I am pretty proud of these recordings, though Japhoy is really the architect. We start with a few Bob Marley songs "Rastaman Chant," etc. and I alternate purportedly harmonizing yodels and tentative flute.
We kick it into high gear on the percussion-laden "High Tide Or Low Tide." With the unforgettable refrain "I'm gonna be your friend," this Catch A Fire outtake is a song that Jahpoy really introduced me to as a meaningful work of art––an almost forgotten Bob Marley gem that is so much more than a b-side. The imperative of the mother to provide in the face of impossible hardship, the unbreakable bonds of love.
Not bad considering we had just a five minute acoustic jam beforehand to guide. I call this deep jazz of the soul .... dense forest flights into raucous Spaghetti Western, riding horses across the crest of some Visayan island to attack the Spanish colonials along the coast. This was the image that came to me as we played and Nils says he had a similar vision. Jahpoy does these amazing bird whistles that twine with the flute intricately. Harmony of ecosystem––what we have lost.
The action shifts to the tables outside Bamboo Grande, where I challenge Jahpoy to prove his Marley back catalogue mettle with a request for a personal fav, "Soul Rebel." Which he lays down with complete originality and ease for his three bros, who work on big int'l ships.
Then on to the Fryer, a hole-in-the-wall bar with terrible acoustics and enthusiastic young owners. Some vision is achieved: "Burn One Down," the Ben Harper anthem, followed by"Big Axe" and "By the Rivers of Babylon." If you don't like our fire, don't stick around...
FInally, a self-saboutaged version of "Englishman In New York" with Jahpoy's bandmate (will get his name presently). This was after 30 minutes of trancelike immersion in a reggae and tribal stew, followed by... what... slapstick? I was feeling a bit ridiculed, the self implosion was gonna happen. Also I was quite drunk (the pale pilsen bottle I blow changes tone as I empty one or two on stage).*
As the old man Joven (from Baguio) inquired after the set, "Can you handle that, man?"
"No man, Red Horse is crazy."
"I thought for a moment you were gonna puke up there"."
* Pale pilsen, you ask? Why yes, I am a lightweight. Ah wait, it was Red Horse. Cause I had to procure it from the crowd.