The first time my musical interest veered from the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; James Taylor and even compilation K-Tel Records (can’t believe K-Tel is still in business), it had to be when I met Andy’s father.
Over the course of a weekend, my friend Andy Adams and I, had collected genips from trees in our neighborhood of Blair, selling them on the side of the road to passing cars…the Bahamian version of a roadside lemonade stand. We were likely 9 or 10 years old.
Andy’s father was a drummer in a band called the King of Knights, which also owned a club by the same name. His father was extremely talented, blasting Junkanoo style rhymes and 70′s Bahamian calypso at their house and in the dimly lit club. Around the same time, the local radio station was playing a version of Brown Girl in the Ring by an artist named Exuma. It was brilliant rendition of the Caribbean standard. Mr. Adams also had a copy — its cover depicting Exuma in a stunning set of wings dressed in island garb, which to a preadolescence boy was enthralling. Exuma (whose real name was Macfarlane Gregory Anthony Mackey) brought this classic version of Brown Girl in the Ring to life.
With the money earned from genips, I went to the local music shop and picked up a copy, playing it repeatedly on an avocado-green plastic General Electric turntable that pumped (more like squeaked) sound through a 3-inch mono speaker, until I knew instinctually every word of every song.
And so began my obsession for world music.
Amazingly, I still have this album. There are 11 tracks. Here are three of my favorites — tracks 1, 9 and 11.
If you’re interested in buying this very rare album, I’ve found a few here on Amazon. Worth having in the collection, highlighting one of the more unique Bahamian artists of the 60′s and 70′s.
Here’s an excellent review of Exuma’s influence on Bahamian culture.
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May 1, 2011 2 Comments