Bogle inspires a classicSaturday, August 01, 2020
BY BRIAN BONITTO
Today is Emancipation Day, a time for reflection on historical legislation in the British Parliament in 1833 that abolished slavery in West Indies. Emancipation Day actually took effect on August 1, 1834 with full Emancipation in place as of July 1838.
A Baptist preacher and his burning cause provided the inspiration for Third World's classic hit 96 Degrees in The Shade.
“The song is about Paul Bogle and it is actually called 1865. If you look at the liner notes, you'll see it. But because the song says: '96 degrees in the shade', everybody just know it as 96 Degrees in the Shade,” Stephen “Cat” Coore, founding member of Third World, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
“The song tells the story: 'It was 96 degrees in the shade, 10,000 soldiers on parade'. We had the title 96 Degrees in The Shade but we never wanted to just do a song that was like a tourist thing telling that Jamaica is hot. We never wanted to run it that way, so we decided that we were going to tell the story of the Morant Bay Rebellion instead,” he continued.
1865 (96 Degrees in the Shade) is the title track from Third World's 1977 sophomore album.
Bogle, a deacon in St Thomas, led a protest march of hundreds from Stony Gut to Morant Bay Court House on October 11, 1865, which would be known as the Morant Bay Rebellion. They were protesting injustice and widespread poverty under the British Crown.
After seven men were shot and killed by the volunteer militia, protesters attacked and burned the courthouse and nearby buildings. A total of 25 people died. Over the next two days, peasants rose up across St Thomas.
Moore Town Maroons captured Bogle on behalf of the British military, and delivered him to the colonial authorities. Bogle, 45, was hanged on October 24, 1865.
George William Gordon, a wealthy mixed-race businessman and politician, was also arrested as a suspect in planning the rebellion. He was hanged a day before Bogle. Both were named national heroes by the Jamaica Government in 1969.
“The whole idea of it is to say that it was 96 degrees in the shade, real hot in the shade. In other words, the shade of the cotton tree that hung those great men, it was hotter under the tree but it was in the shade. That's the vibration of the whole thing,” said Coore.
“Morant Bay seemed like a very good topic. There were other aspects of history that could have been chosen... There's the abolition of slavery, there are many other things we could have chosen. But myself, Ibo, and Rugs happen to choose that one,” he continued.
Ibo refers to Third World co-founder and keyboardist Ibo Cooper, while Rugs is singer/guitarist Bunny Rugs. Cooper left the band in 1997 while Rugs died in February 2014.
Formed in 1973, Third World has undergone several line-up changes; Coore and bassist Richard Daley have been constant members. Its current line includes AJ Brown, Tony “Ruption” Williams, Maurice Gregory and Norris “Noreiga” Webb.
The band was recently given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Reggae Sumfest.
The band's expansive catalogue includes songs like Now That We've Found Love, Reggae Ambassador, Try Jah Love, Forbidden Love, and Sense of Purpose.
And how popular is 96 Degrees in The Shade in terms of the Third World playlist?
“It has to be in the top-three popularity wise. It's a standard-bearer. It's a classic,” Coore stated.
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