Is Reggae music gospel music? Yes and no. What attracted me to Reggae back in the mid 80s was certainly the Rastafari themed music from stalwarts (pronounced stal-a-watt in Jamaica) like Marley, Tosh and Spear.
Of course there is plenty of non-religious Reggae: love songs, pop and soul covers.
I doubt Reggae would have had such cultural saturation in the West on the backs of novelty hits like “Fattie Boom Boom” and “Israelites” or AM covers with a shuffle beat. Something about Reggae’s heavenly message attracted interested Westerners looking for something exotic and non-mainstream.
In the 70s lots of people in the West opted out of Christianity, (especially Catholicism and Judaism), and went for something new. Some went to cults. Others went for Reggae: Movement of Jah People while also protesting against the “system.” Or the corrupt and greedy “shit-stem” as Peter Tosh called it. Socialism with a small “s”.
You don’t have to be a Rasta to sing or enjoy Reggae. But the conventional wisdom is that Reggae is identified as a counter cultural exploration of worship of His Imperial Majesty as a Black Jesus. West Africans ripped from the continent, put down in Jamaica in bondage and expected to worship their master’s white god.
Rebelling against that physical and mental slavery, while still preserving Christian traditions, led to Rastafari in Jamaica: Look to a black king crowned in East Africa. The return of Jesus who will lead blacks out of “Babylon” (The West, Jamaica, UK, America, etc.) to “Zion” (Africa or better still Ethiopia.)
I’m not a Rasta. My roots are in Northern Europe and Iran. I consider myself a Rastafari empathizer. Someone who understands and appreciates the religion as a devoted observer. Not a devotee.
I grew up a twice a year Methodist: Christmas Eve and Easter. The only time the Nelson family really went to weekly Sunday service was the two years my Dad was on the City Council in Fort Benton Montana.
Not that I haven’t been trying to be a “missionary” for the secular consumption of Reggae music. I celebrate Jah for the inspiration in thousands of Reggae tunes that fill my soul with joy. But I am careful not to endorse HIM out of respect for true believers. I don’t want to be a part of what Jacob Miller complained about: Too much commercialization of Rastafari!
The reason I bring this up: I had an interview with Jamaican Reggae singer Etana. So I do what I normally do before a phone interview: go on Wikipedia and read up on the artist’s entry.
Her album I Rise starts off with a gospel cover of a brilliant Bob Marley cover tune: Selassie is the Chapel. Itself an update of an old American gospel tune. Covered by Elvis.
Etana’s entry mentioned her recording genres thusly: Reggae, Gospel.
While introducing her to the radio listeners, I casually mentioned Etana was a Reggae and Gospel artist coming to town. She interrupted me and corrected me. She was most certainly NOT a Gospel singer. Her music was not geared to religiosity.
No worries. I did political interviews for 9 years. You don’t have to agree with me to have a conversation.
But when you lead off your album with a Rasta cover of a full on gospel song you can see where I might have been mistaken!; 21 sec.
By the way, I am not religious either. What earthlings worshipped as Skygods were Ancient Aliens colonizing Earth to mine gold to take back to their homeworld, Nibiru, beyond our galaxy.
Set your I watch alarm to 2900AD. That’s when the Anunnaki return to Earth.
In fact Etana the Reggae Singer, meet Etana the Sumerian King
Etana was an ancient Sumerian king of the city of Kish. According to the Sumerian King List, he reigned after the deluge. The list also calls Etana “the shepherd, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries”, and states that he ruled 1560 years.
Ascended to Heaven in a Chariot of the Gods (Erich Von Daniken)
Here is what I have for you during the next 3 hours of Roots Reggae, Dubwize and Gospel; 18 sec.
Annotated Playlist (photos, captions, Reggae History Lessons, soundbytes)
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: May 30, 3015:
Wayne Jarrett – Saturday Night Jamboree; 12” (Dub Irator) ‘80
Bullwackies All Stars – Recording Connection; Black World (Wackies) ’79 Dub Album of the Week
Smile Jamaica’s Lessons in Deejaying: Why They Call it the “One Drop”
Radio Studio setup 8 Tracks: 3 CDs, 2 Turntables, 1 Microphone, 1 Computer. Any sound on a “hot” track goes over the airwaves.
1 CD for my Dub Album of the Week
If a deejay wants to sample a portion of a song without that song going onto the airwaves, he puts the Track into “cue” mode
The cue speaker is on a different, internal sound channel within the mixing board. Separate from the Tracks that go over the airwaves. The deejay hears those “live” Tracks over the studio’s monitor speakers.
Had to turn the cue volume up to 11 to hear where to drop the needle on the vinyl, back-cue (reverse direction) on the Turntable till dead silence. This is where the next song starts on beat 1 – hot on the air. The One Drop!
Here’s the nitty gritty on Smile Jamaica’s Year-End Vinyl Blowout! (Jah-cember 27, 2014; 1 min. 55 sec.)
Rarities/Vinyl Only classics out of the Ark-Ives
Seven Leaf, 4 down, 46 to go.
<Smile Jah-pocrypha: Skilers want to be in their cars, heading home in time to hear the Smile Jamaica 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement>
Hey Democrats? How’s that lesser of two evils strategy working out? Now we all get to work until the age of 70. If we can find work at all…
On the other hand:
Very good day for the Marijuana Vote. 3 out of the 4 entities on the ballot won. (Florida needed 60% and got 57%; which is encouraging if they try for outright legalization rather than medical MJ in 2016).
My friends call me Nelstradamus* because my political predictions tend to come true. I predicted Obama would be the guy back when it Hillary and the Seven Dwarfs in 2008. I predicted Ukraine and Cold War II before the Winter Russian Olympics. No I will not pick your lottery numbers!
*Last name is Nelson
Let’s seehow Smile Jamaica did on his Marijuana Picks: 3 out of 4.
<Smile Jamaica On Air Pot Prediction Nov. 1, 2014: #1>
<Smile Jamaica On Air Pot Prediction Nov. 1, 2014: #2>
Nov. 4: 2014:
1. Florida Medical Marijuana vote (Amendment 2); FAILED
However, because of the nature of the vote as a Constitutional Amendment it needed 60%. Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas casino magnate, bankrolled the “no’s”. Ironically, the elderly, who could benefit the most from the therapeutic usages of the Seven Leaf, broke no. The usual shibboleth of “medical mj is just a scam to get stoned” kept the measure from crossing the barrier.
Not sure what is next, but if they can finesse a statewide, full on legalization referendum that might only need 50% + 1, it could pass handily. Plus 15% (yes minus no) is encouraging for 2016: where higher (ha hah) turnout will bring more groups that sat out the mid terms: blacks, Hispanics, women, millennials and pretty much everyone else sick of Tweedledum vs. Tweedle Dee
Here is what I said the day before the vote regarding Florida:
Florida. Amendment 2. Medical Marijuana. Smile Jamaica says: No Chance. Needs 60% to pass. Peaked at 57% and has been trending further down.
A much better managed campaign as opposed to the failed vote in 2012. It is encouraging that a mid term vote can be so successful, with a ten point spread. Full out Collie-rado/Washington style legalization, taxation and regulation. Treat it just like alcohol. Result exceeded the polls even with core pro pot constituencies highly (no pun) disengaged by this midterm election.
Here is what I wrote prior to the vote:
Jah-regon: Measure 91. Legalization a la Collie-rado and Washington State. Smile Jamaica says: Most likely going to win. Latest polls are encouraging because of the gap between Yes (52%) and No (41%). Could be hurt if disaffected millennials don’t turn up for the midterm vote. Looks promising but not a lock per DC.
70% yes; 30% no. Emphatic yes. Now you can legally possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis and grow 3 plants. Will be interesting to see how the Feds try to keep it clamped down. But two thirds approval is hard to tamp down (pun intended) if we are still a citizen democracy.
Washington DC: Not full legalization as in #1 and #2 but you can possess up to 2 ounces of cured bud and be able to grow six plants. Huge YES. Will probably cross over 60% yes. But it’s gonna be a nightmare.
So much of surrounding DC is federal jurisdiction. You don’t want to get busted with a stalk of sensi on Fedland. You’re gonna be under Heavy Manners. Plus in a likely ascendant Republican Congress, DC is going to probably face Congressional roadblocks to any semi-legalimplementation.
Jah-laska: Ballot Measure 2. Legalization a la Collie-rado and Washington State. Smile Jamaica says: Most likely not going to win
Here I what I said before the vote:
I have seen too many negative polls and only one outlier pro pot result that seemed too good to be true, so it seems suspect. 52% No to 48% Yes, but if millennials don’t show up for the midterm vote it will fall short. Should have waited until 2016 with more robust youth and libertarian turn out. Hope I’m wrong!
I was wrong! Way to go Jah-laska. Legal couch lock is better than booze during those long cold winters.
I assumed (you know what they say about assume? Makes an ass out of you and me) that a demoralized Progressive libertarian turnout combined with a grumpy motivated Tea Party libertarianism would make the YES come up just short. Nice little upset there!
A local Guamanian (?) government commission is now obligated to set up a program to administer and implement the medical marijuana apparatus for dispensaries and cards for those seeking relief from debilitating diseases like cancer, AIDS and glaucoma.
here’s what I said on this blog the day before the vote about Guam:
Guam: Joaquin (KC) Concepcion II Compassionate Cannabis Use Act of 2013. Medical Marijuana and the creation of legal dispensaries. Vote would ratify the legislation. Smile Jamaica says: I can’t find any reliable polls but its dependency to Federal jurisdiction makes any implementation difficult.
2016 Legalization Predictions.
What happens the next two years: Obama is a lame duck. The Republicans will rage about a thousand year majority. We 1%ers are about to get what they call in Reggae: Heavy Manners. We the sheeple are gonna be pissed off like 2008.
More and more of the elderly will be funneled into their mandated Obamacare Death Panels. Those who grew up thinking marijuana was the gate way drug to get white girls to sleep with minorities are going off to the next world in incrementally higher numbers from a diet too rich in cat food.
New voters who have no problem with weed whatsoever gonna start taking their place. Ryan and Jennifer are gonna be much more kind (pun intended) to the Seven Leaf than Fred and Ethel
The demographics should be ripe for a full court Legalization press.
These states should be able to successfully get full Collierado style legalization going. Let’s quit pussyfooting around with medical marijuana. Legalization, regulation and taxation. Once the government gets a tax in place, they get hooked on the green. Kasheesh. In the same way states never drop or lower their Sales Tax. O-sterity ahead. No stone (pun intended) left unturned as states scrounge for funds to try and make up the short fall.
Expect thin gruel from the feds in the next two years. States budgets are going to be meager. Marijuana sales receipts and cannabis tourism can make up for the Neoliberal beatdown coming our way.
Collie-fornya is the big prize considering the success of Washington and Oregon. The 9th biggest economy in the World. If California legalizes the collie weed, it’s game over. Might as well just put forward a Federal Legalization bill.
Jah-waii: More lucrative potential than coffee. Imagine the tourism opportunities. Guam style mid 50’s yes
Arizona and New Mexico. Libertarian Arizona and more progressive New Mexico are prime states for building organic, local grass roots legalization. Both would be difficult but not impossible. New Mexico the more likely.
Jah-vada: I know that the casinos, who call the shots in a one industry state, hate the idea of legalization. They don’t want people flying in to Vegas, getting a $30 a night smoking hotel room so they can burn weed all weekend instead of hitting the strip clubs or slot machines. Rural areas should be encouraged by the hemp products potential.
Jah-tana. My home state with its libertarian bent is a long shot, but there is some energy building. Grassroots (pun intended) shoe leather via the college towns like Missoula and Bozeman would be the center of the effort. But you have to get Billings and the rural communities in the Eastern two thirds of the state. My mom would vote yes. My dad? As long as you don’t tax his Olympia Beer to pay for legalization, I could lobby him for a yes.
If those states voted yes, that would leave only the Mormon Triangle states of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho as bastions of No. I’m waiting to see what Colorado’s ski industry gains from legalization at the expense of Utah’s “stone age” (pun intended) mentality.
The legalization movement has to branch out from the West. These states should have the mechanism to pass legalization
Wisconsin and Michigan should be successful with a well funded and articulated campaign. Illinois too. Lots of rural areas in these states but working the issues could overcome provincial prejudices.
Ohio and Minnesota have potential but need to start right now on the campaign.
I fully expect these states to say yes to legalization: New Hempshire, Vermont and Maine. (I mean, Vermont means green for Jah’s sake!).Piggy back those efforts to rope in Delaware and Rhode Island.
If you can get New York, New Jah-sey and Jah-sylvania. It’s game over. Might as well make it easy on all 50 states.
I full expect the South to successfully secede from the Union in the next two years. So why bother.
So November 2016, I want to be able to say: 16 down, 34 to go!