The Music We Play

How Would You Choose?

My younger brother reads my last music post and being a music buff himself, he asks what my favourite songs are from that period of potent beats in Jamaica’s history between the 1960s and 70s.

In my head, my initial response is, “Mi nuh know??!!” Not because I don’t know, but because trying to answer the question will set off a firestorm in my brain.

One of the striking murals you'll find at the Bob Marley Museum, St. Andrew.
One of the striking murals you’ll find at the Bob Marley Museum, St. Andrew.

Music runs through my veins, arteries, heart and soul. It would’ve been easier to ask me which meat I prefer: chicken or pork? (hint, hint) I could’ve answered definitively and walked away; moved on with my life.

But as I watch the Rousseau sisters visit ‘Viva’ and ‘Mama Roots’ in search of herbal remedies for chikungunya aches, pains and prevention (2 Sisters and a Meal, TVJ), a wrestling match is underway in my brain. It’s unwilling to release the question.

So what do I do? There’s only one thing to do: face it head on.

“Self?” I said to myself. “Have a go at it. But be scientific in your approach.”

Laptop on my knees, I begin typing my list. On this list shall be songs that make me,
1. Jump up and dance the quickest
2. Sing the loudest and/or
3. Render me speechless with their words, arrangements or a wicked bass

To prevent myself from going hog wild, I set ground rules:
1. Choose only 10, no 15 songs
2. Exclude the songs in the last music post (click here, if you’re curious)
3. Pick 5 songs from each era
4. An artiste can only appear once on the list–no exceptions, not even for Bob!

Now that the smoke has cleared in the lab, I present to you, my list. Genre and approximate release dates are in brackets (had to do a little research here). Not all songs reflect the original artiste, but the ones whose version I enjoy the most. Songs are listed in random order. Check them out on YouTube. See if you remember them.

1. Carry Go Bring Come – Justin Hinds & The Dominoes (ska, 1963)
2. Miss Jamaica – Jimmy Cliff (ska, 1962)
3. Jamaica Ska – Keith and Ken/Byron Lee & the Dragonaires (ska, 1964)
4. Soon You’ll Be Gone – The Blues Busters (ska, 1965)
5. Don’t Stay Out Late – Lord Creator (ska, 1962)
6. Take it Easy – Hopeton Lewis (rocksteady, 1966)
7. Baba Boom – The Jamaicans (rocksteady, 1967)
8. Girl I’ve Got a Date – Alton Ellis (rocksteady, 1967)
9. Unity – Desmond Dekker (rocksteady, 1967)
10. Happy Go Lucky Girl – The Paragons (rocksteady, 1967)
11. Book of Rules – The Heptones (reggae, 1973)
12. One Love – Bob Marley and the Wailers (reggae version, 1977)
13. Woman is Like Shadow – The Meditations (reggae, 1976)
14. Have Mercy – Mighty Diamonds (reggae, 1976)
15. Everything I Own – Ken Boothe (reggae, 1974)

Of course, I’m pretty sure I’ll be kicking my own butt after hitting the “publish” button on this post because I’ll suddenly remember 40 million other songs I could’ve squeezed in.

Well, that’s it from me for now. I’m off to bawl over my patty and plantain tart until I feel a tups a relief in mi heart.

But I throw out the challenge to you: name your favourites!

Peace and love,