Tag Archives: music

Short Shirt’s Top 100

Appendix 5 of Nobody Go Run Me: the Life and Times of Sir Mclean Emmanuel by Dorbrene O’Marde

King Short Shirt’s Top 100 Songs of All Time on Radio ZDK (Broadcast Tuesday 28th February 2012 – His 70th Birthday)


100 Antigua Will Redeem (1972)

99 Antigua (1962)

98 No Place like home (1964)

97 The World needs love (1969)

96 Labour Day Night (1970)

95 Run Short Shirt Run (1963)

94 Starvation (1974)

93 Love Lifted Me (1997)

92 Believer (1978)

91 The World in Distress (1986)

90 What we gonna do (1979)

89 Miss Yvette (1975)

88 Josephine (1969)

87 No Promises (1976)

86 Fighting (1974)

85 Black Like Me (1970)

84 European Common Market (1972)

83 Last Jouvert (1992)

82 Ghetto Vibration (1977)

81 Utopia (1973)

80 Tyranny (1977)

79 Iron Band (1983)

78 Racial Violence (1969)

77 Nudist Society (1970)

76 Symphony (1976)

75 Pac Man (1983)

74 Disco Dumpling (1980)

73 The Madness of it all (1977)

72 Leh we go (1975)

71 Bleeding Heart (2001)

70 When we are together (1981)

69 Reach for the sky (1977)

68 Me man you woman (1972)

67 Push back you bam bam (1966)

66 Lead on/Press on/Hang on (1975/79/83)

“Yield not your soul to fill your bowl

Better death than live a lie

For they must dry the sea

And they must move the sky

Before the righteous spirit die” (from Press On)

65 Taste it (1985)

64 Vengeance (1975)

63 Help (1980)

62 Legs (1988)

61 Children (1980)

60 After Midnight (1985)

59 Tell the truth (1995)

58 I surrender (1997)

57 Statehood (1967)

“We are the gem of the Caribbean

A very special link in the chain”

56 We have got to change (1981)

55 Yankee in Carnival (1970)

54 Technical School (1970)

53 Heart Transplant (1969)

52 The Message (2001)

51 Cry for a Change (1975)

50 Raycan (1970)

49 Star Black (1974)

48 Until (1985)

47 One people (2001)

46 Pull Together (1973)

45 Stand Up Grenada (1979) (actually Viva Grenada)

44 Anguilla Crisis (1969)

43 Jouvert Competition (1981)

42 Nationalism (1981)

41 Treat me nice (1969)

40 Dance from Antigua (1977)

39 Send you king (1974)

38 Viv Richards (1976)

37 We are the ones (1977)

36 Spirit of Carnival (1985)

35 Rock and Prance (1977)

34 Summer Festival (1980)

“Some are wearing tear up pajamas

Big boots and sneakers

With oversized trousers

Zip up panties

Half slip and nighties

Like if they don’t plan to go home”

33 Kangaroo Jam (1979)

32 Lucinda (1974)

31 Push (1982)

30 Jamming (1978)

29 Hari Kari (1987)

28 Jouvert Rhythm (1987)

27 Alive and Kicking (1982)

26 Uneasy Head (1978)

25 Benna Music (1978)

24 Nobody go run me (1976)

23 Illusion (1977)

22 Forward Together

21 Hand in Hand (1993)

20 This Land (1974)

19 Awake the Youths (1975)

18 Day of Reckoning (2003)

17 Not by Might (1979)

16 Heaven Help Mankind (1993)

15 Handwriting (2001)

14 True Antiguan (1987)

13 AIDS (1988)

12 Unity (1978)

11 Share the Honey (1992)

10 My Pride and Joy (2001)

9 Afro Antiguans (1972)

8 Love and Understanding (1977)

7 Power and Authority (1976)

6 When (1976)

5 Inspite of all (1976)

4 The Fire After (1988)

3 Lamentation (1973)

2 Our Pledge (1981)

1 Tourist Leggo (1976)


Respect to the writers – Marcus Christopher, Shelly Tobitt, Fd, and Stanley Humphreys; and arrangers like Jagger Martin and others, and Short Shirt himself easily one of the more influential Antiguans and Barbudans of the 20th century – such was the power of his art. For more, see our songwriters database and our song lyrics database, as well as this Ghetto Vibes review, this and this review of O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me, which was longlisted in 2015 for the Bocas Prize.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.


Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

Jus Bus Music

Photo by Shelly Chadburn/courtesy Jus Bus

Photo by Shelly Chadburn/courtesy Jus Bus

These excerpts are from an interview with A & B music producer Jus Bus who’s worked on projects for Jah Cure, Snoop Dogg (or Lion), Kes, and others. I decided to share this because I thought some of his realities gave an honest perspective on the realities of being an artiste anywhere, much less the Caribbean.

Me: How do most of your collaborations come about?

Jus Bus: Networking mostly; online or meeting artists and artist management when they are on island or I am overseas. Several different things. Sometimes, I’ll send beats or instrumentals to DJ’s, A&R’s & Label executives and they will then get placed on projects. Before I even met Jah Cure, I got an instrumental placed on his last album project “World Cry” through a friend named DJ Genie; he got the beat to (the) label and then Jah Cure wrote to it then Jazmine Sullivan got the unfinished version with Jah Cure’s vocals on it and then she recorded on it then that colaboration came to fruitation that way and I never met any of them at that time. (I) still don’t know jazmine sullivan other then maybe a retweet of the song on twitter. The same with the Snoop Lion (Snoop Dogg) placement. I produced a beat years  ago then had Supa Dups add instruments to it, then it got placed on a 50 cent project and apparently, as far as I know, he even went as far as recording on it but never released it. So after a year, the track got placed on Snoop Lion’s Reincarnation album project that was spearheaded by Diplo from Major Lazer and RCA records. Then Diplo recorded Snoop on the beat and Collie Buddz – both whom I dont know – and that record came about like that. Sometimes, it’s a joint effort of producers working together so I’ll make the instrumental then another producer will come in and record an artist or add extra music to my arrangement and then we all break down the credits accordingly. So for the Snoop (project), it was Me, Supa Dups & Diplo together for that song; a beat I made 4 years prior to project. The head of RCA records had called me up and worked all the buisness side of things out with me just before the album was released which is how I found out Snoop Dogg even recorded on my beat. But thats how it works sometimes. You send a series of instrumentals to label executives and they end up on different projects, then you eventually get contacted to finish them or to seal up business ends. Now for the Gyal Season riddim, it’s a little easier cause I worked with ZJ Bambino for that one and I did most of the instrumental work while he would be in Jamaica recording all the artists, some of which knew me and some of which knew him and I would take care of recording artists in Antigua. Over time, through these musical collaborations, you eventually meet the artists in person when they come to do shows or when I venture off island. Jah Cure and Busy Signal were here for the last Labour day show and we all ended up in the studio vibing on music together with LoqiQ Pryce and other members of Busy Signal & Jah Cure’s Camp. It’s just a matter of consistency really and using any and every outlet yiou can to make the music. My dream scernarios are always working with the artists live but that isn’t always possible for geographical reasons or finances so you gotta use the technology posisble to make it happen and stay consistent.

Me: Who’s your favourite type of artiste to work with or who has been your favourite artiste to work with?

JB: Who or what? Dont have a “who” really cause I have yet to work with a lot of people I wanna work with but the type of artists and musicans I love to work with are passionate and serious people that ain’t afraid to experiment and dig deep into the musical potential they have. I always have fun working with my team including Drastic & LogiQ Pryce as well as Torsten Stenzel & ZJ Bambino cause they are very sharp and full of ideas always. working with Jah Cure in person is always great to cause he is an extremely passionate vocalist and ready to experiment outside his comfort zone. Me and him even recorded a song duet together called “Kings” that may come to light in 2014 as me and Lawson Lewis have been in talks to shoot a video for the song. but I have worked with so many amazing musicans over the last 10 years that ain’t even mainstream acts, from guitarists to song writers and producers. so I’m grateful.

Me: How do you produce?

JB: I produce mainly using 2 studio monitors, a midi keyboard, and a laptop, which people end up being suprised (by) especially considering the calibre of music that I can push out. I also collaborate with live instrumentalists that range from horn players to guitarists to bass players and keyboardists and even violinists. I dont limit myself cause I try to keep a balance between an organic and analog sound mixed with a digital sound. I believe in making music that taps into people’s emotions and feelings and I feel it’s more effective when you add real players of instruments. I mean, I play keyboards too but only to a certain degree and I need diversity in my productions. I cant be biased and play everything myself. For final stages of production, I usually involve mixing engineers to help me with the final mixes. If I don’t end up doing it myself just to make sure sonically everything sounds right. Other then that, I just dig in and get creative. A lot of the stuff I make starts out with me alone in a corner for hours tweaking sounds and drums then I start
involving other creative people if needed.

Me: Of the forthcoming projects, what are you most looking forward to?

JB: I’m looking foward to everything creative & musical. I can’t even tell the future really and you can’t jump the gun in this game or you’ll shoot your foot off cause one minute you’ll have someone on your track then the next they pull out or push it to the side and you gotta figure something new out. At (the) moment, I’m still finishing up half finished ideas with Jah Cure, Nyla of Brick and Lace and Kes the Band which will eventually come out once we make sure everything sounds great but I don’t wanna jinxx myself so it is what it is when it happens. I love my job so I just stay consistent and pray for the best.

Me: Do you feel you’ve reached the epitome of creative and professional success? And if so, how do you define it: money, output, creating something special and enduring, all of the above, what?

JB: I’m far from reaching the peak of everything. I don’t even think I’m tipping the iceberg as they say yet and I been in this game for over 9 years and counting. I’m only now, this year, gaining some momentum with the high profile collaborations I’ve managed to gain under my belt. So I’d say I have a big toe in the door but nothing more. Still a lot of hard work, hours, and time need to be invested. It’s an ongoing battle even getting a placement ’cause a lot of the markets are oversaturated with producers who think ’cause they can loop a few melodies in fruity loops they are a producer. It takes a lot more to guide a project together. You need to be a leader not just someone who will make a beat and expect it to just magically appear on a project. Now I still struggle with making a living out of music but that’s the choice I made career wise,  I already knew what I was getting myself into. So once I stay watering my trees I will eventually be able to bare the fruit that manifests from these trees. Now these metaphorcal fruit I speak of isn’t just monetary or finacial stability but something to be proud of, something that will inspire people mentally and emotionally. I honestly wanna leave a legacy of music and creativity for our island and the world that will live forever. But if I just make disposable material, then it will fade away and won’t stand the test of time and I dont want that. I mean, if thats what you wanna do to gain quick material wealth then that’s your choice but I want people to aspire to something greater ’cause yuh cyant dead with di money, you know. Live for now. I know a lot of musicians that don’t see hope in a music career and become miserable and get stuck in a shit pool of monotony just cause they seek only money, which is sad. ‘Cause I appreciate my material and works more through the struggle, and it makes me work even harder. There have been times when I’ve wanted to just give up and call it quits but then how would that look to the many youths that look up to what me and my friends are doing? And just when I think it can’t get any worse, Sony Records will call up and say ‘yeh, remember that placement you submitted 6 months ago? Well, yeh, we need you to sign the contracts’ and it lifts you out the dark frame of mind you’re in cause then you’re like, well maybe this can work if I dedicate the time I need to get it done. This music thing isn’t for the impatient, I’ll tell you that. You gotta be very, very patient and just work constantly and it all starts to come toegther. ‘Cause who knows, maybe I wont reach the exact level of success I want to be on but I sure will fight and die trying to get there. Maybe a generation later on this island, what me and many other people are doing here will resonate and start up a whole new revenue stream from different genres of music other than soca and calypso. And I believe when a majority of our society can see food on their plate from money made from different genres of music and creativity, then (is) when they (will) be serious and genuinely support it. And not just speak about support but act out support on a pysical level and get more involved. Which will propel everything so much more. Really honestly though, it’s bigger then just me. I mean music and creativity is my escape and therapy to life’s hardships and life’s beauty but all this is a bigger, and I believe we are all connected and we each have a job on earth guided by a higher power. As they say, “Jah Nah Sleep!” So, if i can inspire through creativity and music sign me up cause at the end of the day that goes way further in the long run than my own personal wealth. As for the question of the peak of creative success, I doubt that will ever stop. I tap into my potential every day and ever year. I mean I’m doing things such as singing and photography that I’d never think I’d ever be doing and now I’m doing it because with a little guidance and a belief in yourself you can do anything you want. I started out breakdancing in high school here at school events and fashion shows then went onto being in a sound system and lifting speaker boxes and learning how to mix on turntables with Irish of Renegade Sound. I even used to save up 10ec every week to go get a brand new 45 record at the record store to contribute to sound. I then went on to self teach graphic design & music production by trial and error and tips from different people in those fields. I don’t recomend dropping out of high school in 4th form like I did ’cause I think that with the right schooling at a college and
university would have got me further quicker. But I do think that if you dont have those options, you can easily put your mind to anything and get it done. The info is all around if you seek it. I also have a little advice for the parents: if your child has a set talent or skill and is in love with the idea of one day making a career out of it, show your support and help guide your child into it with the help of education. Don’t shoot their dreams down. It’s important that
you help them to be their own individual and just cause you may or may have not got to do what you wanted, don’t force them to be something they don’t wanna be.

Photo by Shelly Chadburn/courtesy Jus Bus

Photo by Shelly Chadburn/courtesy Jus Bus

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Sand painted toes

And salty tongues,

A blood red sunset stains the sky pink,

Yet the days reach no end.

And with a brilliant spark

The sun fuses with the distant horizon.

The spray of the angry waves,

Christens us as we clamber the rocks.

With seaweed hugging our ankles,

And the salted mist possessing our souls.

The torn nets and fading footprints

Calmly remind us of who we used to be.

The crash of the waves rings its own music,

Calling us to become one with its song.

Chilling and familiar,

That’s what the evening brings.

Dry, rotten coconuts scatter the beach,

And the breeze feels strange as it holds us.

Eyes wide open as we taste the view

So in time we are almost happy.

We want nothing,

We have nothing,

Yet the sun is ours;

Still the sea is ours.

And the sand has not forgotten us;

Though we had forgotten ourselves.

BIO: Remembrance earned Antigua Girls High School student Asha Graham third place in the 13 to 17 age category of the 2013 Wadadli Pen Challenge. Her other entry, Revelations Tonight, a short story, won her not only the category Bio_pic[1]but the overall prize. Asha’s been writing since age 10 and is a “wishful thinker” who dreams of being a future bestselling author. Our verdict: her success in this year’s challenge marks her as one to watch…clearly, with talent like this, the bestseller list could very well be in her future if she keeps reading, keeps dreaming, and keeps layering skills unto her remarkable talent. 

Please respect the writer’s copyright; do not use or alter without permission.

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Antiguan and Barbudan Cultural Icon – Paul King Obstinate Richards

King Obstinate is one of my favourite calypsonians, so when I came across this archival image from one of his iconic performances, I just had to share. What I remember of Obstinate as a kid is how fun his performances were from the big belly of Doing the Fat Man Dance to the pig tails and diapers of Children Melee and I think there was an elephant suit somewhere in there…this is back in the day when the calypso show was a theatre and I was still a kid losing myself in the illusion. Even then though I knew that Obstinate was also digging at deeper issues; I knew it in the power Believe had to bring tears to my eyes and in the way when he sang “sons of the soil also brought fame, proudly reclaim our true heroes name…” it made sense to us, perfect sense, when he called for a “Short Shirt village and Swallow town”. I remember grown folks cackling with glee as he dropped wud for the higher ups on songs like “Ah coming down to talk to you” at a time when few else (in fact few within and without the calypso arena dared to). Dropped wud for his rivals too. Antiguans will remember “Tiny t’rowing pompee-eye” at Short Shirt’s Wedding. Short Shirt may have been the Monarch (and remains my all time favourite) but Obsti didn’t pull punches. As he himself would later say “he sang the songs” of our lives. Here’re some in my top 10 favourites (or at least the favourites I could find on youtube, alas Believe, probably my all time favourite was nowhere to be found):

Wet Yuh Han’
Opening lines:
“Two woman cussing on Greenbay Hill
Ah go to work, come back, they cussing still …”

Antigua and Barbuda Independence
Opening lines:
“Oh land of peace, haven of rest
Antigua your shores are blessed
With the sweat of those who toiled
In bondage to till the soil”

Children Melee
Opening Lines:
“In a nursery little Tommy telling Sally (me nar lie, me nar lie)
Ah Bet you can’t tell me how me mammy get she baby (me nar lie, me nar lie)”

Ah Coming Down to Talk to You
Opening lines:
“Quite in Washington they bringing me the news
Mr. Bird it got me so confused
They say of all your picknee
You love Ivor the most
Because the others just waiting to take your post”

Shiny Eyes
Opening lines:
“I met this girl in St. Lucia, she had shiny eyes
I never thought I would lose her; she’s as pretty as the morning sky”

I’ll Always come back to you
Opening lines:
“Antigua and Barbuda ah wey me bury me navel string
And at an early age in the cane field ah start to sing”

Who Kill Me Sister
Opening lines:
“King Obstinate is asking who kill me sister Ethlyn
Right George, I’m asking: who kill me sister Ethlyn”

How will Santa Get here
Opening lines:
“Christmas is coming
Every child is hoping”

Get what you can get
Opening lines:
“Years ago when Antigua was young and no whole ton of money was around
Mi grandfather does say, water more than flour and tuppence ha’penny had plenty power”

Opening lines:
“King Obstinate I hear a voice cry
King Obstinate water in yuh eye”

It’s not for nothing that the four time Monarch and Sunshine Hall of Famer is known as the UNDEFEATED King Obstinate.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.


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The Carnival Zone

Ok, so this post has nothing to do with Wadadli Pen or writing, but I couldn’t let Carnival in Antigua pass without doing a Carnival post (this piece was written pre-Carnival, right on the eve of Carnival); here’s hoping we all had a good time but didn’t forget ourselves in the Carnival Zone.

Is there such as thing as the Carnival Zone? A Zone where we find ourselves saying to business associates, I’ll call you after the season? As if the season (not Summer, mind, but the Carnival season) represents one huge time out. Actually, it’d be interesting to find out how much actual work actually gets done during the Carnival season between recovering from the night before and anticipating the night ahead. Not a lot probably, though we are hard working folk and it’s not like time stops just because the Carnival spirit has seduced us into thinking we’re on a mini-break. We know on which side our bread is buttered, right?

Though who can blame us for feeling, as Carnival finally says luk mi yah, like we want nothing more than to dance away with it, fuelled by a beer or two and more music than we know how to say no to. The back log of work and the drudgery of it all is weak competition for this strange euphoria settling over us. We have entered the Carnival Zone.

Yes it does exist.

And as the days roll on and it continues to suck us in, will we be able to resist the temptation to spend money earmarked for mortgage and food, maybe to get a jump on school fees, instead on “ostrich plumes and feathers” knowing full well that we’re not really buying these flimsy items but the experience that comes with them.

After all as Red Hott reminded us a Carnival or two ago, “we love to play mas”. In fact, it sometimes feels like the rest of the year is a dream and we live to play mas. And as we continue to be sucked into the Zone, it’s hard to remember why it’s a bad idea to spend somewhere between $500 and $1200 on a two day street party. Or if the haze lifts and we do remember, in the Zone, it’s easy to find justifications for this bit of frivolity: … it only happens once a year…we’ve earned it…all work and no play…

We know if we don’t the sight of revelers dancing past will taunt us as it does every time we let the voice of reason penetrate the Zone, like an annoying ringing (time to get up!) intruding on a beautiful dream, a dream in which our past mas memories represent the absolute best times of our life. Better than our graduation, our marriage, the birth of our child, the publication of our book. Oh Gad! Who can resist such a temptation?

And have you noticed how in the Zone we seem to forget ourselves, baring, tearing, leering, all the while sneering at the unlucky lot who have to watch from the sidelines, who know all too well what they’re missing and how good it feels. And is that our boss over there watching us with his jaw on the ground?  Pick it up, Mister, don’t you know that like Vegas, what happens in the Zone stays in the Zone. Unless of course it ends up on YouTube – or given some of our antics, YouP*rn – but that’s a worry for Wednesday, after the Carnival. There are no frown lines in the Zone. Only big smiles and win’ing hips and unbridled bliss.

I’m being facetious, of course. But if my exaggerations have a point – and that’s questionable – Carnival is undoubtedly a time to release the pressure of jobs and bills and deadlines and relationship troubles…or it feels like it. Nothing wrong in embracing the positive vibes in the Zone (we sure need some good vibrations during this long drought)…as long as we don’t forget ourselves too much in the process; because what happens in the Carnival doesn’t necessarily stay in the Carnival, does it?

If only.

 As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, DancingNude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about
Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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