Stranger Cole - Heavy Load

A: Stranger Cole – (Woman a) Heavy Load

B: Pressure Beat – Heavy


Stranger Cole has got soul. He’s proven that over and over again in the rocksteady era, with grand tunes such as the immaculate ‘Pretty Cottage’. But I didn’t know that Mister Soul Cole is also a funky cat. Evidence of that side of the talented singer, composer and producer is less easy to find, but I’d say ‘Woman a Heavy Load’ is a great example.

Starting off with a James Brown-like grunt, Stranger Cole fiercely attacks the organ heavy, funky riddim with a style that, to these ears, sounds like a mixture between calypso and funk. The Reggae Boys, in the meantime, throw in a little bit of gospel with their backing vocals, making this lament about women and their ever present needs a nice hodgepodge of styles. Yet it’s still reggae, which I find fascinating.

Also interesting is the phrase: “’s a Ben Johnson Day, and everybody belly hungry..” I had never heard about this day before, so I looked it up. Turns out that the opinions of who Ben Johnson really was, are as multiple as there are stars in the universe, but the meaning is always the same. A Ben Johnson Day is the day before payday. So the money is gone, the fridge is empty and everybody’s bawling. Stranger Cole takes care of his woman, he testifies, but it’s never enough.  The mood of the woman keeps in check with the amount of money available, ranging from ‘honeybunch’ to ‘foolish fool.’ Woman a heavy load!

Could have made a nice blues as well, I reckon.


Label: JoGib – Blank (Ja) / Camel (Uk – credited to Pressure Beat)
Release date: 1971
Riddim: /
Matrix: DSR JG 3599 / DSR JG 3609

Posted: 23-05-2015



  • Lloyd says:
    25 May 2015 at 12:32

    Another superb tune, now added to my wants list


    • pressurebeat says:
      25 May 2015 at 19:16

      Glad you dig it, Lloyd. Quite surprised I can still post tunes that are new to you 🙂


  • David Hampson says:
    30 June 2016 at 11:36

    I’ve this with red Jogib label and matrices DSR JG-3521-1 / 3522-1


    • pressurebeat says:
      3 July 2016 at 11:43

      That is quite different a matrix number. Is your copy labeled?


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