A: Kenneth Power – You wrong fe trouble Joshua

B: Kenneth Power – Michael row we home

Two more political tunes that were released by Joe Gibbs in the run up to the 1972 election under the Kenneth Power monniker.  Carey Johnson is certainly present again, his high screams and his laugh are just one of a kind. Perhaps Eddie Ford was there as well, but he is certainly not on lead. Ford is credited (again) as the singer on the UK release of “You wrong fe trouble Joshua,” whereas the JA version keeps it safe and simple and just gives credit to Kenneth Power. Other than Carey Johnson, I’m really not sure as to who was behind the alias on these songs. It could be Lloyd Young, who was teaming up with Carey at the time. Ken Parker is sometimes mentioned. Niney the Observer was almost certainly involved. Especially on “You wrong fe trouble Joshua” it sounds a lot like him.

“Joshua row we home” rides a slower version of the Pioneers’ Long Shot riddim and seems loosely based on an old spiritual song often sung by slaves, called “Michael, row the boat ashore.” A suggestion that is invigorated by the Jamaican title, that reads “Michael row we home.” If anything, Jamaicans know their history, so I guess it was fairly easy to connect Michael Manley – leader of the PNP and nicknamed Joshua – with a song of yore. Which seems to be the concept of all Kenneth Power songs.

Because “You wrong fe trouble Joshua” too, is based on an old anthem, this time with rastafarian roots.  The song, ‘So long Rastafari call you‘, was recorded by many artists over many years and remains popular to this day. For “You wrong” Kenneth Power altered the lyrics a bit, in order to praise Michael Manley who had promised the rasta’s a better future: “You wrong fe trouble Joshua, you wrong, for Joshua is a lion, and lion will devour you, you wrong fo trouble Joshua.” Manley found himself a large and devoted following in the rasta community (and with their sympathizers) with his political program. But it seems the basis was already laid years before by Manley’s mother Edna. She was a sculptress who turned no blind eye to the civil unrest in Jamaica. Even as far back as the 1940’s she was depicting rastas in her work, which bore names like “Prophet”, “Diggers” and “Pocomania.” When Edna Manley passed away in 1987, the funeral crowd sung the “You wrong” with gusto, this time in praise of Edna (source: Rachel Manley – daughter of Michael – in her book ‘Horses in her Hair.”)


Label: Pressure Beat (JA) / Pressure Beat (UK/Trojan)
Release date: 1972
Matrix: FJG 7939 A/B

Posted: 27-06-2017



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