Sunday, March 1, 2020

Relaxing With Reggae

When I was in college and law school, I relaxed from intense academic effort by smoking dope and listening to music. Usually at the same time. Both calmed my anxiety and gave me sorely-needed rest. My favorite genre, popular at the time, was reggae music.

Everyone knows Bob Marley but my preferred reggae man is Max Romeo. Max sings beautifully and his lyrics address political and social issues like poverty. I admire his courageous sympathy for the disadvantaged. Plus his songs rock.

Remembering Max's best record ("War ina Babylon"), I realized I haven't heard it in four decades. So I searched for and found the album, now available on purple vinyl. Purple! And it sounds as grand as it did back in the late-1970s.

I'm happy to report that Max, 75 years old, is alive and well. His career soared in the beginning but later fizzled. At one point, Max was toiling at a NYC electronics store when a producer coaxed him to return to Jamaica and play again. He did and prospered. Now three of his four children are pursuing musical careers.

Have you ever heard reggae music? If not, start with Max's "War ina Babylon" (available at Amazon).


  1. I have always enjoyed music but ska/reggae is not high on my list. I find the basic beat/music repetitive and it tends to drone on and on. After a while the interesting musical cadence and beat tends to be repetitive. THe words can be interesting but it is often a struggle to hear them. We recently were out to dinner that had entertainment by a reggae musician and every song had the same beat. Even rock classics done in the reggae style did tend to simply sound alike.
    I guess I am just an old 60s style rocker.

    1. I get that and also find some reggae boring, but Max's music and lyrics don't fall into that trap. Plus his pronunciation is clear and easy to understand.

  2. As I get older I find myself really loving reggae. My ex-husband was very into it but I couldn't enjoy it myself, however it was played a lot on my most recent cruise and I realized how calming it is to me.

  3. I know Bob Marley but I didn't know Max Romeo! Must have a listen so thanks for the tip!