A Caribbean Soul: Greater Antilles (Jamaica)


Head for Kingston, mon. Jamaica has the third-largest English-speaking population in the Americas, after the U.S. and Canada. And of course you can’t beat the music. But take Air Jamaica, or make sure your plane is well-marked. Otherwise, you just might find yourself mistaken for a drug runner. It happened to Jimmy.

In 1996 Jimmy was flying to Jamaica in his Grumman HU-16 Albatross “Hemisphere Dancer.” The plane was shot at by Jamaican police, who suspected it was smuggling drugs. No one was hurt, although the plane suffered a few bullet holes. You can see for yourself: the plane is now on view at his Margaritaville restaurant in Orlando.

Based on these lyrics from “Jamaica Mistaica” (on the album “Banana Wind”), all is now forgiven:

Come back, come back, back to Jamaica.
Don’t chu know we made a big mistaica.
We’d be so sad if you told us goodbye,
And we promise not to shoot you out of the sky

In “Woman Goin’ Crazy on Caroline Street” (on the album “Havana Daydreamin’”) Jimmy sings about someone he saw in Key West, “Stoppin’ every man that she does meet.” He imagines that:

Her lover left her stranded in Jamaica
And just right now she can’t recall his name.

You can’t talk about Jamaica without mentioning reggae. Jimmy’s “life is a mixture of reggaes and tangos” in “Lone Palm” (on the album “Fruitcakes”). On the “Take the Weather with You” album, he sings about “Reggabilly Hill”. And on the title “Fruitcakes” track, he sings:

So I’ll put on my Bob Marley tape
And practice what I preach.
Get Ja lost in the reggae mon
As I walk along the beach.

Twelve years later, Jimmy is still carrying reggae with him except now he sings that “I got Bob Marley on my ringtone”. (In “Everybody’s on the Phone” on the “Take the Weather with You” album)

Jamaica is all about music. And beaches. And lilting accents…

next page (Cuba)

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