I grew up in a music filled home. I was quite normal for my Mom to play 45s or LPs on Saturday mornings while cleaning and Sunday afternoon after dinner. The blaring sounds of artists such as Hopeton Lewis, Dennis Brown, Third World Band, Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths etc., had become a ritual and at my age, it was a ritual I hated. My musical tastes were slightly different than that of my parents, but like everything else, I grew to appreciate different types of music.
However, with that appreciation, my iPod remained void of songs by the artists that I grew up listening to for example Third World Band. It was not until November 2009 that I purchased a few of their albums. I figured, “if you are to going to represent the band, you should probably get familiar with their music.” My first day on the job was in January, 2010. Third World performed at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival – to kickoff their 2010 tour celebrating over three decades. I remembered stepping on stage at 2 a.m. to see that the venue was jam packed with fans that waited all night to see the band perform. It was surreal – to say the least. That was the moment I thought “oh my God, I work for Third World Band.”
Each show is not the same. You never know what Bunny Rugs is going to say on stage or when Cat Coore is going to break out in dance – I saw him do the ska this past weekend and might I add – he is a great dancer. But with all the shows that I have attended I had a different experience this weekend. Something happened when I traveled to Virginia, St. Barts and Detroit with the group. On Friday night in Richmond, Virginia as I glanced at the fans and watched as they sang and danced to every single song, I closed my eyes and allowed the music to take me to a place that I am not sure there are words to describe.
In St. Barts, fans waved red, green and gold paper in the air. A few had banners that said “Lion of Judah.” Most of the fans present were French speaking who spoke very little English but knew every word to at least one of the band’s songs. And in Detroit, the gusty winds and milder temperatures did not hinder fans from dancing and singing every song from the bands hour and a half set. The crowd held hands and danced with each other when the band performed “Love Train.” There are a few things that remain constant. No matter where the band performs, the venue is always sold out. Families can attend their shows because the lyrics to their songs are inspiring, timeless and has a “feel good” vibe.
The other thing I appreciate about Third World is the fact that they are supporters of new artists in the business. The group changed their set to now include a solo by the newest band member Maurice Gregory entitled “In My Dreams” from his album Closure. Gregory, who is the younger brother of gospel artist Papa San, is an emerging reggae artist. My experience has been a positive one and my only regret is that I am 37 years late in joining this love train. But like the saying goes, “better late than never.”
My name is Stacey Williams Bethel and I am a fan of Third World Band!