June 4, 2006

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan on India in West Indies 2006

Reggae with Big Bad Dread and the Baldhead

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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It was a sight to watch Curtly Ambrose, that archetypal destroyer, and Richie Richardson, that marauding hookmeister, strum gentle reggae tunes and regale an audience. Both are part of The Big Bad Dread and the Baldhead, whose latest performance was at Spliff, an outdoor bar close to the ARG.

Curtly was on bass guitar, Richie was on rhythm. For the early part of the show, Curtly was on the right extreme and Richie was on the left, while Bankers, the lead singer, and Jason, the drummer, orchestrated the show. Soon, with television cameramen and other mediapersons showering them with all the spotlight, both decided to mingle with the crowd.

In the crowd was Bridgette, Curtly's wife, and Aileen, Richie's wife. Bridgette says they've been playing seriously since 2002, adding that Curtly used to fool around with the guitar even during his playing days. Bridgette met Ambrose through her cousin – Winston Benjamin, one in a long line of Antiguans who bowled fast. Curtly's favourite band, Bridgette reveals, is Culture, a reggae band that was a part of the vibrant, politically-charged Jamaican reggae scene in the late '70s.

Bankers decided to have some fun by taking off from a reggae number, starting an impromptu rendition of Hotel California. Tanya, Curtly's daughter, isn't surprised – "they do this all the time".

Curtly and Richie weren't the only Test cricketers there. In the crowd is Patterson Thompson, the promising fast bowler who played only two Tests. Named after two deadly fast bowlers – Patrick Patterson and Jeff Thompson – he had a shocker of a debut against New Zealand at Barbados, when he bowled as many as 26 no-balls. In the partying stakes, though, with Curtly and Richie setting the tone, he was quite unstoppable.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is a former assistant editor at Cricinfo

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