The Jamaican music industry was strongly represented at Saturday’s thanksgiving service for the life of music producer Robert “Bobby Digital” Dixon, held at the Pembroke Hall High School Auditorium in Kingston.
Dixon, one of contemporary reggae’s most successful figures, died at age 59 on May 22 from complications of heart and kidney disease.
“Based on circumstances (restrictions of the COVID-19) , he got a very good turnout. Bobby deserves it,” said Dr Dennis Howard, Dixon’s long-time friend who coordinated the service.
Several artistes who worked with Dixon during his 36-year career as a producer and engineer performed. They included singers Nadine Sutherland, Duane Stephenson, Nikki Burt, Lukie D, saxophonist Dean Fraser, and Richie Stephens.
Also performing was a trio from Pembroke Hall High School.
There were tributes from Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Dixon’s son Craig, son-in-law Craig Smith, brother-in-law Robert White and Chris Chin (recorded), CEO of VP Records. His daughter, Trudy-Ann Dixon-Smith, delivered the eulogy.
In the congregation were people associated with Dixon throughout his prolific career. Among them, musician/producer Cleveland “Clevie” Browne, singer Orville “Bagga” Case of Home T, percussionist Bongo Herman, producer/engineers Colin “Bulby” York and Lynford “Fatta” Marshall, drummer Desi Jones, impresario Clyde McKenzie, keyboardist Christopher Birch, Lloyd Evans of Blue Mountain Music, deejay Jah Thomas, drummer Kirk Bennett, and producer Paul “Jah Screw” Love.
Dr Michael Smith was officiating minister. Interment took place at Dovecot Cemetery in St Catherine.
From the working-class community of Olympic Gardens in Kingston, Dixon became a full-fledged producer in the late 1980s after a successful internship as an engineer at the studio of engineer/producer Lloyd King Jammy’s James.
His first major hit song was Peenie Peenie by Shabba Ranks.
Dixon had a golden run during the 1990s when he produced a number of hit songs by Shabba Ranks. Among them were Just Reality, Live Blanket and Wicked In A Bed.
He is one of the producers for the deejay’s Grammy-winning album, As Raw as Ever.
As his reputation grew, Dixon produced a series of hit songs. They include Till I’m Laid to Rest by Buju Banton; Cocoa Tea and Admiral Tibet’s Serious Times, I Can’t Wait by Sanchez, Garnet Silk (It’s Growing), and Sizzla ( Black Woman and Child).
His Digital B catalogue includes two outstanding albums — Morgan Heritage’s Don’t Haffi Dread and Da Real Thing by Sizzla.