General Trees - Every Thing SoSo

1985, Black Scorpio

  1. Mini Bus

  2. Peanut Man

  3. Lego Me Queen

  4. If Me Rang Tell Me

  5. Everything Soso

  6. Na Na Moon Us

  7. Walking Rocking

  8. Four Wet Rat

  9. Gallop For Me

How's that for a fucking tracklist? I first saw this album cover before I knew much at all about patois and these track titles just boggled my cock off. Lego Me Queen? If Me Rang Tell Me? Na Na Moon Us? Isn't it a wonderful world we live in. And isn't it also such a blessing for dancehall fans in '85 to have four General Tree LPs bestowed upon them in a single year. This set, which I assume to be the final one for no other reason than the musical sound of the record, opens with two hit songs for Mister Tree that year, Mini Bus and Peanut Man. Both of which are celebrations of aspects of society that, by lyrical standards in Western music, come across as mundane and one-dimensional, but executed with such finesse and skill and intelligence that the result is a duo of tunes that will make you rethink what lyrics can and should be - assuming you are not already a fan of General Tree, or perhaps Early B. Mini Bus is perhaps the single tune I've heard the most times in my life, owing in no small part to the fact that it appears on three (Tree) Tree LPs, but that's just how things go, and it's a wonderful tune so I have never had a complaint kind of thought nor felt compelled to skip it. I think you can call that a guarantee of quality.

Stylistically this set is very similar to its sister album "Ghost Rider" and I feel that if you took the two and shuffled up all the tracks and then separated them back into two albums the result would come out pretty good, so long as Four Wet Rat doesn't end up making two appearances. If Me Rang Tell Me is a standout tune with a beautiful bit of harmony in the background and Tree's signature wisdom on full display, speaking in support of tradies - which Edwards himself was. Shoemaking was his day job and they say he made the best Clarks in town. The title track Everything SoSo is just barely about farming and food security, being the kind of tune with a lot of words and a lot of lyrics but with only the thinnest piece of string holding all the meaning together. Final mention goes to Walking Rocking for the toughest riddim on the set (Run Run by Scorpio) and two spots of fast style pulled off with perfect timing. A rare treat from the younger horseman. There's a line in General Tree's Wikipedia page that claims he is "widely regarded as the best Jamaican speed rapper of his era, the 'fast style' of delivery commonly accepted as arriving in Jamaica through the UK, through London-born Philip Papa Levi". That sentence stuck in my mind for some time as I got into the Tree records but I never really got the connection until this tune came on. Still, having listened very widely to all the Tree content I can get my hands on, I can say with confidence that it is far from his signature style and I do wonder where that claim comes from. After Walking Rocking I kind of wish it was though.

Then the LP ends with a horse tune and I like it.

My picks: Mini Bus, Peanut Man, If Me Rang Tell Me, Walking Rocking

Bim count: 0

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