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This Life  

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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Ahmed Yahaya – Joe           

Back in the halcyon days when a bunch of talented youth dropped their debut “Right Time” LP, the album jacket included the lyrics of the Patois crooned – “Natty dread will never run away, no, no, no…..When the parson come, him a go quote the scripture,”

I vividly recollect that person was a new word to me. So, I asked my father what it meant. After scolding me about my teenage characteristic of under-utilizing the dictionary gathering dust on the bookshelf in our parlor, he nonetheless explained it was another word for the pastor.

I wanted to also ask him who the dickens was Marcus Garvey and where on earth Trench town is but chickened out. It was not until modern African politics in the History syllabus of WAEC that I came to know Mr. Garvey was not even a Rastafarian.

Meanwhile, whoever thought the most sung-about ghetto in the world and indeed the birthplace of reggae used to be a vast livestock farm owned by Daniel Trench (1813-1884), son of an Irish plantation owner and slave-holder. It started becoming a shantytown in the 1930s outskirts of the Jamaican capital, Kingston.

Currently out of the melodious trio of Mighty Diamonds there is only one surviving member in the person of Lloyd Ferguson seen right in both pictures.

Donald Shaw and Fitzroy Simpson both died earlier this year 6 days apart. In both pictures, they are left and center respectively.

How can one ever forget their evergreen tunes with that drum and bass combo by Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare?

 “Why Me Black Brother Why”, “Shame and Pride”, “Them Never Love Poor Marcus”, “I Need a Roof”, “Have Mercy”………..

Was U-Roy the brother of I-Roy?

Ewart Beckford (U) and Roy Samuel Reid (I) were just Trenchtown pals of the same age both born in 1942 but passing on in 2021 and 1999 respectively.

What really broke up the original Wailers?

Many believe it was Peter Tosh’s egomania but it was actually the field negro/house Negro dynamic in Trenchtown. A lighter skin Bob Marley was a more marketable and less controversial international music brand for Chris Blackwell’s Island Records label.

From Mighty Diamonds of Jamaica to Mighty Jets of Jos those were the days.

Tick, tock, tick, tock………

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