here’s a reason it’s considered the “Holy Grail” of Toronto Funk. The story behind this album is as amazing as the music itself. It begins in Montego Bay, Jamaica, 1947 with the birth of Wilfred “Wayne” McGhie. McGhie first gained notoriety playing on the Island circuit with the likes of the Celestials, Dizzy Barker, and Jimmy Wisdom. In the 1960’s, after the Canadian Government relaxed immigration policies, the streets of Toronto were no longer solely dominated by the white European, Scotts and Irish. Instead there were pockets of immigrant communities springing up all over the city. The Jamaican community used the West Indian Federation Club located on Brunswick Avenue as one of their cultural embassy’s. Or as Harry Gairey wrote, “We felt it would be some place for West Indian girls to go on their day off.”
This is where Jo Jo Bennett was tasked with forming a house band and where our story begins. Bennet recruited McGhie from Jamaica and after gigging at the WIF McGhie began to rise in local prominence. McGhie’s virtuoso was quickly recognized and found him writing songs like, “Chips-Chicken-Banana Split”, performed by Jo-Jo & The Fugatives and, “Mr. Fortune”, performed by the Hitchhikers – both featured on the Jamaica to Toronto compilation.