Oba Observing the ‘Ypocrites

This week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme is about Fraud, Hypocrite, Phony, Pretender, or Snob and this was suggested by our fellow patron, Angie Trafford. My choice this week is No Woman, No Cry.

It is a reggae song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. The song was recorded in 1974 and released on the studio album Natty Dread. The studio version used a drum machine. Jean Roussel provided the arrangement and the uptempo version used a drum machine for the percussion.

Although Bob Marley is widely believed to have written the song (the lyrics are highly personalised and mention Georgie making cornmeal porridge, Marley’s favourite dish), or at least the melody, a songwriter credit was given to Vincent Ford, a friend of Marley’s who ran a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica, where Marley grew up. The royalty payments received by Ford ensured his efforts would continue.

The live recording of this song from the 1975 album Live! was released as a single and is the best-known version; it was later included on several compilation albums, including the greatest hits compilation Legend. It was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre in London on 17 July 1975 as part of his Natty Dread Tour. The live version of the song ranked No. 37 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

wikipedia

The Story of the Song:

No woman, don’t cry” is what Bob Marley really means in this classic hit. It’s about Marley’s upbriging, his stories in his hometown (Trench Town), his lyrics are both political and personal, mentioning the “government and the hypocrites which he really hated,” as well as talking to a woman who is crying and telling her not to cry and to forget the past. Marley is reminding the woman of the good memories, and the fact that “everything’s gonna be alright”. The line of the song is “No, Woman, Nuh cry.” Nuh is Jamaican for “don’t,” the meaning of the lyric is No, Woman, don’t cry.

Bob reminisces about the simple pleasures that despite the abject poverty of Trench Town bring back fond memories. Bob also talks about himself being a poor man, he doesn’t have a car or money for a taxi or bus fare (My feet is my only carriage, So I’ve got to push on through…)

Bass player of the Wailers, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, told NME in 2012: “The song is about the strength in the mama of course, strength in the ladies. And we love a woman with a backbone. Something like a wishbone! They have to be like a she lion! Woman strong, you know, not depending on the man. Of course the man is there to help you, then for every successful man, there is a good woman.

storyofsong.com

But again — the songwriter credit was given to Vincent Ford known as “Tata” or “Tartar.”

He was a Jamaican songwriter best known for receiving writing credit for No Woman, No Cry as well as three other Bob Marley songs. However, controversy persisted as to whether the compositions had actually been written by Marley himself, and had been credited to Ford to allow Marley to avoid contractual obligations, resulting in a legal battle that ended with the Marley estate being granted control of the songs. – Wikipedia

No, woman, no cry
No, woman, no cry
No, woman, no cry
No, woman, no cry’

Cause, ’cause, ’cause I remember when we used to sit
In the government yard in Trenchtown
Oba observing the ‘ypocrites
Mingle with the good people we meet
Good friends we have, oh, good friends we’ve lost
Along the way
In this great future, you can’t forget your past
So dry your tears, I seh

No, woman, no cry
No, woman, no cry
‘Ere, little darlin’, don’t shed no tears
No, woman, no cry

Said, said, said, I remember when-a we used to sit
In the government yard in Trenchtown
And then Georgie would make the fire lights, I seh
A log wood burnin’ through the night
Then we would cook cornmeal porridge, I seh
Of which I’ll share with you
My feet is my only carriage
And so I’ve got to push on through
But while I’m gone

Everything’s gonna be all right
Everything’s gonna be all right
Everything’s gonna be all right
Everything’s gonna be all right
Everything’s gonna be all right
Everything’s gonna be all right
Everything’s gonna be all right
Everything’s gonna be all right

So no woman, no cry
No woman, no cry
I say, oh little oh little darling, don’t shed no tears
No woman, no cry

No woman, no woman, no woman, no cry
No woman, no cry, one more time I’ve got to say
Oh little little darling, please don’t shed no tears
No woman, no cry

No woman, no woman no cry

On a side note, Reggae and Ska are my favorite music genres and Bob Marley songs are the ones playing on loop on my Spotify alternating with No Doubt and 311. I love all types of music (almost all), but you gotta have a go-to… and mine is theirs.

7 thoughts on “Oba Observing the ‘Ypocrites

    1. Thanks for dropping by…. You’re right, his voice does that indeed… I saw a couple of Bob Marley posts as well with No Woman, No Cry and Hypocrites entries 😉 Cheers!

      Like

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