This is the latest installment in The Plant Speaks, an ongoing series of personal notes from the members of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant about their favorite albums.
year 2011 looms overhead, and the reclusive 2012′ers in neighboring Woburn are settling in for what they believe will be one of their last long New England winters. They huddle in front of a giant LCD screen and ponder how best to prepare for the return of Quetzacoatl. Is two years enough time? In Providence, they wonder if he’ll be bringing Nyarlathotep with him. And together they hear rumors spoken in hushed tones during online gaming sessions of new directions for 10 FT. Ganja Plant between now and then. As for myself, all I can say is good things are certainly on the way… and if these cultists are right, we’d better Get This Show On The Road. And why shouldn’t we? I hate to sound like a pessimist, but a few more years like the last couple and anyone with a vested interest in roots reggae will be dead.
When I first made the transition from smoother reggae (think “Third World”) to the heavy stuff, the Conquering Lion album hit me like a lead weight. Some of the deepest grooves ever laid down anywhere, mixed by the visionary King Tubby. The album is a soundtrack to Armageddon. In “Jah Vengeance”, Yabby You admonishes the wicked that “the Lord shall roll and shake the land”. He examines the poverty around him, noting “The man who does the work does not get any pay / But the one who doesn’t work, he inherit/ But I know the time has come now / When my Father’s ready / They’ll get their pay according to their works”. Not exactly roller skating music for most people. But for me it became a part of the soundtrack to my daily life, playing somewhere in the background at all times, even when no radio was around. On one occasion a friend and I were sheet rocking an apartment while the guy fitting tile in the next room, a staunch metalhead, found himself chanting along with “Run Come Rally” before stopping himself midway through the chorus and proclaiming to us loudly that that was in fact Some Heavy Shit.
Credit must also be given to the extra-heavy harmonies of the Prophets. Every classic Jamaican harmony group has a unique, distinct sound, and the Prophets are rarely given their just due. The record also features some of the hardest beats ever laid down by Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace. Yabby you was also a respected producer, releasing killer records on his own Vivian Jackson label for the likes of Wayne Wade, Michael Prophet, and Trinity. Yabby You was a survivor, a man who endured persecution from other Rastas because he, as a self-described “Ites Rasta” did not believe in the divinity of Haile Selassie, thus earning himself the nickname “Jesus Dread”. He also suffered from different physical ailments from an early age, ranging from arthritis to malnutrition. And yet he was still active in his later years, even performing internationally in his later years and still possessing a strong presence.