KC Old Boy, Highland “Dobby” Dobson, was recently awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his contribution to the development of reggae music, and for his representation of Jamaican culture.
The award comes on the heels of the KCOBA New York Chapter honoring Dobson, along with Winston “Merritone” Blake, Frankie Campbell, and Howard Barrett for their contribution to the Jamaican music industry. Earlier this year, the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County, Florida also designated May 8, 2011, Dobby Dobson Appreciation Day.
Born in Trench Town, Dobson developed a love for music from his mother, who he unabashedly says he “dotes” on. “I sang the songs I heard my mother sing, the Patti Page, Theresa Brewer, etc.,” he says.
Dobson attended Central Branch Primary School. It was at Central Branch that he had his first foray into entertainment, securing the lead role in Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, which also starred the late Madge Sinclair of television series, Trapper John fame. After leaving primary school, he won a place at KC, his dream school.
“KC was as legendary as high-schools go. It was every young man's dream,” says Dobson. While at KC he continued to hone his musical talent and was a member of the legendary KC Choir. “My first hit, Cry a Little Cry, was written in the Assembly Hall for Biology teacher, Ms. Sonia Serrant, and recorded with Howard Barrett, Fuzzy Byfield, Dennis Gayle, and Winston "Sugar" Hart under the group name, Dobby and the Deltas.
“We used to perform at high school sixth form concerts and backed up Dobby, who was a solo act, and we later formed Dobby and the Deltas”, says Howard Barrett, who went on to help form the Paragons. “We would ‘skull’ a few classes and rehearse down by the weight room. Dobby was always a good love song singer, and I am glad to see him go on after all these years, and to see him recognized and receive the Order of Distinction.”
“Dobby was always a talented person even while still in school at KC,” says David Reid, a long-time friend, and a member of the Florida Chapter.
After leaving KC, Dobson spent two years at the University of the West Indies, pursuing political science under Trevor Monroe, and later enrolled at CAST for Marketing and Sales Management. He worked at the Daily Gleaner as a proof reader, then at the Civil Service at the Ministry of Labor as a Labour Officer recruiting laborers for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He then went into the private sector and worked as Brand Manager at Colgate Palmolive (JA) Ltd., and afterwards became Caribbean Brand Manager for Cadbury Foods (JA) Ltd. with responsibility for Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados.
However, his first love was always music, and over the years he continued to crank out hit after hit, including: That Wonderful Sound, Sweet Dreams, Loving Pauper, among others. Dobson credits his success and longevity in the music business to “simplicity and the fact that I only sing love songs.”
Dobson’s advice to budding artists: “Laughingly, I'd say be simple and sing only love songs. Love is forever, as perennial as the grass.” Dobson continues to give back to KC and has performed at the Big Purple Session.
Multi-talented, Dobson’s latest project is a novel, The Misadventures of Saucy and her Mama, which is available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and at the Apple store as an e-book.
“Music has shaped my life. It has kept me a dreamer, seeing good in all,” he says.