Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Lyrics Man

Max Romeo is one of reggae's great songwriters and this tune, 'Heads A Go Roll', showcases that talent really well. It's mostly based on chapter 5 of the Epistle of James; it may seem simple, but it takes real skill and vision to refashion the original scripture into a great song like this.



Givin' out my warning...
Now you rich people listen to me
Weep and wail over the miseries
That are coming, coming up on you
Your riches have rotted away
And your clothes have been eaten by moth
Your gold and silver is covered with rust
And this rust will be witness against you
And eat up your flesh like fire
You have piled up your riches in these last days
But heads a go roll down Sandy Gully one of these days
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully that's what Marcus says

Your life here on earth have been filled with luxury and pleasure
You have made yourself fat for the day of slaughter
You've not paid the men that work in your fields
The cries of those that gather your crops
Have reached the ears of Jah, Jah Almighty
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully one of these days
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully that's what Marcus says

Dog up a Beverley Hills a eat T-bone steak an' drink cornflakes
While poor people in the ghetto a rake an' scrape to get a cake

Be patient my brother be patient as a farmer is patient
As he waits for the autumn and the spring rains to water his crops
You also must be patient and keep your hopes up high
Happy are those who greatest desire is to do what Jah Jah require

Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully one of these days
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully that's what Marcus says
Bald head a go roll down Sandy Gully one of these days
Heads a go roll down Sandy Gully that's what Marcus says
I say; you look, you look, you look and you can't see...
I said; you listen, you listen, you listen and you can't hear... 


This song was released on the LP 'Revelation Time', and has been re-released by Blood & Fire on the the CD 'Open The Iron Gate'. This features the whole of the original LP, plus both sides of 'Jehosephat The Lost Valley' (absolutely indispensible), 'Every Man Ought To Know' (beautiful poetic lyrics) and the 12" version of 'Melt Away', and is one CD that every reggae lover should have. 

Incidentally, there's a great interview with Max Romeo here.

1 comment:

Yorkshire Soul said...

Dear Steve, can I just say how much I am enjoying this blog and the wonderful music you post here, long may it continue.