Category Archives: Ska & Reggae

Rocket Man – William Shatner

You can’t un-remember the shape of lines in famous songs. Try to say “I did it my way” without drifting into Frank Sinatra mode. When you find yourself pausing for a moment after “it“, you’re answering to Frank, not English punctuation. There is no commaYour memory of the ‘right’ way, Frank’s way, shapes your mouth and your breath.

William Shatner tries, valiantly, to reshape the words of Rocket Man;  to give them a conversational feel. But the memory of Elton John’s original tugs William towards it, especially once the music starts up around him. Memory shapes mind. Mind shapes the mouth:

Continue reading Rocket Man – William Shatner

It’s Hard to Sing Reggae When Your Head is Full of Strawberry Jam

She wasn’t a bad singer. She hit every note. But the word Jamming just didn’t sound convincing. Then I realised – she wasn’t thinking of jam in a Bob Marley sense. She was thinking of this:

Continue reading It’s Hard to Sing Reggae When Your Head is Full of Strawberry Jam

Desmond Dekker: to D, or not to D?

Once you’ve got the English /ð/ sound right, you can play around with it. Here’s Desmond Dekker singing Israelites. He sings a standard English /ð/ at the beginning of that, but listen to the way he sings the /ð/ of the. Is he singing a /ð/ or a /d/?:

Continue reading Desmond Dekker: to D, or not to D?

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery

If you want to sing accurately in English, Mitchell Brunings’ story will be useful. You might have heard of him; the man whose version of Redemption Song in the blind auditions of The Voice of Holland sounded like Bob Marley reincarnated:

Continue reading Emancipate yourself from mental slavery