WITH the local entertainment industry at a standstill because of covid19, many entertainers have taken to social media to keep “locked in” with their fan base, as well as to keep the music flowing.
One major surprise on Facebook, recently, was the appearance of veteran musician, composer, arranger Pelham “PG” Goddard who has posted his musical versions of several popular songs.
The reaction to Goddard's music online is very interesting, with some commenting, "this is the type of music the nation needs at this time.”
Among the selections Goddard, 74, played were Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed, David Rudder’s Dedication, Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Trouble Waters, Celine Dion’s The Prayer, Andre Crouch’s My Tribute, Michael Masser and Linda Creed’s The Greatest Love of All, Mariah Carey’s Hero, and Black Stalin’s Stay Giving Praises.
On a visit to Goddard’s Agra 9 Studio in St James, the reason for his choice of music was revealed. Goddard was behind the piano playing Just the Two of Us, made popular by the late Bill Withers and Grover Washington Jr.
“With all this time on my hand not playing, I just wanted to keep my fingers nimble and my mind active,” he said. “This type of music is a shift from the norm and I just got into it. Actually I am in the process of doing several backing tracks so any vocalist can call me to get any song they want to sing.”
Goddard has a rich legacy in music. He started an early love affair with music when his father brought home a piano in 1959. Growing up in St James, he was also exposed to the Hosay celebrations, and got involved with playing tassa drums. To this day he can still be seen in the annual celebrations.
In his early years, Goddard played with several brass bands including The Clan, The Flames, and then Pete de Vlught Orchestra. He was introduced to pan by his older brothers who all played pan. He first played a five-bass with Starlift.
In 1972 Goddard got an opportunity to arrange for a brass band when the late Clive Bradley asked him to hold on for him with Esquire Now Combo as he (Bradley) had to work with Desperadoes. At that time, Goddard was also engaged in completing a music course at Berklee College of Music.
In that same year (1972), Third World Steel Orchestra asked him to become arranger for the band, and he obliged. The steel orchestra is remembered for its sterling performances of Gold and American Patrol. Both songs arranged by Goddard and made the music charts locally.
In 1983 Goddard started a relationship with both Invaders and Starlift Steel Orchestras. He was introduced to Exodus Steel Orchestra in 1989 and has since won four National Panorama titles, and one World Steelband Music Festival win as arranger.
Over the years, Goddard has worked with top soca and calypso artistes, including Lord Shorty (Ras Shorty I), Shadow, Calypso Rose, Blue Boy/SuperBlue, Singing Francine, the Mighty Sparrow, and Charlie's Roots.
He is also responsible for the music in the early years of David Rudder’s career.
Goddard’s sojourn in the world of calypso and soca has won him 13 road marches in Carnival, starting in 1977 with Calypso Rose and Tempo. This victory enabled Calypso Rose to become the first female calypsonian to win the Road March title. The duo accomplished the feat again in 1978 with Soca Jam.
His third title came in 1980 with Austin “Blue Boy” Lyons and the controversial song Soca Baptist. He and Blue Boy also won in 1981 and 1983 with Ethel and Rebecca, respectively.
In 1986 Goddard and Rudder teamed up to produce Bahia Girl for his sixth road march. What followed from 1988 was phenomenal as Goddard and Christopher “Tambu” Herbert won three straight Road Marches with This Party is It, Free Up Free Up, and No No We eh Going Home (1988, 1989, 1990).
Goddard proved to the world that he was truly the king of the road with the second coming of Austin Lyons, this time as SuperBlue. The two came up with another hat-trick of wins in 1991, 1992 and 1993 with Get Something and Wave, Jab Jab, and Bacchanal Time. The duo won again in 1995 with Signal to Lara.
Goddard was awarded for his contribution to the music and culture of TT with a National Award – Humming Bird Silver in 1994. In 2002 he won the Caribbean Sunshine Award for Arranger of the Year and last year (2019) he was bestowed with an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of the West Indies for his contribution to music production and entertainment.