Monday, December 18, 2006
In the early '80's I took a trip to Barbardos. The song "Jack" was playing in the airport when I arrived. I heard it in the taxi on the way to my hotel, I heard it at the bars on the beach, I heard it on the party boats. Every bar band in every club I went into played it at least once a set. It was all over the place, and everyone loved it. One of my lasting images of that trip is dancing drunkenly down a gangway on the Bajan Princess party boat in a line of tourists as this song blasted out of the boat's Radio Shack-speakers. It's ironic how much we all loved that song considering how anti-tourist it was.
Back then, one of the things that distinguished Barbados from other Caribbean islands was that all of the beaches were public, including the ones in front of the expensive resorts. There were rumors that the government was going to change that, and this song was a protest directed at Jack Dear, an attorney for the board of tourism .
Mighty Gabby - Jack
The great thing about calypso is its ability to camoflage - or at least soften - extremely subversive messages in its sunny, steel drum-based sound. "Jack" certainly illustrates that. So does Lily Allen's "LDN," if you want to check out a current example.
Lily Allen - LDN