The Kingsmen in Kingston?
Ok maybe not, but I confess the image did come to mind when I heard this story about the long unlikely love-affair Jamaicans have with country music. For a taste, check out Beres Hammond’s cover of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” In the story, there’s also a cover of “The Gambler.” I’m smitten.
This stuff brings a smile to my face, for some reason. I think that unlike most covers, these not only reimagine the music but reconceive its cultural value. At least when I hear it, it’s as if my rural, culturally southern, Baptist childhood and all the social threads woven into that music and place and world have been transported and resituated to the Caribbean - somehow the same and totally different all at once.
But of course your mileage may vary.
Anyway, the story notes that part of the appeal here is the quasi-universal power of good storytelling and, more to the point, the deep strain of sentimentality and love of schmaltz running through Jamaican culture.
And this is where my title comes in. Given the sentimentality and the fairly significant strain of pious, charismatic evangelical heart religion in the Jamaica, maybe Peg and the Perrys or the K-men and a few other groups who have (historically, at least) had a knack for good gospel balladeering in the three-hanky special stryle should try a tour of the islands, eh mohn?
If not, I’d settle for Beres Hammond covering “Tears Will Never Stain the Streets of that City.”Email this Post