“Under Heavy Manners” by Prince Far I - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1977Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

For the second time since gaining independence in ’62, Jamaica declared itself to be in a state of emergency in June ’76, the result of increasingly violent outbreaks across the country in the run up to the election. The ruling PNP charged that the JLP and CIA were plotting to destabilise the country. In particularly volatile areas, curfews were put in place, forbidding citizens to be out between 8pm and 6am. In next to no time, nearly 200 agitators were in detention. Labour vs Conservative (UK) or Republican v Democrat (US) are puppy contests compared to the vicious Rottweiler savagery of PNP vs JLP in Jamaica, very often a matter of life or death.

Prince Far I was recording with Joe Gibbs at this time and this collaboration resulted in a 45 issued in response to the troubles, “Heavy Manners”, a cut riding on another of Joe’s productions, Naggo Morris’ “Su Su Pan Rasta” from ’75. It’s very cleverly done, retaining Naggo’s wailing and adding police siren imitations as Far I lets rip with a heavy bout of sarcasm and a call to Joe (Gibbs) and Rastafarians in general to distance themselves from the whole sorry affair: “discipline is what the world needs today baby, heavy, heavy discipline… war in the east and, war in the west, war in the north, war in the south, crazy Joe get dem out, what a terrible bout.” So popular was this phrasing in the nation’s conscious that “under heavy manners” became an everyday phrase to describe the ten-month-long State of Emergency. Unbelievably, the governing party utilised it in one of their key campaign slogans: “Vote against violence. Vote ‘Heavy Manners’. Vote PNP.” A full album followed under this title in ’77, with the aforementioned hit single serving as the closing cut.

The album starts toughly with “Rain A Fall” as Far I re-treads an earlier Marleyism from “Them Belly A Full”: “an hungry man is an angry man”. Next up is “Big Fight”, a humorous winner about a boxing bout between a Dread and a Babylonian. Of course, Dread has love in his heart and Babylon is ignorant. The action-thriller fantasy concludes, not unsurprisingly, with the revelation that if you “Look in a the Gleaner and you will see, Natty Dread a thee univershall champion of the universe right now”. The bloke’s a nutter, but in a loveable way. There’s a big shock on track 3 as Far I gets all romantic with a Millie-esque squeaker. The niceness is disconcerting, but I like it. There aren’t too many killer cuts on-board, although “Boz Rock”, “Show Me Mine Enemy” (complete with some seriously wonky effects) and “Shadow” are all rock-solid efforts.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:46] 7.5.png Prince Far I - Rain A Fall (Joe Gibbs) Reggae
A2 [03:35] 8.7.png Prince Far I - Big Fight (Joe Gibbs) Reggae
A3 [03:53] 6.5.png Prince Far I - You I Love And Not Another (Joe Gibbs) Reggae
A4 [03:09] 6.6.png Prince Far I - Young Generation (Joe Gibbs) Reggae
A5 [03:14] 5.9.png Prince Far I - Shine Eye Girl (Errol Thompson) Reggae
B1 [03:11] 7.0.png Prince Far I - Boz Rock (Joe Gibbs) Reggae
B2 [03:25] 6.8.png Prince Far I - Show Me Mine Enemy (Joe Gibbs) Reggae
B3 [03:32] 6.9.png Prince Far I - Shadow (Joe Gibbs) Reggae
B4 [03:20] 6.4.png Prince Far I - Deck Of Cards (David Luke Myrick) Reggae
B5 [03:04] 6.9.png Prince Far I - Heavy Manners (Joe Gibbs, Michael Williams) Reggae

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