It’s Friday, and Grace Grant has arrived to clean up the mess in our condo that has accumulated since she was here ago. It’s a Sisyphean task, with three teenage boys and all their friends constantly streaming in and out and leaving their empty soda bottles and junk food wrappers, but Grace is an extremely positive and upbeat person, and she dances around singing hymns cheerfully to herself and eight ours later the place is once again spic and span. Grace is Jamaican, from Negril. My wife found her on the Internet, and she and her six-year-old daughter Vickeisha have become like family.
Grace was brought up in the church, and we know a lot of the old hymns like Farther Along. I played her a recording I made in Negril in l970 of a young woman named Cinderella Robinson beautifully singing Farther Along and Central Never Busy and other religious songs. As I toured the island from end to end, there were all these open air revival churches with only a tintop roof where people were doing this fantastic singing, sometimes in torrential tropical downpours, of calypso- and increasingly the new reggae-inflected old baptist standards. The repertoire overlapped with Reverend Gary Davis’s and the storefront Baptist churches in Harlem and the Bronx I used to drive him around to in the Sixties, but there were lot of great homegrown island numbers I had never heard that had strong African echoes.
I’ve been twice to Grace’s church, the Faith Pentecostal Deliverence Ministries, Pastor Veronica Crichton, on Victoria Avenue in one of Montreal most multiethnic quartiers. First time I did Farther Along and one of my and Rev Davis’s wife Annie’s favorites, We Are the Heavenly Father’s Children. Next time I did Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which Grace said was a religious song. I had never thought of it as such, but as a guy telling his woman he is there for her, no matter how bad things get. One of the hymns in that morning’s service was Hear My Cry O Lord, which Grace says was a big hit when she went home to Jamaica for a visit a few years ago. I had never heard it before.
So this morning to start off the end of your work week with a nice feeling, we’ve recorded it for you. Here it is (mislabled, it’s actually morningraga21) :
rosette found her on web ad.
brought up in church back home, near negril. play cinderella robinson.