Orange Daddy vs. Qtip? Didn’t care. Cannabis, legalization to rule the nation? That I n’ I care about.
In the Congressional and Presidential, the negativity is so disgusting, I ‘n’ I fall back on the Rasta notion of isms and schisms. Demopublicans vs. Republicrats. Fiyah bu’n!
I’m on the Wailers Party! (400 Years lyrics)
<Peter Tosh – 400 Years of the same philosophy>
We sick an’ tired of-a your ism-skism game Dyin’ ‘n’ goin’ to heaven in-a Jesus’ name, lord.
On election night, I ‘n’ I was sitting on the couch watching an X-Files rerun and dialing up my dispensary route for my Vegas vacation next week. (Cratedigging in a pandemic? Better than staying home waiting for The Covid to tag me in Utah. Rona Rage, let’s get on the road!)
Two fingers of Jim Beam, strawberry cough and my Ipad. Ding! Since I was scoping out Weedmaps, I got notifications.
Ding! New Jersey puff puff passes adult use Cannabis (12 down, 38 to go)
Ding! Mississippi puff puff passes medical marijuana (36 states including DC)
Ding! South Dakota puff puff passes medical and recreational marijuana (13 down, 37 to go)
Ding! Montana, my birthplace, puff puff passes recreational marijuana (14 down, 36 to go)
Ding! Arizona (where my Snowbird parents live half the year) puff puff passes marijuana (15 down, 35 to go)
Add DC legal and 16 of 51. Almost 1/3 of the nation states/entities. The 100 year American war against nature is crumbling! Like I ‘n’ crumble Sour Diesel inna mi Bob Marley grinder!
Smile Jamaica loves Jah-loween. Here is the Monster Menagerie from the Ark-ives:
Anti-christ/Mark of the Beast/666 – 7
Bats – 2
Bermuda Triangle – 1
Black magic – 9
Cemeteries & graveyards – 7
Demons – 6
Devil, Lucifer, Satan – 59
Dungeons – 6
Duppies & Jumbies (Jamaican ghosts) – 14
Exorcist – 1
Frankenstein – 5
Ghosts – 19
Halloween holiday – 5
Haunted houses – 2
Hell hounds -1
Loch Ness Monster – 1
Monsters – 4
Mr. Brown who rides around Trenchtown in a motorized coffin – 2
Mummies – 2
Obeah (Jamaican Black Magic) – 13
Skeletons – 2
Undertakers – 3
Vampires, Dracula and soap opera vampire Barnabas Collins – 63
Voodoo – 5
Werewolves – 4
Witches – 4
Zombies – 14
By my Liberal Arts math, that tallies up to over 260 Jah-loween gems. Plus all my horror soundbytes and movie trailers. (New additions in between the horrorfest such as The Exorcist, Planet of the Vampires,nNight of the Living Dead, Phantasm).
All mixed into one bubbling cauldron of grimness. Perfect for this era of The Covid. I don’t listen to a lot of new Reggae releases but next year I’m sure to add some ghouly Covid delights.
There was once upon a time when I ‘n’ I never said a word and only played station ID’s during the 3 hours. It was truly 180 minutes of drum, bass and Afternoon of the Living Dead.
But since this is Smile Jamaica, I ‘n’ I tell you some stories to embellish the tunes:
Annie Palmer – the evil Jamaican wife of a slave plantation owner who used to whip her slaves mercilessly and continued to haunt them after she died
<Annie Palmer; 26 sec.>
In Jamaica police informers were referred to as Vampires:
<Vampire = informer; 27 sec.>
Peter Tosh always felt there were hell hounds on his trail. One night he was paralyzed from the forces of a demon. He prayed to Jah to save. Jah told him, “son, use the word and you will be as free as a bird.
That word? Bumba klaat. In Jamaica, that is as rude as saying Mother F’er in the US. Bum for vagina. Klaat = cloth. Rastas want nothing to do with their queen’s “monthly visitor”. So the epithet shocked the duppy (Jamaican ghost) out of Peter’s soul.
<Oh Bumba Klaat; 1 min. 22 sec.>
And how about the corpse who put a transmission, engine and four wheels on his coffin to terrorize the denizens of Trenchtown ghetto. His names was Mr. Brown.
<Mr. Brown rides around in a coffin; 21 sec.>
Smile Jamaica Jah-loween Monster Bash, 10/31/2020 Annotated Playlist: 85 sec.
Ini Kamoze – Hole in the Pumpkin; Shocking Out (RAS) ’87 3 Hours of Jah-loween
Scientist – The Voodoo Curse; Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires (Greensleeves) ‘81
Black Uhuru – Anthem; Anthem (Island) ‘83
Ijahman Levi – Devil Disciple; Forward Rastaman (Jahmani) ‘87
The Toyes – Monster Hash; The Toyes (CD Tunes) ‘96
GG All-Stars – Haunted House; 12” (GG’s Hit!) ‘78
Crucial Bee – Mark of the Beast; Just a Sting (All-Starr) US Virgin Islands vinyl
Sinead O’Connor – Vampire; Throw Down Your Arms (That’s Why There’s Chocolate & Vanilla) 2005 Devon Irons cover
The Ethiopians – Obeah Book; Slave Call (Rohit) ’74 Obeah – Jamaican black magic
Ghetto Priest – Dungeon; Vulture Culture (ON U Sound) 2003 Singers & Players cover
Clint Eastwood & General Saint – Talk About Run; 12” (Greensleeves) ’81 UK duppies in the cemetery
Lone Ranger – Annie Palmer; Barnabas in Collins Wood (Wave) ’79 JA vinyl: Jamaican witch/ghost
Pablo Gad – Blood Suckers; Blood Suckers (Celluloid) ‘78
Chalice – Back Weh Evil Forces; Stand Up! (CSA) ’85 UK vinyl
Sky High & the Mau Mau – Cemetery Robbery; Origination (Sky High) 70’s
Moses – When the Vampire Comes to Your Neighborhood; 12” (Wackies) ’82 Bronx
Leo Graham – Voodooism; Magnetic Mirror Master Mix (Anachron) 70’s Dutch vinyl; Lee “Scratch” Perry prod’n
Capleton & Big Youth – Mark of the Beast; I-Testament (Def Jam) ‘97
Jimmy Cliff – Satan’s Kingdom; I am the Living (MCA) ’80 US vinyl
Easy Star All-Stars feat. Mikey General & Spragga Benz – Thrillah (Easy Star) 2012 Michael Jackson/Vincent Prince
Carl McDonald – Satan Soldiers on the Run; 12” (Makdon) ’87 Brooklyn
Peter Tosh – Oh Bumba Klaat; 12” EP (Rolling Stone) ’81 UK fight off demonic possession
David Lindley – Werewolves of London; Very Greasy (Elektra) ’88 Warren Zevon cover
CD player for Christmas 1985: Fisher brand. Only showed track number. Low frills deck from Montgomery Ward. Bozeman Montana record shops. Summer vacation to Edmonton, CA Summer ’86
Moved to Salt Lake City, Utah Fall 1986 – Started adding CDs: Reggae, Blues, World, College Rock: from about a dozen great SLC record shops. (All but one out of business in 2020.)
Reggae fanatic; Oct. 1986-. I ‘n’ I had a pretty decent CD collection considering I had just moved from the rural Montana mountains. Dorms, Univ. of Utah. Met a Jewish upperclassman from Baltimore named Neil Cooperman. His CD collection was incredible. This was at a time when major stars like Beatles, Stones, Marley had very little available on CD.
Neil and I would trade out disks like baseball cards. The U of U dorms were concrete bunkers. Neil had a top rank stereo, as did I. One day we were listening in his room. He chose the disk that changed my life.
Black Uhuru – Anthem; 1 min. 20 sec.
By then I ‘n’I had a nice little Reggae CD stash: Legalize It, No Nuclear War, Marley’s Uprising. Cliff, Toots, UB40 imports. Some grey market roots collections from Germany and Japan.
Neil started up Anthem on his NakamIchi with the Bose 301’s. When Anthem was recorded, 1983, Sly & Robbie were at the synth best. Worked with stalwarts like Bob Dylan, Grace Jones, Joan Armatrading. They added electronic drum and base to Reggae riddims.
80’s were all about synth drums. Everyone from the Stones to Springsteen were overdosing on amplified drum sound. When the lead off selection, What Is Life, built to the vox I ‘n’ I was staggered. This is what I have been looking for!
Music you felt, through the bass throb, as well as heard.
Michael Rose had an Afro-Arab vocal style that was aggressive, female harmonies from Puma Jones added to the militance. Sly & Robbie brought Jamaica to NY discos.
Ka-boom! All my other genres receded to the background and I focused on building 80/20 into Reggae.
I ‘n’ I had the desire to binge as more Reggae cds hit the market, but disks were expensive. As much as $18.99 in ‘1987 dollars. (Probably 35 bucks today).
Meet the funder of the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Ronald Wilson Reagan
Reagan (6)….as the Rastas would say. (35 sec.)
Back in the mid 80’s Pell Grants and Student Loans. Loans you had to pay back, grants were free and clear. I ‘n’ I would bank one of those checks and every summer from about 1987-1993. A couple New Year’s Eves. Time to feed the Reggae habit.
<Cratedigging with student loan cash>; 1 min. 27 sec.
I’m sure Pres. Reagan would give the screwface to my misuse of funds but in the end, I paid him back. I ‘n’ I like to joke: It took me 15 years to pay off my Reggae collection.
When I ‘n’ I had an aunt in SF and then Hayward, across the bay I would couch surf for two weeks:
Heading west on I-80: Sacramento, Reno,
San Fran, San Mateo, Mill Valley (across the Golden Gate), Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Hayward (East Bay).
When I didn’t have a relative to freeload, I would stay at the Travelodge: Columbus and Bay, near the Wharf. Literally across the street from Tower Records.
I ‘n’ I would scour the city or the hinterlands during the day, grab some dinner and then spend the evenings til closing in Tower Records (deceased 2006)
The justification of any addict: How do I rationalize my consumption? In 1988 I ‘n’ I went from Reggae fan to the airwaves. With a radio show, I ‘n’ I can’t play the same thing twice. (Like a fashionista who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same outfit twice.)
Needed the Reggae Roadtrips for the masses on the radio. When I ‘n’ I started 3 0’Clock Roadblock – It was 3-6 AM Sunday Nights/Mondays.
Probably spent more dollars than ever had listeners: cab drivers, 7-11 workers and insomniacs.
But when I ‘n’ I hit “prime time” – Saturday afternoons: Smile Jamaica. Rationalization became justification.
Was it worth it? 32 years of Reggae CDs. 32 Years of Reggae Vinyl.
Smile Jamaica Annotated Playlist: August 1, 2020 – 32 Years of Reggae Radio (CDs) 1 min. 27 sec.
Black Uhuru – Solidarity; Anthem (Island) ’84 rmx of Little Steven
Blackbeard – Jazzz; I Wah Dub (More Cut) ’80 UK vinyl dub album of the hour
Keith Hudson – I Shall Be Released; Flesh of My Skin, Blood of My Blood (Atra) ’74 Bob Dylan cover
Aswad – Ire Woman; Aswad (Mango) ’76
Third World – Dreamland; 96 Degrees in the Shade (Mango) ’76 Bunny Wailer/Wailers cover
Rita Marley – One Draw; Who Feels It Knows It (Shanachie) ’80 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
Here’s hoping you had a pandemically correct 4th of July. It’s okay to be paranoid, they are watching if you didn’t!
Do you know what else happened around the 4th of July? 1947? The Alien crash at Roswell, New Mexico.
Roswell is the air field that delivered the atomic bombs that destroyed Jah-pon. Created at Los Alamos in New Mexico. Do you think it is a coincidence that the ground zero for nuclear weaponry was “probed” (pun intended) by extra terrestrial watchers?
Sometime in late June 1947 a ranch foreman in the rural scrub land around the Roswell Army Air Field, named Brazel collected debris, that was non-earth metals in origin. Ultimately, he delivered the pieces to the Army.
On July 8, 1947 the local paper, the Roswell Record, published a statement from the Army….
<Roswell UFO crash: June 1947 audio story>
Army press release is fascinating:
The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves County. The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff’s office, who in turn notified Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office. Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher’s home.
Flying disc. It wasn’t theirs. Flying object. Disc. Disc, Disc. Extra Terrestrial.
Ancient Astronaut Theorists 1; Scoffers 0
Alas, it couldn’t be…
The higher ups in the military back in DC freaked out. They issued a weak sauce retraction. Jesse Marcel, the local intelligence officer assigned to the Roswell Army Air Field had to issue a mea culpa. It wasn’t flying disc. It was a “weather balloon.”
Marcel’s family says that he was threatened to comply even though he knew it was not a weather balloon but a crashed spaceship.
He is holding a “piece” of the “balloon” as he bleats “weather balloon to the press.” Look at his eyes. He is not looking at the camera, but off camera. Regurgitating something he didn’t believe to please his superior officers.
If you read this blog, your take on what I ‘n’ I says next comes down to the Manichean choice. Do you believe Wikipedia or your Ace From Outer Space, Bobbylon the Ancient Astronaut Theorist?
My brother in law used to sell high tech pipe to irrigation and water conservation clients in Roswell. One day he took his client to lunch and asked, “So what’s the deal with the UFO’s”.
His customer, a ranch supply distributor, salt of the earth Southwest cowboy said outright. “The local coroner was told by the Army to deliver 3 child size coffins to the base. Why do you need coffins for a weather balloon?”
Game. Set. Match.
Ancient Astronaut Theorists 2; Scoffers 0
If you don’t trust I ‘n’ I do you trust Dwight Eisenhower. (He signed a treaty with the aliens. They can surveill us and we get their technology.)In 1954 Pres. Eisenhower went to play golf and developed a “tooth crisis” instead. He disappeared from Secret Service protection. Why?
He went up into a flying saucer to negotiate the treaty
Don’t like Ike? How about Tricky Dick? Nixon showed entertainer Jackie Gleason alien cadavers in cold storage at an Air Force base in Florida. Gleason had the world’s biggest UFO collection at the time, but seeing the reality of the alien corpses haunted him.
<Utnapishtim and his space ship. Not Noah’s Ark; 1 min. 45 sec.>
Not Noah and an Ark to survive the Great Flood. Just like outer space is the only way to escape the Covid, so was interplanetary travel the only way to survive the deluge. 500 years before the mud receded. No wooden ark with one family could survive that.
No ark. Spaceship….
More likely scenario? Sumerian immortal ancient alien, Utnapishtim, DNA seedbank to spaceship or . Noah’s Ark. 70 cubits by 70 cubits. Ricketty-ass wooden ark. One family to separate the carnivores from the herbivores, shovel shit and feed animals.
Ancient Astronaut Theory 5; Scoffers 0
<Gilgamesh, immortality and the serpent; 56 sec.>
As part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gil was half mortal/half immortal. He sought out Utnapishtim on his tesseract spaceship. Utnapushtim gave him the Tree of Life. Immortality secured, an exhausted Gilgamesh returned to Sumer (Shinar in the Bible) and fell asleep on a river bank.
The treacherous serpent slithered out of the reeds and stole away the Tree of Life (Eden). Gilgamesh died a mortal. As did Adam and Eve after their encounter with the snake.
Ancient Astronaut Theory 6, Scoffers 0
In Revelation, John the Revelator mentions the New Jerusalem. But he isn’t describing a city. It is a massive spaceship 1400 miles x 1400 miles:
Revelation 21:2 – I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband
Coming down out of heaven, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed. The jeweled dressing are the lights on the spaceship.
<New Jerusalem from the Book of Revelation is a spaceship>
Ancient Astronaut Theory 7; Scoffers 0
The Anunnaki – Those who camr down from the sky. The Ancient Sumerian Skygods: Anu, Marduk, Enki, Ishtar, Enlil and more. They created mankind to mine gold and travel in from the Planet Nibiru. My fellow Ancient Astronaut, Rasta bredrin, Tena Stelin does the roll call of all of Biblical stories of Ancient Aliens.
Tena Stelin – Flying Saucers; 7″ (River Bank) 2000; 1 min. 29 sec.
As the Rastas would say when I ‘n’ I was a youth learning Reggae music circa Fall ’86:
Maybe so, but I owe it all to the man…..I’ll explain below
Always been a huge music fan and collector since growing up in Fort Benton Montana (mid 70’s-mid 80’s). When I came to the University of Utah in Fall of ’86, I brought with me a couple crates of indispensable vinyl and a couple boxes of these shiny aluminum coated novelties called the Compact Disk.
Back in 1986, when the compact disk market was so new, there wasn’t a lot of contemporary titles available yet. You had to seek them out. In the dorms,I met a Jewish kid from Baltimore, MD named Neil Cooperman. Physics Major. (Me? Middle East Studies).
He and I were loaning out our rare finds like trading baseball cards. Think of the mid 80’s. Too much MTV synthesizer. All the rock acts from the 70’s: Rolling Stones, Dylan, The Who, etc. were issuing pretty crappy records. Even my favorite punkers like The Ramones and The Clash had fallen on hard times.
Like most college kids, I was into college rock: My Big Three: The Replacements, Husker Du, The Minutemen. When D. Boon of the Minutemen died in a car crash, that was the musical low point in my musical consumption for traditional rock.
I ‘n’ I was finally living in a city with a plethora of record stores. (90% gone now in Salt Lake City). With all that choice in an emerging CD market, where was I gonna go musically as I built my collection?
Bought some Blues (Robert Cray, Stevie Ray, Muddy Waters Hard Again). Bought some World (King Sunny Ade, Rai Arabic pop, South African jive). Bought some Reggae (Jimmy Cliff, Toots, Steel Pulse)*. Nice
*In 1986, there was almost no Marley or Tosh on CD
And then the epiphany moment. Neil played for me a disk by a group named Black Uhuru. (Uhuru – Swahili for freedom).
<Black Uhuru – Anthem. The disk that lit the fuse; 87 sec.>
Yeah, the cover is pure 80’s but Michael Rose in full dreads flashing the hairy eyeball, Puma Jones looking fetching in her 80’s fashion clash.
And the Riddim Twins in the back, Sly & Robbie controlling the scene.
1983 sound of them working with Bob Dylan and Grace Jones. They were the drum and bass standouts in an synthesized sound that was 80’s rock. (Mostly bad, but Sly Dunbar (drums) & Robbie Shakespeare (bassie) were the best of the bombast.
The dorms at the U of U were concrete bunkers. You probably had bigger closets in your home. Within 30 seconds of the lead off track, What Is Life?, that synth bass and vocoder vox ricocheted and throbbed throughout the room. I ‘n’ I didn’t burn the hippie lettuce then, (Eff you Ronnie Raygun!), but that CD lit the fuse.
That was what I came to Utah to find. A new sound. Reggae music.
Enter Ronald Reagan. I’n’ I said I lived at my Grandmother’s house to qualify for student loans and grants. My first two years of U of U (even with out of state tuition the first year) was paid for in Pell Grants and loans. The grants paid for room, board and tuition. The loans went for my Reggae collection.
Used vinyl was cheap. People were selling vinyl to buy CDs which were rare and ridiculously expensive. I hoovered up both formats.
My last year at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, I discovered their college radio station, KGLT. Very similar to KRCL. Free form format, mix of college rock and community shows like bluegrass, folk, Sunday gospel. Loved it much more than the noise of commercial radio.
I ‘n’ I assumed that the Univ. of Utah radio station, KUER, would be the same. WTF is NPR? Why is a college station playing classical music?
One of the student leaders recognized this and tried to re-boot a failed college managed “radio” station that would be broadcast from the Student Union to patrons in the cafe and study tables.
It was (and is) called K-UTE. I jumped at the chance to spin disks. I did a volunteer Reggae show called Positive Vibrations (after the Bob tune.) Spring of 1987. Pure amateur setup, but fun none the less.
A year later my friend and I were in the Pie Pizzeria and heard them call out for volunteers on the community radio station, KRCL. It was not college managed. I had been listening to them, when someone told me about Smile Jamaica.
They were looking for a late night show featuring a mix of Reggae with World and Ska. I ‘n’ I submitted a proposal and was trained Spring of 1988. First show as the last Sunday Night/Monday Morning in June. 3-6 AM.
I ‘n’ I called it 3 o’clock Roadblock – from Marley’s Rebel Music. Now I had an outlet for my Reggae collection. Even if the only listeners were cab drivers, 7-11 workers and insomniacs.
<Before Smile Jamaica; 2 min. 6 sec.>
Learned the ropes. Made all my mistakes, Tried to find an on-air announcing sound that wasn’t horribly monotonous and filled with ands and ums. Great year of apprenticeship before I ‘n’ I moved over to Smile Jamaica, October 1989.
That’s a story for another day.
From June 25, 1988 to June 27, 2020: by my Liberal Arts math that is 32 years. We celebrate that with the first vinyl additions to the Ark-Ives on this SJ podcast.
Thanks for listening for 1 week or nearly 1/3 of a century!
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: June 27, 2020 = 32 Years of Reggae Radio
Jimmy Riley – Summertime; 12″ (DEB) ’76 UK Porgy & Bess cover- 32 years of Reggae Radio (Vinyl Show)
Sly & Robbie – Uhuru in Dub (CSA) ’82 Dub Album of the Hour
Bob Marley & the Wailers – Rebel Music (3 o’clock Roadblock); Natty Dread (Island) ’74 UK
<Cratedig re-collection: Bob Marley Vinyl Box Set>
I ‘n’ I been on lockdown since the Utah Earthquake: March 17, 2020. All the Smile Jamaicas “curated” out of the Secret Dubratory within the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives.
Spring forward to mid May. The plan was to fly to Phoenix, drive my parents to Albuquerque for my nephew Aitch’s graduation. Poor kid, born two months after the 9/11 tragedy. Now, the New Mexico Gator Aid player of the year – baseball scholarship to Pepperdine University – his season gets scrapped b/c of the Covid.
My plan was in between the graduation ceremony (which, of course never happened) and the party, I ‘n’ I was gonna make my pilgrimage to Roswell.
Jews have Jerusalem. Muslims have Mecca. I ‘n’ I have Roswell, New Mexico.
Change of plans. New route: Sun City West, AZ to Fort Benton, Montana.
Diary of a Cratedigger:
Day 1: Flight from Salt Lake to Phoenix.
Flying is surreal. Had no problem with getting an Uber to the airport. The airport was abandoned on a Monday. The big travel day. Two cars at drop off, no wait at the airline, no wait through security.
More workers than flyers. Get to the TSA line. I ‘n’ I have my mask on. So does the TSA ID checker. Put my phone on the scanner, show my driver’s license. The officer says, “Please remove your mask so I can check you against your ID.”
I ‘n’ I was like, “What? You want me to take off my mask? I thought the whole point of masking up was to prevent potential aerosol spread of the Covid? Now you want me to expose myself to the other flyers’ goomba who were ahead of me in line? I’m sure they all had dry cough and were sneezing Covid like a machine gun. Why don’t I just lick the ticket scanner while I’m at it. WTF”.
Of course I said none of that. And spread my germ cocktail all over the effing place.
A couple of restaurants open. But most closed. Flying felt like going to a funeral. Surprisingly half full plane, no one in the middle seats. No beverage service. Guy in the seat ahead of me was mask shamed before take off. Phoenix 105 degrees.
Day 2: Sun City West, AZ to Cedar City, UT – 432 miles.
Left 105 degree Arizona. I’m driving a stuffed Buick Enclave where my only view is the side mirrors. Passenger manifest: Pops (recovering from a neurological condition called NPH – wet, wobbly and wacky). Beloved mother and bunny killer Bella.
The plan was to stay at the Virgin River Casino in Mesquite, Nevada. Two problems:
Nevada still a “Shelter in Place” state. No resort rooms until this week.
The dispensary in Mesquite, was like a Seinfeld episode. Remember the Soup Nazi? Had to call in an appointment, meet at a set time, order off a web menu, stay in the car, wear your mask. “Sorry you didn’t say Simon Says, NO VAPE FOR YOU!“
A loaded car, a fidgety dog, a dad in a wheelchair in 105 weather. Another first world problem/Covid inconvenience.
So we stopped in North Las Vegas. I ‘n’ I told my Mom, there will be an Uber fee for this trip. Roll into Reef Dispensary in NLV. Mom and I walked right up. She got her CBD/THC “diet coke” vape. And I’n’ I got my elephant tranquilizer vape.
We arrive to our non-smoking, non-vaping, non-whatnot motel and unload for the night: Cedar City, Utah.
From 105 to 35 degrees in 400 miles. Everything is curbside. Cedar City is deserted. Highways are mostly empty. No reason to sight see because nothing is open. Everything is in a holding pattern and tense.
Taking Bella for a walk – looking for poor bunnies to kill – you could feel the Covid around every corner.
Dystopian almost. Three people and a rabbit killer trying to be normal. Will we actually make it to Montana. Second best Covid state when it comes to total cases. Third best in mortality (17 dead.)
Day 3: Cedar City, Utah to Idaho Falls, Idaho – 405 miles
Pretty uneventful. Grinding down an empty highway looking for handi-capable rest stops. Forced to listen to The Bridge on Sirius XM. 1400 miles of wimp rock: Cat Stevens vs. Seals and Croft to see who plays The Eagles in the Mellow Rock championship.
Idaho Falls is a beautiful river city, but we never got farther than curbside at Olive Garden.
Mom and I ‘n’ I vaped while watching Game 6 of the Bulls-Jazz Finals on ESPN. I ‘n’ I should be two months into a season watching my beloved San Francisco Giants struggle to reach .500.
Day 4: Idaho Falls, ID to Fort Benton, MT – 401 miles
Left Idaho Falls, 29 degrees. I ‘n’ I still in shorts and sandals from Phoenix. Heavy fog over the Monida border pass. Giving me vertigo. Ah, what would it be to not have treacherous weather heading into Montana.
We sailed home. Beautiful rivers and green wheat fields. Arrive at the birthplace of Montana and the house I ‘n’ I grew up in.
What better place to hide from the Covid than a river town where the mosquitos are the size of house flies.
Two days later Mom gets this letter from the Chouteau County Health Department:
It has been brought to our attention you may have recently returned from travel out of state in a non- business related capacity.
You are required to do a 14 day self quarantine upon arriving in Montana. This directive is established by Executive Order of the Governor of Montana and is MANDATORY for visitors and residents alike.
This is essential because travel from another state or country is a common source of Covid-19 infection; with 25% of COVID cases in Montana being travel associated.
First and foremost, people don’t want to get sick and don’t want others to get sick. Montanans understand that. The Governor is confident that most Montanans will take this directive seriously and understand their role in cutting off the chain of transmission to save lives and minimize long term impacts to our economy.
Self-quarantine means that the resident MUST stay within the boundaries of the property on which they are residing in while in Montana and CANNOT leave those boundaries or interact with other people.
This includes the resident being prohibited from grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations/convenience stores, bars, places of worship/churches, schools, gatherings.
Exceptions will only be made in the event of medical emergency, fire, natural disaster or other acts of God preventing the ongoing healthful habitat in a residence.
Self-quarantine must be maintained through the expiration of June 1, 2020 for those arriving prior to June 1.
Please call us when you have completed your self-quarantine
This is the world of Covid-1984. The state of Montana had license plate cameras and then harvested my Mom’s GPS locator info from her fancy Iphone. Since when did I need a passport to travel within the United States? But then, maybe trampling a few civil rights is how Montana smashed their curve.
How nice of the Governor of Montana to let my parents escape a burning house or act of God. To abide by this stricture, my parents would have starved before their 14 day home confinement were up.
And this applies to guests too. So how did I spend my self-quarantine?…….a favorite from Fort Benton keggers circa 1983. Judas Priest – Breaking the Law
Day 5: Cratedigging in Missoula.
Ah, the People’s Republic of Missoula. Once we got unpacked, found some rabbits for Bella to munch on and got the house ready for “self quarantine”, I got on the Google and tapped in “Record Stores — Missoula, Montana.”
It’s not enough that they are still in business. (How many will be fatal victims of the Covid. I shudder to think. I fear that more than the critter killing 80 year olds.) They have to be open for customers.
Curbside record shopping is a joke. I have a curbside record hut, it’s called Amazon. I ‘n’ I wanna go in and dig through the crates. Don’t care about curbside.
Rockin’ Rudy’s – still in business – open to customers
Record Heaven, Rockin’ Rudy’s vinyl sister; 2 for 2
Ear Candy records – 3 for 3.
Pack up, grab my vape works and hit the road. Still freezing, but the drive over mountain pass at Lincoln (home of the Unabomber), was free and clear. More rivers to cross, per Jimmy Cliff. Listening to a mix of Led Zeppelin Radio and Little Steven’s Underground Radio. Heard nuff Christopher Cross to last 10 lifetimes.
Montana, as a Shelter in Place state. (As my Pops said – Jesus Christ, the whole state is already shelter in place). Mask mandatory. I ‘n’ I was talking to my Sister getting my vape on before a day of cratedigging. Anyone approaching Rock and Rudy’s without mask was turned away.
Grape Ape vape, 82% Sativa. I’m ready to dig. Fiya burn the Covid!
Ear Candy – $30 (more of a college rock shop where I am looking for dubstep fill ins I didn’t have)
Record Heaven – $150. Very impressed. About $120 of that was Reggae collectors titles and 12″ mix I didn’t have. Bravo. That is more Roots Reggae than I’ve purchased in either Vegas or Phoenix in the past year.
Who knows? Maybe by 2022 KRCL will let me back into the station to juggle some of this great black wax on the turntables.
So there you have it. Cratedigging under quarantine. I ‘n’ I write this blog post from the state prison at Deer Lodge, MT. I left the premises in Fort Benton and spread my goomba to Missoula. They had me before I put the first Bob Marley bootleg CD in the player!
Dammit, shoulda turned off my locator setting on my fancy Iphone!
Smile Jamaica Digital Dubplate – 2020 Roots Reggae Mashup
Zema – Fear Not; Black Sleep (Melchizedek) SoCal female Zap Pow – Last War; Zap Pow (Island) ’78
Yellowman – Lost Mi Love; Mr. Yellowman (Shanachie) ’82
Yabby You – Carnal Mindl; One Love, One Heart (Shanachie) ’84
Banished to your living room. No work, no school, no shopping, no travel, no toilet paper. In Chicago even going for a walk outside can get you arrested.
A whole lotta down time while we all wait for the virus to come get us!
I ‘n’ I was telling Tristin Tabish, KRCL station manager, that a “shelter in place” situation would be ideal for radio listeners. Already we are seeing Netflix and Prime streaming explode.
For. I ‘n’ I, home is a work space. In the Secret Dubratory of the Smile Jamaica Ark-ives, when called upon to generate digital content while KRCL is on lockdown, I just do what I always do, cut and mix sound
Routine is how people can handle the doom porn the media has generated during this crisis. Whenever friends or family start to hyperventilate, I ‘n’ I remind them:
By my Liberal Arts science background, it is not a pandemic until newborns and third graders start dropping like flies.
But what about the boredom? Many diehard KRCL listeners have a weekend pattern of turning on classic rock for breakfast and listen all the way through to Roots Reggae for dinner. Repeat a similar pattern on Sunday.
If you are shut in and forced inside, KRCL ought to have a captured audience of weekday listening akin to weekend “radio companionship.”
Then I get a call from Program Director, Ebay Jamil Hamilton. KRCL is locking down its studio and offices. Mayday! He asked if I would curate a three hour Smile Jamaica from home.
I gladly complied. I’m stir crazy as everyone else.
Everybody is frazzled. Instead of repeating the same old reminders: “social distance, wash your hands, don’t eat bat soup, etc.”, Smile Jamaica listeners have a tether to normality as part of their weekend routine. How about three hours of distraction on a beautiful first Saturday of Spring?
So those listeners wanting to chill with “One Love” or “Irie Up Yourself” or “Burn One Down” you are in for a rude shock. I ‘n I introduced the show with “Smile Jamaica puts the panic in pandemic!”
<Pandemic show intro; 2 min.>
First five Reggae jams:
Twinkle Brothers – Stomach Sick; Me No You (Twinkle) ’81
The Police – Don’t Stand So Close to Me; Zenyatta Mondatta (A & M) ’81
Tenor Saw – Fever; Fever (Blue Mountain) ’85
The Clash – Lost in the Supermarket; London Calling (Epic) ’79
In the same way Pete Townshend wrote Tommy. Or Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage rock opera, I ‘n’ I was crafting a narrative through a digital medium.
I was driving around a deserted Salt Lake City looking for toilet paper and blasting Smile Jamaica, as a listener, from my car hi fi. When I got home a friend texted me: “After ten fever songs followed by Burial , I thought I had the virus.”
Just like Ira Glass. Digital storytelling in a quarantine. Nearly everyone who hit me up on social media wanted to know the same thing: “What was that song you played at the end of Smile Jamaica?”
Wed. AM about 7 o’clock. On the computer seeing how my best gal did in the Tuesday primaries the night before. (Tulsi who?)
Cup of coffee and a green rip. Breakfast of champions. All of a sudden. I hear something rumble. WTF? Did some Corona Virus infectee just slam my house with their car? If so why I am feeling my floor ripple?
Nah, Earthquake. Watch everything shake, rattle and roll. By the time I stabilized my television set, the rumbling stopped. Casualty: one bookcase in my hallway and a Bob Marley picture askew.
My first thought? “Wow this place is a mausoleum!” Got the notice from our Dean that the Marriott Library was closing down completely. Went up to a ghostly campus at the U of U to pick up a few things and make sure all the posters and such didn’t crash off my office walls post Magna 5.7 Earthquake.
On the way home, stop at Smith’s grocery. Praise Anu! Toilet paper. Every mope in the store had one roll in their basket.
Lots of items still out of stock. Cold cuts, cheese, bread. Melotonin section wiped out. No isopropyl alcohol. A lot of people out there needing to clean their bongs? Purell and Lysol a distant memory.
Get home to a call from Ebay Hamilton, KRCL’s program director. No station that rules the nation. Could I curate a 3 hour Smile Jamaica episode for upload? Station on lockdown.
“Working” from home, no deejaying, no record shopping (Record Store Day postponed til June. Summer is the low period for cratedigging). Liquor store closed! No Saturday breakfast with my friends at Left Fork Grill.
THIS VIRUS IS PISSING ME OFF
Everyone is moping around like it is the end of the world. I understand why the need for social distance, etc. But I don’t have to like it.
So here is how I intend to fight back
Not much of a beer drinker anymore, but I’m going to buy a sixer of Corona beer
Watching Andromeda Strain from 1971
3. Friday 4:20 or as I call it “worship”, will continue with my mates six feet away from each other
4. Gonna cratedig on Saturday just to get out of the house and see who is open
5. Listen to Smile Jamaica, as a listener. 3 hour show called: Putting the Panic in Pandemic 2020. From Stomach Sick to Burial
<Smile Jamaica: March 21, 2020 Putting the Panic in Pandemic; 2 min>
Enjoy this teaser from this week’s podcast:
<Smile Jamaica Reggae Virus Mini Opera; 90 sec.>
Ethiopians get the Hong Kong Flu
Susan Cadogan exhibits The Fever
Jah Lloyd says, no vaccine it will leave an infection. Gonna smoke the main jax – the collie weed
That unfortunately “ital” choice leads to the Twinkle Brothers Stomach sick
Alas, Peter Tosh’s Burial
Eat your heart out Frank Zappa and Pete Townshend. Now I ‘n’ I gonna give you 3 hours tomorrow. Gallows humor staves off the doom and gloom
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives March 14, 2020 Annotated Playlist; 1 min. 44 sec.
Ricky Grant & Augustus Pablo – I Love Jah Rastafari + dub; I Love Jah Rastafari (Message) ’78 JA vinyl
Sir Coxson Sound – King of Dubb Rock; King of Dubb Rock (Safari) ’75 UK vinyl dub album of the hour
African Brothers – Mystery of Nature; Want Some Freedom (Easy Star) ’70’s era
It was about 20 years ago. I ‘n’ I was juggling Roots Reggae on Smile Jamaica. One roots gem after another. Phone rings.
Listener calls in. “I appreciate everything you do with Smile Jamaica, but I notice you don’t play very much female Reggae.”
Remember, I ‘n’ I deejay for a small, community radio station. I haven’t had a show review in over a decade. Surely, I ‘n’ I can get into ruts like any other media or arts person.
In my defense, 80% of Reggae recorded in Jamaica, or worldwide for that matter, is performed by male artists. And I ‘n’ I subscribed to Rasta militant dj Big Youth’s maxim: No more songs about girls!
Strictly haaard Roots telling stories about the political underdogs , Rastafari gospel and the 400 years of slavery.
I ‘n’ I thanked the listener for the critical input. From that day on, I want to sift in at least one Roots Dawta into the mix. My sets average 3-4 songs. It has definitely improved the sound of Smile Jamaica and broadens the universal appeal.
And after harvesting through my Ark-Ive, it is every easy to find female Reggae artists singing about roots topics beyond Lovers Rock.
So I ‘n’ I am at the point in organizing and cataloging my Ark-Ive of several thousand Reggae 7″ 45’s. Same as with LP’s and CD’s. Harvest the Roots Dawtas in all my various categories: herb, Marley covers and tributes, rock ‘n’ soul covers, etc.
So, what a great idea to celebrate International Women’s Day with a 3 hour showcase of Reggae Roots Dawtas 7″ 45’s. The Jamaican Jukebox
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: March 7, 2020 – Roots Dawta 7″ Jamaican Jukebox; 69 sec.
Dhaima – Ina Jah Children; 7″ (Joe Gibbs Record Globe) ’77
Prince Fatty – Hollie Cook in Dub (Mr. Bongo) 2012 Dub Album of the Hour
Anicia Banks – I Want to Thank You; 7″ (Ashandan) ’77 Curtis Mayfield/Bob Marley cover
Jennifer Gad – Survival; 7″ (Black Roots) Marcia Griffiths cover
Della Grant – Leggo Africa; 7″ (Twinkle) ’99
Audrey Hall – Groove Situation; 7″ (Kebar) ’76 Keith Rowe cover
Massawa – Free at Last; 7″ (Full Moon) livicated to Nelson Mandela
Sister Nancy – Telephone Challice; 7″ (Volcano) ’82 4:20 Herb
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