PIONEER deejay and sound system man, Winston ‘King Stitt’ Sparks, is recovering in the Kingston Public Hospital where he has been a patient for the past month.
Stitt’s longtime friend, musicologist Bunny Goodison, told the Observer that he responded to doctors and visitors for the first time in days, on Tuesday.
“We are encouraged by the latest developments because things weren’t looking too good,” Goodison said.
Stitt fell ill shortly after returning to Jamaica from Brazil where he performed at a festival in the city of San Luis. Chester Synmoie, manager to veteran deejay Lone Ranger, died during that trip. Stitt, who is in his late 60s, has been involved in the music business for over 50 years. Much of his career has been with the Studio One label of producer Clement ‘Coxson’ Dodd. Stitt started as an apprentice toaster to deejay Count Machuki on Dodd’s Downbeat sound system.
Most of his songs were recorded for Dodd, including Paradise Plum with trombonist Raymond Harper. One of Stitt’s biggest hit songs was Fire Corner which was done in the late 1960s for producer Clancy Eccles. An authority on the ska and rocksteady eras of the 1960s, Stitt has been featured in several documentaries and books tracing the history of Jamaican music.