Ah, yes. The endorphin rush of finding that record. I ‘n’ I been a vinyl collector since clothes shopping with my Mom at Woolworth’s the beginning of 7th grade: ‘Sept. 77. The year the two sevens clashed.
My first “dig”: Best of the Doobie Brothers. (For a Seven Leaf guy, who knew the significance of that purchase 40 years on!)
With an extra Saturday, during the shortest month of the year, why note celebrate that legacy of vinyl collection with a trip down black wax memory lane on Smile Jamaica .
I was getting crosseyed with my bredrins Mike and Aquaboy. Friday 4:20. I ‘n’ I brought over a 60 minute mix for Mixcloud of my favorite UK Reggae faves. Segue into the first Black Sabbath album.
So I’n’ I said: Would you believe I have a 7″ record that mashes up Black Sabbath with Black Uhuru?
That’s the delight in record obsession. You’ve got Satanic Heavy Metal inna mi Rasta Roots Reggae!
<Guess Who’s Coming For Sweet Leaf>
Judah Eskender Tafari – Jah Light; Pirates Choice (Studio One) ’80 JA – 3 Hour Vinyl is Vital Show
Bullwackie’s All-Stars – Black Heart Dub; Dub Unlimited (Senrab) ’76 Dub album of the hour
Phillip Frazer – Watch This Sound; Big Showdown (Black Solidarity) ’85 JA Buffalo Springfield cover
The Specials – Friday Night Saturday Morning; 12″ (2 Tone) ’81 UK EP Ghost Train picture sleeve; 2 Tone ska
Quasar – Get Up Stand Up; Fresh (LASN) US Wailers cover
Chris Wayne – All the Plant Mi Plant; Progress (Heartbeat) ’89 US 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
Black Harmony – Our Feelings; 12″ (Cool Rockers) ’81 UK female lovers rock
They called it”spoilage”. That is what you lose when your cargo goes bad. Or you are a trucker and you are overweight for the Interstate. I remember asking my Dad once in California. “Why did that trucker dump a bunch of oranges by the side of the road?” Pops: “The truck is too heavy and he had to lighten his load.”
Now picture that same dynamic on a slave voyage from 1526 til the Mid 1800s. Spoilage was the loss of life on the journey from West Africa to the New World. Either dead slaves, or if the ship was overloaded, several excess slaves would be simply chucked over the side to drown.
<Spoilage in the Slave Trade; 65 sec.>
Reggae music came about in Jamaica because of slavery. The Brits lived in the upscale plantation house. Irish and Scottish immigrants worked as overseers in the fields. Black slaves worked the sugar plantations.
Eventually, The Irish and Scottish wiled away their time by playing fiddle and piano. As time went on, blacks picked up those instruments and learned to play. Usually on Sunday – Church services. When you absorb African drumming onto Western melodies and instruments — that is how you get Reggae music.
The incident took place on October 11th 1492, 10pm. At the time of the incident it is said that Santa Maria (the ship) was sailing through what is now known as the Bermuda Triangle. The crew first noticed a disc shaped object emerging from the sea. The description given in the ship’s log is that of a wax candle light moving up and down in the night sky.
Prior to this incident the ship’s logs in the month of September (17th and 20th) provide accounts of what are described as stars making noticeable movements in the night sky.
Columbus’s crew reached what is now the Bahamas in 1492. He thought he had landed in India. The Taino and Arawak natives, (soon to be wrongly called Indians), greeted the explorers with friendly intent. Unfortunately for them, they arrived in gold finery.
The Euros returned the generosity with massacres, cholera, syphilis and rape. Whoever survived the onslaught was enslaved and forced to mine gold. After a generation the Indigenous tribes fought back with the only real weapon they had: mass suicide. They would simply jump off cliffs into the sea. Or eat a meal of poisonous roots.
<Taino and Arawak devastation by Columbus; 1 min. 55 sec.>
As the Conquistadors prepared to burn Hatuey alive, a “helpful” Catholic Priest offered salvation to him. If he accepted Christ he would immediately go to Heaven and not burn for Eternity in Hell as a Heathen.
Hatuey politely declined. “I have seen what the Christians are like on Earth. Why would I want to meet anymore of them in the Sky?”
In 1526 the Portugese kicked off the Atlantic Slave Trade. Soon to follow were the Spanish, English and Dutch. Thus began what Peter Tosh sang: “400 Years and it’s the same philosophy)
<Wailers and Peter Tosh – 400 Years; 1 min. 15 sec.>
Thus began 3 centuries of the Middle Passage
Europeans would load ships full of commercial goods: textiles, rifles, flint locks
They would dock on the Gold Coast of West Africa. They would trade their goods for slaves. (Most slaves were captives in tribal wars.)
The slaves would be packed on the ships “like sardines in a tin” and shipped to the New World: America, Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and especially Brazil.
<The Dungeon in the Merchant Ship; 36 sec.>
4. The slaves, in Jamaica, would be forced to harvest sugar cane.
5. The ships return to Europe with sugar products: granular sweetener, rum, molasses.
6. European factory workers, driven by their sugar rush, in the beginning of the Industrial Revolution , could make the consumer goods….to return to Africa
The “Middle Passage” was the leg between Europe to the New World. As many as as 12.5 million “human cargo” made the excruciating journey over 3 centuries. As many as 2.5 million of those unfortunate wretches perished during the journey.
That’s a spoilage rate of 20%. And yes, those losses were expected and factored into the price.
<The horrors of the Middle Passage; 90 sec.>
The major themes of Reggae music explore this psychic disruption. Songs about loss, the repatriation to Zion away from Babylon. Rastas worshiping a Black Christ – His Imperial Majesty in Ethiopia.
Those were the stories that made me a Reggae fanatic. Epitomized by Eek a Mouse’s “Do You Remember”. Song 2 of this podcast
Do you, do you remember those days of slavery? It wasn’t black man alone, who died through bravery ‘Though some a dem threw dem self over board Because dis ya slaveship overload
Before KRCL moved their Radiothon fund drives to October, I would do an Anti-Columbus show. I would always lead off with Burning Spear‘s takedown of the Italian mass murderer, Columbus
This year the beg-a-thon took place a week earlier. Felt good to harvest 40 songs for Indigenous People’s Day. Not Columbus. Or Comb-buss’ (bust) us as Peter Tosh called him.
Sipping bourbon and preventing glaucoma with my bredrins Mike and Aquaboy. Mike was regaling me with a story about his next door neighbor. The Satantist.
The Satanist who loves Smile Jamaica. 38 sec.
So I “dedicated” rather than “liIvicated” Junior Murvin’s classic, Lucifer on air to the Roots loving Son of Satan. With the spooky Lee “Scratch” (Scratch as in the Devil) Perry Black Ark vibe it really fit the mood.
But did you know that there is an Ancient Aliens connection to Lucifer?
To my beloved mother, Jeannette and my sister, Stacey. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mother’s, Mom’s, Mommies & Mamas.
Harvested tracks out of the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive celebrating motherhood.
By tradition, I will always begin each show with this beautiful country ballad about a youth who does chores, babysits and gets good grades. Youthman tallies up his bill and presents it to mom for reimbursement.
Mom, takes a look and this is what she says:
No Charge by Tammy Wynette, Reggae version by Sonya Spence
Now our little boy came up to his mom In the kitchen this evenin’ while she was fixin’ supper And he handed her a piece of paper he’d been writin’ on And after wipin’ her hands on her apronn
She read it, and this is what it said. For mowin’ the lawn, five dollars For makin’ my own bed this week, one dollar And for goin’ to the store, fifty cents An’ playin’ with little brother while you went shoppin’, twenty-five cents. Takin’ out the trash, one dollar Gettin’ a good report card, five dollars And for rakin’ the yard, two dollars Total owed, fourteen seventy-five. Well, as mom looked at him standin’ there expectantly And I could see the mem’ries flashing through her mind And so she picked up the pen, and turnin’ the paper over This is what she wrote. For the nine months I carried you growin’ inside me, no charge For the nights I’ve sat up with you Doctored you, and prayed for you, no charge For the time and the tears That you’ve cost through the years, there’s no charge And when you add it all up The full cost of my love is no charge. For the nights filled with dread And all the worries ahead, no charge For advice and the knowledge And the cost of your college, no charge For the toys, food and clothes and even for wipin’ your nose There’s no charge, son And when you add it all up The full cost of my love is, no charge. Well, when he finished readin’ He had great big old tears in his eyes And he looked up at her standing there and said Mama, I sure do love you Then he took the pen, And in great big letters He wrote paid in full. Lord knows when you add it all up The cost of real love is, no charge…
Smile Jamaica Annotated Playlist: May 12, 2018 – 3 Hours Mother’s Day; 38 sec.
Paul Simon – Mother and Child Reunion; Paul Simon (Warner Bros.) ’72
<Paul Simon at Dynamic Studios: Kingston JA; 23 sec.>
Mother Earth – The Quiet Storm; A Breath of Fresh Air (Ariwa) ’84 UK vinyl dub album of the hour
Sonya Spence – No Charge; In the Dark (Skynote) ’78 Tammy Wynette mother’s day
Mighty Diamonds – Hey Mommy; Speak the Truth (RAS) ’94
Burning Spear – Mother; Man in the Hills (mango) ’76 US vinyl
Daweh Congo – Mother Arose; Human Rights & Justice (Roots & Culture) 2004
Desmond Dekker – Honor Your Father & Mother; Israelites: Best of (Trojan) ’63
Jimmy Cliff – Dear Mother; Follow My Mind (MCA) ’75
Peter Roots – Poor Mama; 7″ (Belleville International) 2002 Fr.
Black Roots – Childless Mother; All Day, All Night (Nubian) ’87 UK
Papa Levi – Baby Mother; 12″ (Jah Records)) ’86 UK picture sleeve
Nicky Thomas – Mama’s Song; Love of the Common People (Trojan) ’70
Heptones – Mama Say; Night Food (Mango) ’76 US vinyl
Jah Messengers – Mama Mama; Reggae Time (Heartbeat) ’93
Lloyd Charmers & the Hippy Boys – Mama Look Deh; Psychedelic Reggae (Trybute) ’69
Reggay Boys – Mama Look Deh; 7″ (Amalgamated) ’68
Chosen Brothers – Mother I Love You; 12″ (City Line) ’77 Bronx
Ja Man All Stars – Dub Zone; In the Dub Zone (Blood and Fire) ’77 Dub Album of the Hour
Set 4: Jamaican Jukebox 7″ 45’s
Benjamin Zephaniah – I Love Me Mudder; Dub Ranting 7″ EP (Radical Wallpaper) ’82 UK picture sleeve: 7″ Jamaican Jukebox set
Barry Brown – Thank You Mama; 7″ (Observer) ’83
Dennis Brown – Song My Mother Used to Sing; 7″ (Aquarius)
Doctor Alimantado – Mama (I Thank You); 7″ (Vital Food) ’77
Chantells – Baby Mother; 7″ (Communicating) ’74
Set 5: Vinyl is Vital
Peter Tosh – Mama Africa; Mama Africa (EMI America) ’83 US
Yellowman – Honor Your Mother; Jack Sprat (Hit) ’82 JA
Simple Simon – Obey Your Mother and Father; Reggae Move (Vista Sounds) ’83 UK
Little John – I Love My Mommy; Give the Youth a Try (Live & Learn) ’83 DC
The Meditations – Mother Love; No More Friend (Greensleeves) ’83 UK
Cedella Marley Booker – Mother Don’t Cry; Awake Zion (Rykodisc) ’84 on Bob’s deathbead: 5/11/81
<Bob going to a better place, “Mother don’t cry”>
Jimmy Riley – Black Mother Prays; 20 Classic Hits (Sonic) ’83
Mighty Maytones – Father and Mother; Madness (Burning Sounds) ’76 UK
Horace Andy – Mother and Child Reunion; Mr. Bassie (Heartbeat/Studio One) Paul Simon
Jah Shaka Meets Aswad – Addis Ababa; In Addis Ababa Studio (Jah Shaka) ’84 Dub Album of the Hour
Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals – Mama’s Trippin’; Voodoo Child (bootleg) Bonn, Germany Apr. 1998
Judy Mowatt – Hush Baby Mother; Working Wonders (Shanachie) ’86
Hugh Griffiths – Mother Africa; Mother Africa (My-o-lanta) ’86 UK vinyl
Anthony Johnson – Mother, Mother; Reggae Feelings (Vista Sounds) ’83 UK vinyl
So I was getting ready to go on air in the last half hour of Smile Jamaica. The phone rings and I pick up. The guy on the other line was pretty animated. “Hey Robert, I’m here with the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team in South Korea and we are listening to your show. Play us a tune.”
<Crown of Creation livicated to the U.S. Olympic Cross Country Ski Team; 22 sec.>
Wow! If true, I am sure the Dubstep/Mutant Dub set I was about to spin would match heavy bass to skiing a fast race. I dunno? They did medal for the first time at the Olympics. Or as I call it, the Jah-lympics
Smile Jamaica A.rk-Ives Annotated Playlist: Jah-bruary 24, 2018: 85 sec.
Cornell Campbell – O Jah Forgive Me; Stalowatt (Third World) ’76 UK vinyl
<Stalowatt = Stalwart in Jamaican patois; 23 sec.>
Winston Edwards – Natty Dub; Natty Locks Dub (Studio 16) ’74 UK vinyl dub album of the hour