Many of you will recognise the lyrics of Chase the Devil by Max Romeo. Such a wonderfully powerful opening line. But how any singers could deliver it with conviction?
Max Bygraves, Ken Dodd, Val Doonican? Not a chance! And when it comes to hairstyles, Max is the hands down winner.
Inspired by our recent homage to U Roy, here’s a thread in which I would like to hear a little more about your favourite reggae songs, particularly those which you feel have the most interesting, moving, bizarre, soulful lyrics. The Great Reggae Songbook covers so many areas of activity and has so many memorable gems.
Race horses – The Pioneers
What a weepin’ and wailin’ dung a Caymanas park
Long Shot, him kick de bucket
Long Shot kick de bucket
Flying preachers – Prince Far I
Some come from the east
Like a big leggo beast,
Fi guh dip inna di healing stream.
A night out on the razzle – Anthea and Donna
See me in me ‘alter back
Sey me gi’ you ‘eart attack
Gimme little bass, make m’wine up m’waist
NHS staff – Gregory Isaacs
I don’t want to see no doc
I need attendance from my nurse around the clock
DIY and mending a leaky roof – Max Romeo
Lie down gal, let me push it up, push it up, lie down
Huh, lie down gal, let me push it up, push it up, lie down
But first, it’s quiz time, popfans!
Below is an hilarious German translation of a chart-topping reggae single. German speakers among you will get it in seconds. Please don’t post your answers! Keep them guessing a little while!
Ihr seht mich in meinen hochhackigen Schuhen
Die Kerle checken ab, ob wir heiß sind
In Wahrheit haben die keine Ahnung
Dass wir sie an der Nase herumführen.
It’s a classic example of what wonderful patois poetry there is in reggae lyrics and how difficult they are to translate.
When Santa Lucian poet and playwright, Derek Walcott got the Nobel Prize, I read some of his plays. He had a great ear for the spoken language and captured the vitality and inventiveness of the English spoken in the Caribbean. There is a lot of that to be found in reggae songwriting.
Your favourites, please!