Thursday, 26 February 2009

Lady Rastas Special

I'm back with a special theme: songs about female Rastafarians. And after agonising for hours over which of my extensive collection of such songs to feature in the end I thought "to Hell with it, let's do them both".

Both of them come from Trinidad. First up is the immortal Lord Melody (real name: Fitzroy Alexander), one of the greatest calypsonians that ever lived. He was the main rival to the Mighty Sparrow in the 1950s and 1960s (when he died Sparrow recorded a lovely tribute to him called "Play one for Melo" which I must put up one day). By the time he recorded "Madame Rasta" in 1979 soca was in his infancy and he was trying it on for size, in his usual melodious mid-tempo way. The album this comes from, "Sugar Jam", is one of my all-time favourites.

Fast forward to the mid 1980s and soca as we recognise it now was up and running. Explainer (real name: Winston Henry) had a couple of radio hits in the UK with "Notting Hill" and "Lorraine". Here he is with "Rasta Girl", which is less an affectionate tribute and more an excuse for a bit of single entendre involving the word "ras".

I tried to find a decent quality clip of Explainer performing "Lorraine" on YouTube but failed, so you will have to make do with this Lorraine instead:

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