Round 2: ROCKERS

From: Joe

The challenge with "Orthodox" is that it is a quite narrow and particular category, probably originating at the Judah Seal Museum on South Street, leaving only well-known rasta anthems to triumph as a kind of stand-in category.  The challenge with the category "Rockers" on the other hand is that it is so broad as to be a nearly empty signifier.  I guess technically it refers to Sly Dunbar's mid-70s emphasis on the first as well as the third beats in a standard reggae rhthym.  Much falls into that realm, and what's more the term has been used to describe all manner of reggae beyond that.  Staying within the Sly Dunbar def, I'll go with Horace Andy's "Skylarking." New Breed used to cover this great song as part of their standard set at Negril Palms.  I totally loved it then, and still do.  The rockers beat is both insistent and heavy.  The tune is incredibly contagious. The lyrics, admonishing youths for street hustling and warning of its consequences is classic Jamaican moralizing.  And of course, Horace Andy's unique vocal quality and phrasing pull it all together and make it especially haunting and powerful.


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