Count Suckle was born Wilbert Augustus Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica in 1931. He was one of thirteen children and grew up in poverty. In 1952 with his friends Vincent Forbes (Duke Vin) and Lenny Fry they stowed away on a banana boat leaving Jamaica bound for England. They settled in London's Ladbroke Grove. Duke Vin was to establish the first sound system in the UK. Count Suckle soon followed and by 1956 the Count Suckle Sound System was playing in the African-Caribbean community by playing at private Blue's parties. He became resident DJ at the Roaring Twenties club at 50 Carnaby Street, London. It was 1961 and he began playing records sent to him by Prince Buster from JA. He had contacts in the USA and also had the latest R&B records playing on his turntable. Later had bookings at the Flamingo Club in Wardour St, London. He opened his own club in 1964, as the venue had a basement previously used as a snooker and billards club he named it the Cue Club; it was located at 5a Praed Street, Paddington, W.2
The club was open seven nights a week it had a licensed bar and a restaurant; also live acts appearing mainly at the weekends. which were just about every top act and band from Jamaica and the USA. Prince Buster, Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, The Skatalites, Bob Marley, Joyce Bond, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Edwin Starr, Maxime Brown, Billy Stewart, Garnet Mimms and Jimmy McGriff all played there over the years.
The club was for members only and became a favourite of the smart young Mods who attended the allnight sessions and mixed with black Londoners to hear the latest Ska and Soul Music. Count Suckle had a massive and exclusive record collection built up over many years. Due to the club's success it was not long before Count Suckle could be seen driving his cream Corniche Rolls-Royce around the streets of London.
The club changed it name to the Q Club and continued on through the Seventies. Another name change in 1981 was to the People's Club and finally it closed in 1986.
In May 2014 he died of a heart attack. He was 82 years old. He is survived by his partner Rosetta Whyte, two sons and a daughter.
In 2008 Count Suckle took part in the documentary, Duke Vin, Count Suckle and the Birth of Ska, directed by Gus Berger, which acknowledged his contribution to British popular music and dance culture.
60's Flyers ¦ Baba Brooks ¦ Back Tracking ¦ Coxsone Record Label ¦ C.S.Dodd ¦ Count Suckle ¦ Coxone Record Label ¦ Doctor Bird Records ¦ Duke Reid ¦ Duke Vin ¦ Island Records ¦ London Gig Guide ¦ Prince Buster ¦ Pyramid Record Label ¦ Rarest Ska Albums
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