got treats fi you mon!"
A gritty, warm, soulful slice of Jamaican culture
like bammies and guava jelly!
The Facts behind the music...
The first selection represents side one of a tape I was given in Ocho Rios,
Jamaica, during the summer of 1995. It was part of a music sharing experience
with some locals living on the mountainside.
The shell of this first cassette has written on it Touch of Class Musik
and Shanka Live in Limelight and is also marked Oldies. The man who
gave me the tape guessed that it had been made sometime in 1993, directly
from the DJ console at a Montego Bay area nightclub.
The music itself is strictly oldies stuff, many of them actual remakes of U.S.
r&b golden oldies. As near as I can tell, the recordings seem pretty old too.
Two minutes of listening will tell you more than I could ever describe.
The other selections came from the private tape collection of a man known
to me only as Shopkeeper. These songs are more current and spiritual in
nature. The tape is marked only Luciana.
That's the facts as I understand them...
The Story behind the music...
The Reggae (and the beer) came from a local shanty store which boasted a DJ sized
PA system and two freezers full of Red Stripe, all of which connected by one slim
extension cord to a neighbor's power line (alledgedly by agreement).
The music that came from this place was incredible and my wife and I listened for hours,
then I found that we had something to offer too. I pulled out cassettes of my own and we
cranked up John Lennon, Watching the wheels go round and round, while 20 or so
Jamaicans smoked, drank and drifted to the beat, totally enraptured by the music and the
message. Then came #9 Dream and John's spirit danced so strange over the mountainside.
It was captivating. It was cool. Everybody there felt it strong
At the end of the listening session, Shopkeeper and I exchanged tapes and a
handshake. The cassettes felt magical as I slipped them into my shirt pocket. He
had the same smile as he put his away his new treasures too.
So much more than I can tell...
Playing a hand made guitar under a lemon tree, teaching a few "G chord variations" and
learning some Calypso changes... Talking religion with a Rasta who's wisdom flowed
freely... Watching a woman prepare the evening meal without a stove, lights or running water,
lit amply by the brightness of her smile... Seeing the bright, beautiful children who's curiousity
about us was only barely held in check by the shyness of their mothers.