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‘An inventive, solid musician’

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Calypso icon: Lawrence Minors

Lawrence Minors, a popular member of Bermuda’s shrinking fraternity of veteran calypso artists, has died at the age of 73.

The bassist played with the Bermuda Strollers, one of the island’s internationally known acts that grew out of the heyday of performers on the local hotel circuit.

“Lawrence was my buddy; he had the finest personality in the world, really comical,” recalled Ridgley Darrell, a drummer for the group.

The Bermuda Strollers went on to travel extensively through college towns and clubs in New England and Canada.

Mr Darrell recalled early days at Elbow Beach, where the group performed for college crowds, and used material from the hotel’s “prettiest curtains in the world” for their first sets of trousers.

“We went from there to the Forty Thieves for years, and places like Casey’s. We had a ball.”

Led by Ted Ming with John Ming, the group featured Stan “Lord Necktie” Seymour and Rudy Ford; musicians such as Lance Furbert also played with the Strollers, whose sound was billed as rock calypso.

Mr Minors had come from an earlier group, the Sprites. Mr Furbert, taken on as a drummer with the Bermuda Strollers, recalled him as a highly accomplished player.

“An inventive, very solid player who held the band together,” Mr Furbert said.

“He actually partially taught me to play the bass. When he got tired of touring he was kind enough to stay on and coach me.”

Mr Minors was “a terrific bass player who was doing things that later became popular; for example, he was one of the first guys I saw thump to the bass with his thumb”.

Mr Furbert added: “Minors was the kind of guy who, when you least expected it, would come out with something really funny. He had a quiet sort of way; you never knew what he was going to say.”

A resident of Roberts Avenue in Devonshire, Mr Minors moved to Lorraine Rest Home. Mr Seymour described him as “a hell of a nice guy, likeable, very talented and a very good performer — we got along well”.

“I will always remember him. He did a lot for entertainment in Bermuda,” he added. “A lot of the guys I worked with are gone. I just turned 87; I hope they are not calling me.

“We had a fantastic time singing on the cruises, working all the hotels. As I said, most are gone. Time will do that.”

The Bermuda Strollers, from left, Stan "Lord Necktie" Seymour, Lawrence Minors, Rudy Ford, Richard Darrell and Ted Ming with the guitar