It was a cold night in Berkeley. But it was a clear night in Berkeley. Shattuck Avenue was, at the stroke of midnight, going to be party to a Jamaican Master…
True “Blender”…Mind Bender
Reggae Defender…..Rasta Soul Sender
Smoky Robinson in Dreadlocks
Elvis Presley on the Rocks…
With “Blend Dem Band”
Everton Blender is on hand…
Everton Blender is the original “Family Man,” which is also the name of one of his superlative songs, ”I am a Family Man, workin’ for my children.” I heard this tune spun by my son, DJ Smoky, long before this concert, but I couldn’t wait to see this “Conscious Dancehall Master” and old school ROOTS Rasta perform. I wasn’t prepared for his twenty year old daughter Isha (pronounced eye-sha) to open for him either, and I confess, the pulse and beat of the “Blend Dem Band” caught me off guard as well.
At the stroke midnight, after Isha warmed up the huge throng with some conscious songs directed at the women in the crowd, myself, Everton, and DJ Smoky rolled through the crowd Mohammed ALI style–ready for the ring… roar of the audience… ladies and gentlemen… straight from Jamaica… the legend himself… Everton Blendeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrr! Resplendent in red, green and gold wrapped white outfit… rasta staff in hand, Everton launched into “World Corruption, ” “Why do we have to WAR,” and “War Monger Man” extremely pointed, political and poignant. Without a dropped beat Everton sings “Herb getta bad rap”… ”People respect the dead more than the living”… and “Where do the children play?”–all controversial and cutting messages. Then out of nowhere, a curve, ”Jah didn’t make “Little Green Apples” and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.” I couldn’t believe he was covering this sixties schlock, but it sounded great and the whole hall was humming.
Everton did a song called “Is it Because I’m Black?” that was really personal and yet carried a racial message. Then he sang an anthem song called “I Love Jah Jah” (dedicated to my granddaughter Justyne “Jah Jah”) and then the moment I came for–with a twinkle in his eye and a wicked down beat–”I am a “Family Man, workin’ for my Children” W hat a great song …and with Isha singing back up and the mesmerizing reggae beat, it made my night. And everyone there roared in unison.