the following year with his own composition, ‘Feeling Sweet’. His 1982 entry was fragmentary, although he scraped through, winning accolades alongside the Astronauts, the Mighty Diamonds and Tinga Stewart in the opening round. Carty remained a relatively unknown performer outside of Jamaica and in 1990 he released, International Slackness, although it was not as the title suggested risqué. Donaldson enjoyed two further victories while Carty was never able to achieve a win, although in 1996, inspired by the 30th anniversary celebration, a retrospective evaluation of the Festival included much of his work.