Bunny Rugs was an early member of Inner Circle, worked as an earlier duo member with “Bunny & Ricky” and recorded "Freedom Fighter" and "Bushweed Corntrash," but he is best known as the front man for Third World. Bunny had a magnificent voice that he maintained throughout his career. His voice was strong, powerful, and commanding. It’s hard to separate Bunny Rugs from Third World as the image is strong and cohesive.
When William Clark – Bunny Rugs passed away, we played two hours of his music in tribute. Our selections included two solo albums “Talking To You” on Shanachie and “Time” which was release in 2012. More treasures are contained in the Third World recordings. Dozens and dozens of releases to choose from and we built a “top ten” on the spot which was based on listener calls and requests.
Bunny Rugs joined Third World after Milton Hamilton left in 1976. In the following decades the core group of Third World consisted of Bunny Rugs, Irvin “Carrot” Jarrett, Michael “Ibo” Cooper, Stephen “Cat” Coore, Richie Daley, and Willie Stewart. Third World recorded for the Island/Mango label and allowed for high quality recordings to accompany the skilled instrumentalists that are Third World. Most members of Third World are unique in their formal musical training. As part of their performances, Cat Coore would bring out his cello and play a reggae laced song with that rich classical feel that the cello provides.
Third World stood out in what might be called a “golden era” of reggae bands of the 70s-80’s in Jamaica. Third World’s style is what set them apart – they were crossing over into American Soul with songs like “Now That We Found Love” and Try Jah Love.” Listening back now, the music is deep and soulful with a smooth groove, very different from today’s sound.
Third World’s legacy is strong in lyrical content. Rastafari, culture and social issues were always a focus. A focus which was not altered. Tracks like “Cold Sweat,” “Jah Glory,” “African Woman,” and “Shine Like A Blazing Fire” convey this reliable, rootsical message.
The uptown Third World bridged the message from the heart of Jamaica and worked alongside the greats in reggae music history as partners. Bunny Rugs was a great singer, as a group Third World is great in the studio and on vinyl and when performing live, they are a joy.