Third World re­mem­bers hot day in Mo­rant Bay

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mel Cooke Gleaner Writer

Mem­bers of Third World Band gather around a mi­cro­phone play­ing per­cus­sion in­stru­ments on Thurs­day night’s main stage con­cert on the 2015 Wel­come to Jam­rock Reg­gae Cruise.

THE SUN­DAY Gleaner con­tin­ues to re­visit songs about Ja­maica’s Na­tional He­roes in Oc­to­ber, ahead of Na­tional He­roes Day 2016.

Third World’s 1865 (96 De­grees in the Shade) is es­pe­cially rel­e­vant, bear­ing in mind the govern­ment’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to have all of the coun­tries’ Na­tional He­roes ex­on­er­ated of crim­i­nal con­vic­tions, as Paul Bogle and Ge­orge Wil­liam Gor­don were both hanged for their roles in the Mo­rant Bay Up­ris­ing, which the song is about.

St Thomas, has the du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion of of­ten be­ing dis­missed as the for­got­ten parish, but for those who are into reg­gae and one of its most durable and out­stand­ing ex­po­nents, the Third World band, their song, 1865 (96 De­grees in the Shade), has sig­nif­i­cance con­nected to the year, events in the parish which led to a leg­endary trek, a re­bel­lion, a mas­sacre, hang­ings and two of Ja­maica’s Na­tional He­roes.

The year was 1865. The trek was from Stony Gut to Span­ish Town and back. (“Ex­cel­lency, be­fore you I come with my rep­re­sen­ta­tion, you know where I’m com­ing from.”) The re­bel­lion was around the Mo­rant Bay Court­house. The mas­sacre was of more than 400 black peo­ple by sol­diers less than three decades af­ter Eman­ci­pa­tion. The hang­ings were of over 350 more. (“You caught me on the loose, fight­ing to be free, show me your noose un­der cot­ton tree, en­ter­tain­ment for you, mar­tyr­dom for me.”)

The two he­roes are Paul Bogle and Ge­orge Wil­liam Gor­don, who live for­ever in the pub­lic mem­ory. (“Some may suf­fer and some may burn, but I know that one day my peo­ple will learn, as sure as the sun shines, way up in the sky, to­day I stand here a vic­tim the truth is I’ll never die.”)

And it was real hot, some “ninety-six de­grees in the shade, ten thou­sand sol­diers on pa­rade”.

The song is 1865 (96 De­grees in The Shade), the ti­tle track of Third World’s sec­ond al­bum, re­leased in 1977, and which Ge­orge Wil­liam Gor­don re­mains a stand­out song al­most 40 years later. That out­stand­ing al­bum also con­tains Jah Glory, a cover of Paul Bogle Dream­land, Feel a Lit­tle Bet­ter, Hu­man Mar­ket­place and Rhythm of Life.

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