Rich Hardesty has made Jamaica his second home. After 35 trips to the island the locals call him a Jahmerican. The following are the stories behind the songs. Early one morning as we were traveling down interstate 94 on our way home from a gig in Chicago, my mind began to drift. I could only think that in three weeks we would be in Negril, Jamaica. There, I would finish the lyrics to 'You're in Jamaica Now' and enjoy the sights and sounds of wonderful Jamaica. Snorkeling, diving off the cliffs, swimming into the caves, drinking Red Stripe and watching the most beautiful sunsets in the world from the Pickled Parrot are just part of a typical day in Negril. I also love to cliff dive in Jamaica and I do believe it is possible to kill yourself from some of the higher cliffs. I was an impulsive nitwit one day, dove off the highest cliff and smashed my sunburned beaded head on the water (What a headache!). Also, you can meet people from all over the world in Jamaica. It is also quite and peaceful, like when the electricity went out on the island and I ate spicy Jamaican goat cheesebuger by candle light. Jamaica nice! The songs: Lazy Days and Nights- The Red Snapper, a dank oceanside bar was my inspiration for this song. The African drummers play to 'de riddm' of the stars while you eat, drink and socialize. Remnids me of the drum circles after Dead shows on Shakedown Street. Our waitress was an island girl named Keen. I cam home from that particular getaway and there she was smiling on a Jamaican web page. Typsy Daisy- I head this name on a Ziggy Marley CD, and I loved it. I was inspired to write this song in the summer of '96, after meeting an exotic girl. Though I didn't know her very well there was something about her. I sat down at a rock quarry and wrote this song with Mike, our conga player. I guess this song is about many Tipsy Daisys that I've met. All I can say is: beware! They are rocket sleds on wheels, and they realy burn the candles well... Yellow Bananas- I love Jamaica! I love to write songs about it, and eat those delicious little yellow bananas. There we hear the waves and the winds of the hurricanes, feel the sun and the rain. We listen to poets who wrote songs that became reality.When I am in Jamaica, I'm just a visitor learning about this foreign land, learning with th enatives avout God (jah) and life's true meanings. Sittin'On A Chair- This song was written before I ever came to Jamaica and describes a typical Jamaican day. There's no better place to sit in a chair in the sun, with a guitar and dream, looking at the puffy white clouds, the blue sky and the rainbows. Americans sometimes get caught up in th eevery day hustle and bustle: wake up, work, pay bills. When you experience a typical Jamaican day, you relaize that this materialistic routine doesn't matter that much. Rudy Friend-- I met Rudy on my first trip to Jamaica. He was a night time security guard at the place were I stayed. Rudy and I would talk about Jamaican culture until the sunrise. I would sneak him Red Stripes, because he wasn't allowed to drink on the job. He said he lived in a small village not far away, and that I could visit anytime. He was surprised when I showed up two months later at his little shack on cinder blocks. We were friends for many years. He loves to steal my dirt bike and run errands. He was one of many friendly natives who have helped me learn to love and experience Jamaica as a 'Jahmerican'. Rudy died in the summer of 2003 on his dirt bike. He was hit by a van. Blessed love and respects to Rundy and his family. This song 'Rudy' means more to me than ever. The song speaks for itself. Zugga---- Rasta Zugga is my good friend. He has a great voice and loves to sing. One day he made my band a healthy vegetarian meal called Ital. He practices the Rastafarian religion. When I arrive in Jamaica, Zugga smiles and says 'Yah Mon! Respect'. I take care of him and he takes care of me. When I shake his hand (Jamaican style) he smiles real big. One day before I left Jamaica, I stopped to say goodbye and asked him some questions about Bob Marley and the Rastaman. I told him that I would soon be back and thanked him for teaching me Rasta and respect. He said:'Maybe I'll see you and maybe I won't'. It made me sad to think that I may never see him again. You never know when you've had your last cliff dive, last rollerblade with your dog or last breath. That's how I met Zugga, a little bit high a little bit low. Sometimes people need to be aware of death and use it as an advisor to motivate them to do something while they are alive. Life is great! Live! That's what I learned from him. Jamaica Shakedown---- I named this song Jamaica Shakedown because of the little shacks, huts and craft shops. The smell in the air reminds me of Shakedown ST. After a Dead show. An ex-girlfriend of mine loved to walk up and down after a dead show and help th e'Deadheads' by purchasing their goods enabling them to make enough money for the next show. I love to do that in Jamaica. I wish some people in the U.S.A., like Jamaicans, would allocate more of their money for children, instead of cigarettes, booze and drugs. Tamboo Tavern---- The first place I satyed in Jamaica . Every time I'm on the island I stop by to say hello to the Tavern crew. They give me special care. Thanks! One day I was drinking a coconut water and enjoying the peaceful early morning beach. A man and his daughter from Georgia were taking pictures for a brochure they were making for the Tamboo. They had me come into the water and pretend Dawn,a 'Georgia Peach', and I were honeymoon lovers. It was fun! I had a bunch of beads on my head and I just hope I never open a magazine and see myself! I would say 'Oh, this crazy Jahmerican sure looks like me!' Jamaica Me Crazy---- Sometimes the culture shock of Jamaica makes me feel a little crazy. I guess we are all a little crazy in our own way. When I'm in Indiana, I wonder if the island really exists and what's happening there. Rudy is probalby in the hills, kicking back, playing dominoes and saying 'Yah mon! No problem!' Donkeys and chickens are for sure stopping traffic somewhere on the island. I remember the day my friends and I went to Ms. Browns for a cup of magic tea and then hit the beach. We laughed hystericaly atone another! This was the week that Hurricane Bertha was nearby. It was a huge storm with terrible lightning. While watching the storm we began to see clouds with all kinds of shapes. It was a very mystic moment. We also noticed tourists waiting in line to go up into the sky on a parasail trip, and we saw people, two at a time, parasailing during the storm! The sailor was standing behind the wheel smiling as if it was the sunniest day! He needed money, but taking a parasil trip into a storm is nuts! What would people do for money? I bet the tourists never heard of Ben Franklin...... Reggae Sun------ This song was written because I really believe that the Jamaican sun has a powerful effect on the vibes, it makes people dance. The rhythm and reggae obviously make you groove, but the sun keeps it all in balance, makes you feel good. When you are in Jamaica and you smell the sun on your skin, you feel how life is precious and you know that at that moment, there i nothing else to do but thank Jah for enabling us to enjoy the reggae sun. Jahmerican----- There is a reason why Jamaicans call people like me a yardie: I enjoy Jamaica in a different way from the honymooners and the regular tourists that come to the island for sun and romance. When Jamericans like me arrive in Jamaica, they hit the country at once. We go to small villages, make our own dirt bike trails,sit with Rastas and have long conversations while we drink bush tea, learning Jamican Culture. Rasta Vibrations---- This song is dedicated to all the hard working Rastas in Jamaica who survive through time of uncertainty. Jah lives, Rastafari! ^#^thanks for the food, ganja and word of Jah.Don't forget: what goes around, comes around. The grass can be greener on the other side, but only for a while. Closed Season---- Save the conch! Save the lobster! Although the closed season, April 1st to June 30th, has been in effect for several years, it hasn't been enforced. As a result, it has not received much respect from the communities in Jamaica. Jah put the creatures in the sea for us to have a good meal,not for exaggerated exploitation. We need to respect the lawsand let the lobsters reproduce offspring, that way we can be sure that our descendants are going to be able to enjoy this delicacy. Find a substitute. For more information, stop by the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, near the market in Negril. Rastaman---- I've made hundreds of friends in Jamaica. At the beach, in the bushes and even in the resorts. There are good and bad people everywhere. The good experiences you encounter in Jamaica, by far outweigh the bad ones. Don't judge people, you never know what kind of third world day they are having. Thank you Sterling for driving me from Montego Bay to Negril safely so many times. Thanks for getting me out of some tight squeezes.The ride can be sometimes scary, cars going fast and on the left side of the road! Thank you Jah for your protection and Jamaican hospitatlity. That's a lesson of life. Thanks for the inspiration to write songs about life.
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