Thursday, October 2, 2014


Fu-huck, I was in a good mood earlier. And it's still lingering. That doesn't happen often enough. A combination of perfect weather (low 80's), warm ocean, and a chat binge with locals I see nearly every day on my way down the walkway, past the wall, and away from the beach. I was walking up the alley behind the pier when I thought about what song, of all the music I have at my disposal, would really be perfect to hear at that particular moment. Out of nowhere, Johnny Nash's "Hold Me Tight". Yeeaaahhh, I love that song.

Johnny Nash commands respect in this house. He was the first artist to make a determined effort to break rocksteady and reggae in the U.S. Okay, so Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop" was a couple years earlier, but that was a blip in the states, a freak occurrence. Nash tried repeatedly. He first went to Jamaica in 1968, with his Jamaican girlfriend. The woman's father, a local celebrity, introduced Nash to the Wailers, who were then unknown outside of Jamaica. The Wailers turned him on to the local music scene, and Nash dug it enough to sign the Wailers to his label, Jad Records, as both writers and performers.

His first post-Jamaica LP, Hold Me Tight, featured two Peter Tosh penned songs, "You've Gotta Change Your Ways, and "Love" a non-reggae ballad. But the big hit on the LP was "Hold Me Tight", written by Nash. Man, there's something about it's humble simplicity that just soothes. Depending on your mood, the LP itself could be heard as ho-hum watered down reggae with a little light soul, or one of those freak LPs where comparisons to other music is rendered irrelevant by the vibe. It's not challenging, it's not radical, it's just a simple vibe, It's barbeque music, sunburn nursing music. You know, a tall cool one, a slow dance with a foxy chick, that sort of stuff.

Johnny Nash - Hold Me Tight mp3 at LZ Center 1968 from Hold Me Tight LP
Johnny Nash - Cupid (streaming) at YouTube 1968 from Hold Me Tight LP
Johnny Nash - Stir It Up mp3 at Janavision (?) 1972 from I Can See Clearly Now LP, written by Bob Marley
Johnny Nash - There Are More Questions Than Answers/Guava Jelly (streaming) at YouTube 1972 Dig the pedal steel on the first half.
Johnny Nash - Hold Me Tight at YouTube So insanely smooth, even with the out of step dancers.


Anonymous said...

Hold Me Tight is a GREAT song. Glad to hear I'm not the only person who still loves it.


Tom G. said...

There's just Something about it, right?