Sun | Aug 2, 2015

Lisping lyrics about Rae Town

Published:Tuesday | July 9, 2013
A section of Rae Town, Kingston.
A section of the beach at Rae Town. - File photos
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He had a lisp, which gave every other word he uttered a distinctive 'phth' sound, but other than that, there was little about Byron the fisherman that stood out. I met him just outside Rae Town in Kingston close to midday on a Thursday. Of course, by a fisherman's clock, that's late evening.

"Mi leave outh from three into the morning," he told me. "Like now, mi just looking somth food so mi can go eath and go geth some sleepth."

Now, Byron is a muscular chap with a beard that hasn't been under threat of a razor since the early 1970s. His head, though, is another story entirely. "Mi have bald head from mi reach 20. So whath mi can't grow pon mi headth mi just ketch up back pon di face," he laughed.

Byron told me that he grew up in Rae Town and has a special love for the place. "Nowhere nuh nice like Rae Town. Mi nuh care what yuh want to say. Yuh coulda live ah Merica, or inna Hingland, it nuh matter. Rae Town ah di real real place."

The fisherman told me that some of the happiest moments of his life were spent at Rae Town's famous street parties.

"When di party dem really did ah swing, is pure niceness. Niceness caan done. Yuh find a likkle dawta and yuh and har just lock off fi di night and dance. Dem time deh manth and womanth used to dance. Face to face, too. Now, manth ah dance wid manth and when dem do dance wid womanth, is pure back to front ting. Dem dancing deh nuh nice," said Byron.

These days, he said, the parties happen only every now and again and are only a shadow of what they once were. "As yuh tun on di music, police come lockth it down. Dem nuh know di history. Dem nuh know wahth clock a strike."

In addition to the parties, Rae Town has a reputation as a good place to buy fresh fish. I asked Byron if that was still the case.

"Yes man. Yuh can get fresh fish to buy right here. Some of di people dem might carry it go sell somewhere else, and because of crowd, fish nuh plenty like one time. But yes, manth. Rae Town fish ah di real real fish."

Where should Robert go next? Let him know at robert.lalah@gleanerjm.com.