Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Lovindeer & the Lighter Side of Life
In the relatively short history of reggae music there have been a number of artists who have presented hard-hitting subject matter in a light-hearted manner but then you have Lovindeer. He never attempted to address global or overtly conscious subjects, he preferred to deal with the everyday concerns, annoyances and the humor in daily Jamaican life. As a member of a vocal group called the Fabulous Flames he never achieved great success but when he went solo and released a self-produced comical track on the state of public transportation in Jamaica called “The Blinking Bus” in the late 70’s, he went to number one. He followed that one up a string of popular tracks, many in a style that the prudish would consider to be slack, or vulgar. The songs “Kratches,” “Panty Size,” “Government Boops” and “Don’t Bend Down” to name a few were popular but didn’t get the airplay that would catapult them to hit status. In 1988 Hurricane Gilbert ravaged Jamaica and Lovindeer’s track “Wild Gilbert” in his trademark humorous style went straight to number one and remains his biggest hit. A couple years later Lovindeer went with a more calypso/soca inspired sound after the influx of newer dancehall or “ragga” took hold in Jamaica.
Outside of Jamaica Lovindeer never achieved great popularity but I found one of his records at a Caribbean grocery store about 12 years ago when shopping for Ting and Scotch Bonnet peppers, and I was immediately hooked. His music took some research to understand initially because of the use of Jamaican slang but once I understood the subject matter on some of the tracks I appreciated the music for what it was. After buying at least 6 or 7 of his LP’s at the same market over the next couple years I would always enjoy taking a lighthearted break from potent topics when I dropped the needle on a Lovindeer LP.
I present here for your listening pleasure three Lovindeer tracks taken from his Best of CD released on his TSOJ label (The Sound of Jamaica) a bunch of years ago. The LPs present longer versions of each track but I’m unable to rip anything from vinyl until I put my dubbing capabilities back together again. My only annoyance with this CD is the exclusion of some of the slacker tracks, in particular “Kratches” that is without a doubt one of his funniest. I’ll share that at a later date…
The tracks are…
1. De Blinkin’ Bus
2. Wild Gilbert
3. Babylon Boops