“You may be raggedy and poor, but you are still rich in spirit”
If you’ve ever been to a reggae party, it’s pretty much impossible that you’ve never heard “Greetings,” Half Pint’s raggamuffin anthem. Released in 1985 on George Phang’s legendary Powerhouse label, the song finds Half Pint representing for poor people over a hard-driving Sly & Robbie digital remake of the immortal “Heavenless” riddim. While preparing this year’s Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise Zeen, we reached out the singer who gave us the story behind this classic dancehall anthem. Audio & Interview After The Jump…
BOOMSHOTS: All of those songs you did with Power House were magical.
Half Pint: Kool nuh! [Laughs] It’s just the ’80s feel. Most songs that came out during the ’80s, it’s like the songs were more rooted with the people. Life imitates art and art imitates life. And most of those songs were expressing a lot of vibes. It was like the pot was boiling over and the music was expressing those elements of life. I think the ’80s songs dem, they are leaving a real marker of time.
Even now in 2016 I cannot go to a dance anywhere in the world without hearing you bawl out “Greetings I bring from Jah to all Raggamuffin.” It’s like a compulsory record for every selector. Did you ever imagine that song would have that kind of impact?
Not totally, but I was in London 1985 when I record it, and even in London the economical situation wasn’t pretty or never looking that good. And I recorded that song on behalf of the same life that we were living and the environment that we were in and the ecnomical condition. And I know that over the years, throughout the world, the cost of living will always keep going up, and people will be always feeling the pressures of life. So a song like “Greetings” was relating to the poor, or representing for the poor masses of the earth. So I think that song will always be a song that can be reckoned with for poor people all over the world. That’s why I think reggae music in general is so dominating more than most people, because it appeal to the masses and their life and situation.
So when you say “all raggamuffin” who are you speaking to on that song?
Raggedy poor people. You may be raggedy but you’re still rich in spirit. [Laughs]
And “if they ask your name and your number…”
Just tell them you a raggamuffin soldier. Yeah.
In truth or in fact, we are like them and those who go through great tribulation. The world is like that. God create us all, and he like all of we, whether we poor or we rich. But blessed are the poor for they shall see God. Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth. The rich man has his money, and don’t need nobodyelse. But the poor man still have to be crying out for justice or mercy, and say “God, please remember we.”
“If They Ask Your Name And Your Numba” Run that…
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