You may recognise 'Jah No Dead' from Winston Rodney's impassioned solo acapella version, sung over the sound of crashing waves in the 1978 film 'Rockers'. If you're unfamiliar with the scene, it's well worth a couple of minutes of your time (here). The original Burning Spear studio version of the song was released under the title 'Marcus Say Jah No Dead' on the 'Social Living' LP, also in 1978. Two years later an extended mix appeared on the flipside of the 12" single 'Free the Whole Wide World'.
Monday 24 January 2022
Monday 17 January 2022
Friday 14 January 2022
Over a period of many years in the pre-internet days, my Mum patiently attempted to pull together the various strands of our family tree. It was a difficult and longwinded task back then. She visited graveyards, examined ancient registers, scoured censuses and drafted letters to organisations around the country and beyond in an effort to connect the dots between seemingly unconnected names, faces and dates. Whenever I'd go home for a weekend, she'd excitedly tell me of her latest discovery - who was related to who, in what way, where they were born and when they died. I, of course, nodded and smiled, absorbing next to none of her laboriously gleaned discoveries, while probably stuffing a sandwich down my neck before heading off to the pub to meet my chums. Years later, I'm left with Mum's research. Scraps of paper, scribbled notes, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and fading photos. The dots she painstakingly tried to connect now fill several dusty carrier bags. I'm gradually transferring it all onto Ancestry, but I wish I'd taken more notice at the time. It meant as much to Mum then as it does to me now.
This is Alice, my maternal great-Grandmother. She was born in 1856 and died in August 1927, five years before Mum was born. Her husband Charles, my maternal great-Grandfather, pre-deceased her in November 1924 aged 67. They are both interred at Bow cemetery in the East End of London
Today's tune is an absolute beauty from Tom Waits and contains one of my favourite couplets of his: '...arithmetic arithmetock, turn the hands back on the clock...'
Wednesday 12 January 2022
Friday 7 January 2022
One day in the mid-1980's, very quietly, without fuss or announcement, Dad stopped eating meat. Never once, from that moment until he passed away in 2007, did I ever hear him use the word vegetarian to describe himself, yet he never ate meat again. He'd simply finally reached the point where he could no longer square his love of animals with the consumption of dead flesh. He made no big deal of it, felt no obligation to justify his decision and never attempted to persuade anyone else to do the same thing. It was purely a line he felt he could no longer cross. Indeed, Mum continued to be a meat-eater for the rest of her life and it was a further 5 or 6 years until I became a vegetarian.
Dad's love of animals extended well beyond our family pets. Mum's eyes would roll as she'd tell me about car journeys delayed by Dad pulling up to rescue a injured bird (they then drove around for a couple of hours looking for a vet to leave it with) or, in this particular case from 1983, to free a sheep caught in a barbed wire fence on a remote country lane. He wouldn't use any tools to do the job as he neither wanted to accidentally hurt the sheep or damage the fence, so he untangled it painstakingly by hand. The sheep remained calm throughout the lengthy process apparently, seemingly well aware that Dad was friendly and there to help.
Today's soundtrack is provided by Welsh guitarist Toby Hay, who has released three albums under his own name, another in tandem with Jim Ghedi plus a number of EPs. 'Sheep Song' is Hay's contribution to the 2020 Tompkins Square compilation album 'Imaginational Anthem Vol. X'.
Wednesday 5 January 2022
Monday 3 January 2022
A belated tribute to the great Robbie Shakespeare today, by way of 'Gates of Zion', a stand alone 1980 single from The Mighty Diamonds. The tune was cut at Channel One, so, given the time frame, my guess is that the backing is supplied by The Revolutionaries, though Robbie and his lifelong partner in riddim Sly Dunbar are in fact the only musicians officially credited, outside of the vocal trio themselves. Rest in dub Robbie.
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