Noami Cowan puts spin on classic

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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IT was 1967. Rocksteady was still a new beat and Jamaicans could not get enough of it.

One of the genre's biggest hits remains Things You Say You Love by The Jamaicans. Singer Naomi Cowan recently covered the 1967 standard with Mark Pelli of Canadian pop band Magic!

Cowan is the daughter of singer/impresario Tommy Cowan and his wife, singer Carlene Davis.

Tommy Cowan was a member of The Jamaicans and sang on the original.

Naomi Cowan told the Jamaica Observer that it was her idea to cover Things You Say You Love, to mark its golden anniversary.

“When my friend Michael Asante introduced me to Mark Pelli, I knew that I wanted to do something special that represented reggae in a unique way. Representing how reggae unites people of all backgrounds together. I wanted to tell a song-story, something that told a tale of legacy, tribute and honour,” she said.

Pelli also produced, playedguitar and sang on Things You Say You Love which was released on September 22. Cowan wanted to put a contemporary feel on the new version to appeal to her generation.

“We kept the signature chorus, bass line, and drum pattern. However, Mark really turned up the heat with his guitar skills, his vocals and the overall mastering of the track. Ottey Lewis added the vintage organ/keys sound. Finally, Mark and I rewrote the second verse and then you'll hear me 'buss' out in a likkle deejay/singjay section that we wrote in the bridge! So what we did was bring together some '90s dancehall flair but still kept the reminiscent essence of the original song,” she said.

Things You Say You Love was the first hit song for The Jamaicans which at the time included Cowan, Norris Weir, Martin Williams and Derrick Brown. Produced by Duke Reid, the song sustained the rocksteady craze that kicked off in late 1966.

In the summer of 1967, The Jamaicans won the Festival Song Contest with Ba Ba Boom.

Tommy Cowan is pleased with his daughter's salute.

“For us The Jamaicans, it is an honour to know that 50 years after the release of the song, this generation can appreciate our work. Especially one of your own, we are truly blessed,” he said.

Things You Say You Love has been covered by Brent Dowe (of The Melodians) and UB40, whose version appears on their 2005 album, Who You Fighting For?

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