Time 1 (1985)

Coming from his fifth studio LP, ‘Here I Come’ is possibly Barrington Levy’s most recognisable tune. Beginning with his signature hook, “shoodley wop wop, ooooweeeeoo” and punctuated by a heavy percussive riddim from Jah Screw, this anthem has become one of his most popular numbers and one of the most influential classics in reggae music.

Lyrically, Levy relates a reality based love story concerning himself and what appears to be his ex-girlfriend, ‘Rosie’. He outlines the dialogue as they discuss his responsibilities towards their son, “On the intercom Rosie tell me to come, said she didn’t have a daughter she did have a son”. As the story continues, ‘Rosie’ decides she’s had enough, “Two months later she said come and get your son, cause I don’t want your baby to come tie me down, because you are old, and I am young, yes while I’m young yes I want to have some fun”. Somewhat disparaging, but sweet and catchy at the same time. Like many reggae tunes, it is an unfortunate story, but somehow you just want to sing along.

The song did particularly well in Britain reaching number 41 in the singles charts, and Levy received the Best Vocalist prize at the British Reggae Awards in 1984. Such was the impact of this tune that it became one of the significant samples appropriated by the rising British Jungle culture. One example of this is ‘DJ School’ by Rebel MC aka Congo Natty who is widely regarded as the godfather of Jungle music.

In 1995, the tune re-appeared on Levy’s duets LP, ‘DJ Counteraction’. Produced by Jah Screw, the Greensleeves released project featured a duet version of the cut with rising star Mega Banton. The LP features many combination versions of Levy’s hits. In 2005, dancehall veteran Shaggy re-made the tune with Levy as ‘Broadway’, and released it on his own ‘Big Yard’ label. This version is well worth checking out too.

Barrington Levy has one of the recognisable and influential vocal styles in dancehall and a string of hits stretching back to the nineteen seventies. The singer has recently celebrated his 50th birthday and continues to release new music and perform regularly. Check out the clips below and search on YouTube for a vast selection of live performances from one of reggae music’s pre-eminent vocalists.

Barrington Levy – Here I Come (Broader Than Broadway)

Shaggy – Broadway ft Barrington Levy

More info:
Barrington Levy website
Barrington Levy on Discogs

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