Little D and his father were giving Gene Autry and me a domino lesson whose tuition fee was getting out of hand when, thankfully, Haemorrhoid asked to tell a story.

Remember Haemorrhoid (real name Ernest H Flower)? He was an Articled Clerk whose talents were avoiding work and telling shaggy dog tales. His lament about “piles and piles” of files on his desk plus his middle initial earned him his nickname.  Haemorrhoid was useless at dominoes but his stories were so entertaining he was always welcome to kibitz.

Haemorrhoid told the story of Butch, the intelligent rooster:

Sandra was in the fertilized egg business.   She had several hundred young pullets and ten roosters but kept records.  Any non-performing rooster was executed; turned into Sunday dinner; and swiftly replaced.

“This was time consuming and tiring so Sandra retained an efficiency Consultant who advised on a more economical method.  Acting on the Consultant’s advice, Sandra bought tiny bells and attached them to her roosters.  Each bell had a different tone, so she could tell from a distance which rooster was “performing”. 

“With the new system in place, Sandra just sat on the porch and filled out her efficiency reports by listening to the bells. 

“Sandra’s favourite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen but, one day, she noticed old Butch’s bell hadn’t rung at all!  When she went to investigate, she saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets hearing the roosters coming, would run away.

“To Sandra’s amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn’t ring.   He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job, and walk on to the next one. Sandra was so proud of old Butch, she entered him in a Show.  He became an overnight sensation among the judges.  Old Butch was not only awarded the ‘No Bell Piece Prize’ but the ‘Pulletsurprise’ as well.”

I couldn’t help remembering Haemorrhoid’s story when I read Sandrea Falconer’s inane critique of Young Andrew’s fashion choice during Government’s excellent prep work for Hurricane Matthew’s eventual non-arrival. Clearly unable to find any substantive fault in his performance and incapable of shutting up about it, Sandinherbrain decided to complain about Andrew’s green cap.

Madness, madness;
they call it madness.
Madness, madness;
they call it madness.
I’m about to explain
that someone is using his brain.
Madness, madness;
they call it gladness

As spokesperson for a former Government expert at implementing Old Butch’s strategy namely silently sneaking up on an unsuspecting electorate and screwing them when they least expected it, you’d think she’d know better. But, no, there she was, bells ringing loudly as she exposed her tribal attitude for all to see.

Cecil Bustamante Campbell (Prince Buster) was no joker or peacemaker and didn’t, as Booklist Boyne suggests, do anything in a “light-hearted” manner. He grew up tough; was a pugilist; and a take-no-prisoners type of entertainer.  Madness was his retort to mainstream Jamaica who felt he was “touched”.

His musical “war” with Derrick Morgan was deadly serious and started when Morgan abandoned Buster’s “studio” for Leslie Kong’s more established Beverley’s Records allegedly “borrowing” a special horn passage Buster had planned to use later. When Buster heard the passage in Forward March, he went ballistic insulting Morgan with Black-head Chiney Man (1963) to which Morgan replied with Blazing Fire (1963).  Derrick closed that tune with what was meant to be a “las’ lick” lyric “Be still, bwoy, I’m your superior….” which reprised a 1962 tune Be Still recorded for Buster.   This incensed Buster and he retaliated with Praise without Raise (not released until 1968) which included the devastating insult in 1960/70s Jamaica “I’ve said it you’re a black-head chiney men not man” to which an enraged Morgan replied “No Raise no Praise” (1969) in which he insisted that when he was singing for Buster “I neither get praise much less raise”.   Undaunted, Buster hit back with 30 Pieces of Silver alleging he bought every piece of clothing Morgan wore and dubbing Morgan “Judas Charmer”. The feud ended before Morgan could carry out his threat of a nuclear option.  They exchanged Rude Boy tunes with identical “hanging judge” themes.

Students of local music history have one source of knowledge left to tap and it’s not in the Gleaner. With the departure of music Encyclopaedia Winston Sparks (King Stitt) only Vaughn “Bunny” Goodison (The Mighty Burner) can deliver authentic lessons including on the Buster/Morgan feud. Don’t ask anybody else.  Not even me!

Peace and Love


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