musicology #541

Jamaica #21

(Wailing Souls – Don’t Fight)

So as the 70’s begun Jamaican music yet again changed gear this time from the light soulful, and more accessible sounds of the 60’s into the roots and culture. Why? of course there are many reasons but the ones that stand out for me are 1: The artists were beginning to grow weary of being exploited by the producers 2: the social fabric of the island was rapidly disintegrating and 3: Rastafarianism was becoming ever more popular in the ghettos especially with the artists and musicians. Of course the Big producers couldn’t really get involved as they were, in essence, Capitalist.

Not surprisingly this change of gear didnt go down well with the record buying public ‘up a foreign’ who weren’t really interested in Ghetto music that talked about sufferation, poverty, exploitation, (no change there then) No they would rather hear about how much the sun shined, unrequieted love and how Jamaica was a paradise…a holiday destination that they could one day envisge visiting. Truth is that most people don’t listen to music to hear about harsh reality, (unless it’s glamourised of course), rather use music to escape reality. So Jamaican music turned inwards, (due mainly to internal demand), and the Roots & Culture came to dominate the dancehall.

I’m sticking with the roots, (as unpopular as it is), because for me it’s the essence of Jamaican, (and all come to that), music. Today’s cut is another one from the hallowed halls of Sir Coxsone Dodd’s Studio 1 sung by the MAJESTIC Wailing Souls. (essentially Winston ‘Pipe’ Matthews and Lloyd ‘Bread’ McDonald), Both born and raised in Trenchtown a Kingston district synonymous with Reggae producing greats such as Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Joe Higgs and the Wailers, (to name but a few), Joined in this period by the notorious Errol ‘Batman’ Wilson, (brother of Delroy), who was immortalised in the Slickers cut ‘Johnny Too Bad’. But it was as a quartet in 1969/1971 that they truly made their mark first at Studio 1 with a selection of cuts from where this one is taken and then following on at the Wailers label Tuff Gong.



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