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    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

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Passing

Posted by shanoah on May 20, 2008

Hmmm… With a song name like “Black Betty“, I’d probably have latched on to lyrics like “She really gets me high”, and assumed it was about drugs. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. Despite being way too straight and sober, a surprising about of music I listen to has lyrics about drugs. Along with murder ballads and highwaymen, of course.

In fact, the themes in the expanded Tom Jones version somewhat remind me of the traditional Irish song, “Black Velvet Band“. Though that might be because of my familiarity with its parody, “Black Leather Band”… 🙂

Anyways, today I thought I’d share a song that hooked me on the radio quite a while back. It was a #1 on the charts in the UK for a while in 1982, and was on the soundtrack to the Wedding Singer more recently. This song is very vibrant, energetic, and catchy, and immediately caught my attention:

Pass the Duchie – Musical Youth

A duchie is a type of pot used for cooking, and with the lyrics “How does it feel when you’ve got no food”, it’s clearly a song about poverty and starvation, right? A duchie may also now be slang for marajuana, but it wasn’t at the time, after all.

Actually, it’s a bit more complicated then that. It is actually a cover of a song “Pass the Kuchie”, by the Mighty Diamonds, with changed lyrics, and that song was definitely about marijuana:

Pass the Kuchie – Mighty Diamonds

How do you like the original? “How do you feel when you got no herb” makes it pretty blatant. Still a fun song, though I don’t really think the performance has quite the vibrancy of the Musical Youth version. Oh, and a kuchie is a pipe used for smoking pot (Since I’m assuming I’m not the only one clueless about drug terminology).

Now, mind you the baseline and drum pattern you hear in the background, what they would call in Jamaican or Caribbean music the “riddim” is older. It is called “Full Up“:

Full Up – Leroy Sibbles ( The Heptones & the High Notes)

This is the musician that created that riddim playing it. As you can tell, this performance is after “Pass the Duchie”, so he tips his hat to it at the end.

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