A Perfect Song: ‘I Am Lonely’

Despite the nip in the air and the chilling breeze that required me to bundle up (and Jah know I hate bundling up), today was a good day. Nothing spectacular happened, but I didn’t need anything spectacular to happen. Nothing could break my stride. Even while I was at work, plugging away at my desk, I found cheer: Whether it was the picture of my beautiful niece Zoë that serves as the wallpaper on my desktop or the belly laughs I shared with coworkers. It was just one of those days where time is flying and I am having fun. In a word, my day was perfect. Perfect.

And in my world, a perfect day always has a soundtrack. Songs or a song that punctuate events of the day, in the same vein as a goodnight kiss from a lover or the smile of a woman laughing at a joke. Today that song was Johnny Clarke’s ‘I Am Lonely’.

If you’re not familiar with Johnny Clarke you need to do something about that. Now. Pronto. When he first buss’ out onto the Jamaican music scene in the early ‘70’s he murdered everything in site—roots tunes, lovers shots and cover versions (his versions of Bob Marley’s ‘Crazy Baldhead’ and ‘No Woman No Cry’ are simply lethal). He soon became one of the most popular singers, if not the most popular, on the island, both topping the charts and helping to redefine the sound of the music bubbling in Jamaica’s dancehalls.

I’m talking about all of this like I was there. Though I guess in a way I was. Not because I was born in Jamaica and absorbed the sounds of the time by osmosis or anything like that. But because a few of my favourite Johnny Clarke 45s have been in my family from way back in those days and it feels like I’ve been hearing them all my life. And as I mentioned in a previous post, many of the 45s in my collection are hand me downs.

And let me tell you, whenever I spin tunes at a party, I make sure to run a few JC shots for the massive. Which brings us back to ‘I Am Lonely’. Johnny’s voice has the right mix of wistfulness, nostalgia and yearning for his lost/found love. And the riddim just grooves with purpose and tenderness. It’s made for couples falling in love. Or out of love. Or just sharing space on a dance floor. I really can’t get enough of this tune. I play it all the time. I played it at this party. I included it in this mix. And I’m sharing it with you all now. It is absolutely perfect. Two minutes and 30 odd seconds of perfection. Click play on the video to see/hear what I mean.


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