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CrazyFruits » celebrities & their lifestyles » Justin Hinds, king of the nursery rhyme

Justin Hinds, king of the nursery rhyme

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1bat Justin Hinds, king of the nursery rhyme on Sun 21 Apr 2013 - 7:54


News for Jamaica

Duke Reid's Sound System at work. - Contributed

Justin Hinds
1 2 >

The Wailing Wailers, Desmond Dekker, Eric 'Monty' Morris, Prince Buster, Sugar Minott and Peter Tosh, were quoted in the last 'Music Diaries' as early Jamaican recording artistes who used nursery rhymes to help reinforce their messages.Nursery rhymes becoming a prominent aspect of Jamaica's popular music, helped to bring Jamaica's rich tradition of parables and proverbs to public attention.
The Wailers, Dekker, Morris and others may have played crucial roles in that respect, but perhaps the recording artiste who was most associated with the phenomena was Justin Hinds.
Hinds, who hailed from Steer Town in the garden parish of St Ann, had developed a passion for writing and singing nursery rhymes, which he practised with his two friends, Dennis Sinclair and Junior Dixon, who sang with him as Justin Hinds and the Dominos.
Upon hearing about the legendary record producer Clement 'Sir Coxson' Dodd, they came to Kingston in 1963 to record a song which they had in their armoury.
That intended impromptu appointment, however, didn't materialise as Dodd was unavailable.
In an interview I had with Hinds some years ago, he related his next move: "Then I hear about another studio named Treasure Isle on Bond Street and I run into Duke Reid. I didn't want to join the line, so I left and went to Back-o-wall (now Tivoli Gardens), where there was a lot of dreadlocks, who I started to entertain by singing Bongo Chants. A man named Tunna Man, heard me and took me back to Duke Reid, who sent me upstairs where the Skatalites Band gathered. After running down with them, the song, Carry Go Bring Come, I went to Federal Records the following day and recorded it in one take, using one mike for the three of us."
The recording, which was a warning to gossip-mongers, ran in part:

This carry go bring come my dear, bring misery
You're going from home to home, making disturbances
It's time you stop doing those things, you old Jezebel
The meek shall inherit the earth, you old Jezebel
Its better to seek a home in mount Zion high
instead of heaping oppression, upon an innocent man
But time will tell on you, you old Jezebel
How long shall the wicked reign over my people.

The song was an instant No.1-hit in Jamaica for more than a month in 1964 before the powers that be, temporarily removed it from the airwaves, citing its contents as an attack on the establishment, the last line being of particular concern to them.
Some even went as far as to claim that 'Jezebel', referred to then Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante's wife.
With all its innuendo, Carry Go Bring Come has always been, and will always be a Jamaican classic, and an instant draw at oldies sessions.
Its insistent ska beat that incorporates an exhilarating Don Drummond trombone solo, makes it a quintessential example of ska.
Although the nursery rhyme theme was scantly observed, the recording did, in fact, set the pattern for all that was to follow from Hinds, the writer.
His self-penned ska recordings of Corner Stone, King Samuel, Jump Out Of The Frying Pan (1964); You Know You Were Wrong, Peace and Love, and The Ark (1965), laced primarily with nursery rhyme themes, were some of the finest Jamaican music of the day, and made Hinds the most successful recording artiste for producer Reid between 1964 and 1966.
The emergence of the rocksteady beat at the turn of the decade (1966-67), did little to impede Hinds progress as a singer, and he fit in perfectly. His expressive country/gospel tenor, backed by Reid's house band - Tommy McCook and the Supersonics, reaped volumes of rocksteady gems that brought Hinds' nursery rhyme themes into full focus.
Hinds utilised the rich Jamaican tradition of proverbs and parables to reflect the wide range of issues thrown up by a society in transition.
His recording of The Higher The Monkey Climb, The More He Expose, was particularly applicable at a time in a Jamaican society where things were a bit topsy-turvy. It symbolises the reality that, the more one moves up in society, the more one is subject to scrutiny. Hinds expands on this theme in the song, saying:

He that exalteth himself, shall be abased
Grief comes to those who brag the most
Meekly wait and murmur not
Hold on to what you got.

In his 1970 Duke Reid-produced recording Drink Milk, Hinds urged people to stay focussed on their own affairs:

You come here to drink milk,
You don't come here to count cows
When you go to Rome,
You just do as the Romans do.

In his recording, Sinners, he asked of them:

Where you gonna hide?
Remember when you throw stones, you are living in a glass house.
The road is for us all
No matter how you may be tall.

He also warned in his recording Once A Man, Twice A Child, that:

Whatever you sow you shall reap,
You can't plant corn and reap peas.

"The stone that the builders refuse, became his cornerstone," was his punchline from his recording, Cornerstone. He was emphatic with his pronouncement, What you know you know, what you don't know you don't know, the greatest thing is to know, from his recording Save A Bread.
There were others, too numerous to mention.
Hinds left Reid's employ in 1972 and recorded a few albums for producers, Jack Ruby and Sonia Pottinger. Since 1985. He apparently preferred the rural lifestyle to the rat race of Kingston, and when not at home, he based himself abroad, recording a number of excellent albums with his own band for various overseas producers.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, and died on March 16, 2005, leaving behind a legacy which, based on his style and lyrical content, will be hard to imitate.
He has been preaching about social degradation and impending disaster for years, but many slighted or simply put it down to mere rhetoric. Hinds' pronouncements, however proved that he was way ahead of his time.

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