A prophet without honor

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Tue Mar 20 05:13:18 UTC 2012

I wouldn't be surprised that in the very early days of what became reggae, in early ska days, a Jamaican group or two would have covered "Work With Me, Annie"--the music grew out of an attempt to play r & b, and wound up with the musicians switching the rhythm around and stressing the two and four beats instead of the one and three.  They really liked New Orleans-style r & b though.  But calling it reggae from the beginning--somebody doesn't know much about r & b.

On Mar 19, 2012, at 10:28 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      A prophet without honor
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> TIME, vol.171
> Briton Hadden, Henry Robinson Luce - 1973 - Snippet view
> Initially reggae was earthy, sexually explicit and abounding in joie
> de vivre: " Work with me, Annie, let's get it while the gittin' is
> good," a typical reggae began.
> "Work with me, Annie, let's get it while the gittin' is good," _a
> typical reggae_ began.
> <sigh!>
> Cf. W:pedia:
> "Work With Me, Annie" is a 12-bar blues with words and music by Hank
> Ballard. It was recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (formerly
> The Royals) in Cincinnati on the Federal Records label on January 14,
> 1954, and released the following month. The Federal Communications
> Commission (FCC) immediately opposed it because of its overtly-sexual
> lyrics, lyrics that had crossed over and were now being listened to by
> a white, teenage audience. [OMG!] Because the record was in such
> demand and received so much publicity, attempts to restrict it failed
> and the record shot to number one on the R&B charts and remained there
> for seven weeks.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_with_Me,_Annie
> WRT the name-change, the problem was that there already existed an
> older group that styled itself, The Five Royales, and there was no
> phonetic distinction, in the BE of the day, between _royal_ and
> _royale_. Hence, the newer group was The Rawls and the older group was
> The Five Rawls. You can see that confusion would have ensued.
> And yes. I did think, at one time, that his name was "Lou _Royal_," -
> hypercorrected - the surname _Rawls_ previously being unknown to me.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
> to come from the mouths of people who have
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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