Third World

Third World on the corner of Maxfield Ave. in Kingston. (1992)

Yesterday we learned of the passing of another reggae great, Bunny Rugs Clarke, vocalist for Third World. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen Third World, their Reggae Sunsplash shows were always amazing. Bunny had one of the best voices in reggae (in my opinion anyway) he was always smooth and consistent. He was a real down to earth guy with great sense of humor.

I had photographed them dozens of times over the years and loved every minute of it. For this shoot I was doing the still photos for the video of their song “Committed” which was shot in various locations around Kingston. This was a fun two-day shoot despite the 14 hr days spent working. This shot was done during the morning rush hour on Maxfield avenue. If anyone knows about Kingston traffic, it’s crazy! I remember them trying to shoot around the traffic since the camera was positioned across the street cars were constantly driving by and slowing down to see wha gwan. At one point Bunny was out in the road directing traffic waiving cars by, this scene is in the video.

Bunny was also an unabashed herbalist, smoking ganja wherever and whenever he wanted. At one point in the shoot the director was getting worried about his eyes being so red that she sent someone out to find some Visine for his eyes. This was one of my more memorable shoots since in the downtime we were all just hanging out together, me listening to the stories they told. This is also when I started my interviews for my book Reggae Island, they all had some interesting things to say about music and the state of the music business. I  remember talking with him and telling him that we both shared the same birthday (Feb. 6th) he let out a big laugh and then went on about all the famous who had the same birthday, Bob Marley being perhaps the most famous. He died just four days shy of his 66th birthday.

I would be hard-pressed to say what my favorite Third World song would be but the first four releases have some of their most crucial material, not to discount the later releases but those are just my personal favorites. I think I went through two copies of “Prisoner in the Streets” I played it so often. I will miss seeing them live and miss the energy their shows put out, the crowd always going wild singing along to every song. It was nothing but positive vibes.

Jah guide Bunny, you will be missed. “Now that we found love what are we gonna do with it?”

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