by Tom Hallett
Wha’ppen, Stars? So, yeh, I an’ I duck de baldheads dis week, mon, an’ don’t you know I been lookin’ for I dreddies fo’ so long, too. It I-rey, feel no way, mon. Babylon an’ dem mascots dey cork up de streets but I an’ I we got de chalice an’ de hard drummer, mon. So don’ vex, no, rank up an’ satta, I seen I? Good, good. Now les’ mash it out, Rasta ...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Facts are facts an' t'ings are t'ings: dem's
all a lotta bullshit. Hear me! Dere is no truth but de one truth, an' dat is
de truth of Jah Rastafari.” — Bob Marley
SONG OF THE WEEK: “Grooving On An Inner Plane” —
25th Anniversary DVD Edition
MVD/Blue Sun (1979/2005)
So you’ve seen “The Harder They Come” 38 times, you have
every Jimmy Cliff album, your dreads are now longer than the time it’s
been since you had a girlfriend to admire them, and you just know you’re
gonna hit the mother lode of lost and rare Jamaican 45s on the ol’ e-Bay
any day now, huh? Well, if that’s you, you surely have a copy of this
DVD in your collection already. And if that’s you and you don’t,
well, I an’ I gotta tellya you ain’t even close to havin’
a complete reggae collection.
Originally released in 1979 (1980 in the culturally-retarded U.S. of A.), the
Jamaican-filmed and acted mocku-doc “Rockers” is, hands down, the
greatest movie ever made about reggae, Rastafarianism and the rock bottom, salt-of-the-earth
culture of that balmy island nation.
Frankly, the viewer could simply zip through this DVD and find live performance
after live performance that would captivate and cultivate the mind—but
there’s so much more to this little gem. Beyond the almost overwhelmingly
great musical appearances (Burning Spear, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Third World,
The Heptones, Junior Murvyn and literally dozens more), superbly remastered
sound and crystal-clear camera shots lies an equally fascinating movie dealing
with the desperation, oppression and, ultimately, the raw, undeniable hope of
a people who take the absolute worst social and personal situations and find
Jah—their personal spiritual leader—shining inside of each and every
Starring the Rasta-riffic Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace as your humble
protagonist—along with a veritable who’s who of Jamaican legends
in the roles of such colorful characters as Dirty Harry, Jah Tooth, Big Youth,
Smart, Dillinger, Honiball, Leggo Beast, Jeep Man and Bongo Herman—“Rockers”
follows the daily musical and social exploits of a close-knit group of friends
living in the heart of the ghetto. Horsemouth, a “hard” drummer
(meaning really, really fucking good), splits his time between playing gigs
where he invariably pisses off someone he’s working for, and dabbling
in music-related business.
After borrowing a sizeable sum of cash from friends, associates, lovers and
his girlfriend (with whom he has several children, and who is in a constant
state of agitation over his misadventures), Horsemouth lays down the bread for
an almost-new motorbike. His plan is to use the bike to start a record distribution
business in direct competition with the Jamaican mafia. The mafia, who have
been ripping off recording artists and folks around the countryside in general,
have a huge warehouse full of all of their ill-gotten gains. One fateful day,
Horsemouth’s bike is stolen by a mafia stooge, and once he tracks it down
to said warehouse, the shit hits the fan.
follows is a slew of killer live reggae performances interspersed with Horsemouth’s
revenge on the mafia. I won’t give away the ending (natch!), but suffice
it to say that there’ve been a lot of movies (and music) made in the intervening
years solely because somebody watched this flick. The fact that it’s shot
on location, with real musicians and native actors, is all the more credit to
producer Patrick Hulsey, who, in an interview on Rockers TV (check out the many
extras in this package—it’s loaded!) says, “I used to go down
and watch “The Harder They Come” over and over. And smoke a fattie.
Then I went to Jamaica...”
An awesome piece of history and a welcome breath of musical fresh air from a
land that will never be the same and a time that can never return. Worth a watch
for ANY discerning music fan, and an absolute must-have for reggae fans. Now
I an’ I shake out, mon, take dis spliff an’ t’ink on it. Rasta
can’t live in no tenement yard ... One Love!
Buy “Rockers”—and a cornucopia of other great reggae titles—online
*HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DUCKBILL!!*
That’s it for this time ‘round, mates. Tune in again for another
blast of rock ’n’ roll reality, same time, same space, next week.
Until we meet again—make yer own cho! news! ||
If you have local music news/gigs/events/CDs you’d
like to see mentioned in this column, or you’d just like to get natty
wit’ my dread, send replies to: Tmygunn777@peoplepc.com.