Don Drummond

The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist


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About the Book

This is a comprehensive biography of a brilliant musician who forever shaped the course of ska, reggae, and popular music worldwide, only to take the life of his lover and in so doing, destroy his career at the age of 30. In his short life Don Drummond created an enduring legacy despite poverty, class separation, mental illness, racial politics, and the exploitation of his work. The words of Drummond’s childhood friends, classmates, musicians, medical staff, legal counsel, and teachers enliven this story of his “unusual mind.” They recall the early days in the recording studio, playing the instrumental backup for Bob Marley and others, and the nights in the Rasta camps where musicians burned the midnight oil and more. They remember the gyrations of his lover, Margarita, the Rumba Queen, as she tantalized audiences at Club Havana; tell what happened that tragic night when Drummond stabbed Margarita four times; reveal details of the trial (delayed more than a year as Drummond was ruled mentally unfit) and offer insights into Drummond’s death in a mental asylum at age 35.

About the Author(s)

Heather Augustyn is a continuing lecturer in the English department at Purdue Northwest. She has written seven books on ska and Jamaican music and lives in Northwest Indiana.

Bibliographic Details

Heather Augustyn

Foreword by Delfeayo Marsalis

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 29 photos, discography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7547-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0333-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Delfeayo Marsalis 1
Preface: The Known and Unknown 5
1. Barefoot Boy 9
2. Upward and Onward 17
3. The Monkey Tambourine Tree 27
4. Downtown Musician 41
5. Rhumba Queen 54
6. The Dark Destroyer 70
7. Ska Authentic 76
8. This Man Is Back 99
9. The Wareika Hills 118
10. Love in the Afternoon 131
11. Rusden Road 140
12. Tear Up 149
13. Her Majesty’s Pleasure 153
14. Bellevue 165
15. Burning Torch 182
Discography by Michael Turner 193
Essential Albums 221
Bibliography 223
Index 227

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Recommended”—Blues & Rhythm
  • “In this provocative and well-researched account, U.S. journalist Heather Augustyn aims to reach behind the myth of Don D, to place his life and work within their proper contexts…the book is a must-read for all ska fans, or anyone interested in Jamaican music in general”—Mojo: The Music Magazine
  • “Once again, author Heather Augustyn hits hard and deep…painstaking…Augustyn is to be commended for making this as thorough and complete as she was able to do”—