One time I made a mix that was Belle’s Saddest Mix Ever. This was to go with my brother Ben’s Saddest Mix Ever. The were not disjunct. This song by Toots and the Maytals was on both:
Everytime I see your face
Something moves within my heart
And it thrills me to my soul
And tells me that
Love is gonna let me down…
When I was little we didn’t listen to any 70s dance music much. Funk like Kool and the Gang, passively, but my parents liked country blues, regular old country, the Stones, punk, my dad has always been a big Clash fan…for so long as there has been The Clash for him to be a fan of. All that kind of Rare Groove type music I got into on my own. These songs are all songs I listened to a million times as a kid. My dad is a really talented guitarist. Really, freakishly talented? He plays normal guitar (like a little Brazilian rosewood acoustic he got recently) but he also plays 10-string bottleneck slide. So, an acoustic 12-string guitar, with the additional strings removed from the 2 highest strings, and a bottleneck slide. These are fun to make: you put the bottle on its side in the bottom of a barrel and then drop a brick on it from eye height. You kind of sand it smooth later with…jeweler’s rogue or something? He has stage fright of a sort, so despite being just excellent and playing with quite a few people he has never been a professional. He plays a great version of The Heptones “Book of Rules”
And while we’re on the subject of how one is meant to live the good life, what’s God like? Does he have qualities? Attributes? No? Yes? Wait, just “I Am That I Am”? Excellent.
It’s not Bob Marley’s fault with the thing about that one compilation album, you know. This is my brother Ben’s speciallest song just for me. (Not like how y’alls’ brothers don’t love y’all and their special song for y’all is “War Ina Babylon” by Max Romeo and The Upsetters. Um, good call, actually, I take that back. Y’alls’ brothers sound alright.)
My favorite of ever when I was a kid was…maybe same as everyone? On a re-edit, same as everyone? Unclear concept there. In any case, the Melodians “Rivers of Babylon.” My dad would play this on the guitar and we would all sing. I really associate it with the special tickly feeling of walking on a new shrimp net after my dad made one, tied the weights on, and would spread it out on the gray painted floor of the screened porch downstairs. Walls and supports white, floor gray, ceiling sky blue—all these are mandatory Low Country porch colors. Our shutters have a spade cut out of them and are forest green; it is permissible for such shutters to be black. When the tide is high, then the wind is moving, and then you can hear all the palmetto fronds bustling over themselves in a hurry to get nowhere, and music playing, and my dad would let me drink the second half of his can of beer as I walked methodically round and round, barefoot, on the perfect entanglement.