Archive for January, 2012

The Best of Bob Marley – Part 3: The Movement by Rohan Marley

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Today we’re bringing you the last part in our “Best of Bob Marley” series (Part 1Part 2), taking a closer look at the Rastafari movement he brought out of obscurity and into the international lime light. He became the leader of a generation in Jamaica that felt change was necessary, and used the Rastafari movement to build a new society for impoverished Jamaicans living in slums. Songs such as “Chant Down Babylon,” “Exodus,” “Buffalo Soldier,” and “Redemption Song” called for action against the evils of society.  Bob Marley reflected on his work saying, “Me see myself as a revolutionary who don’t have no help and take no bribe from no one, and fight it single-handed with music.”


Founded in 1930 when Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was crowned king, the Rasta movement found much support in the slums of Jamaica. It drew on the imagery and ideals of Christianity, but advocated social and political change with messages of black pride, freedom from oppression, and the hope of return to the African homeland (also  referred to as their own “Zion,” or promised land).  Rastafarians believe in a god called Jah, and reject the idea of an afterlife, instead looking to Africa as heaven on earth. Rastafarians also believe in the concept of “I and I” (said in place of “you and I”) emphasizing the unity between humans and Jah as well as equality among all humans.


The movement itself has gained notoriety for its unconventional practices, including its use of dreadlocks, marijuana, and symbolic Rasta colors. Most Rastafarians, including the late Bob Marley, wear their hair in dreadlocks. They don’t cut their hair, quoting the book of Numbers in the Bible: “No razor shall come upon his head,” (Numbers 6:5).  They believe the dreads  reflect a naturalness and simplicity associated with Africa. Rastas are also known for their habitual smoking of marijuana. Bob Marley was a huge advocate of marijuana, praising its medicinal and peaceful attributes and often seen with a joint in his hands. The other main Rasta symbols are the colors of red, gold, and green: Red stands for the blood of the martyrs in the black struggle for liberation, gold represents the wealth of the African homeland, and green symbolizes Ethiopia’s lush vegetation.


Ital food comes from the phrase “vital food” and describes 100% natural, pure, and clean food. For Rastafarians it means no chemicals, blood, meat, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. Along with these characteristics, Ital foods tend to avoid salt, oil, and meat. For the Rastafarians food is a way to harmonize with nature and organically rid the body of harmful toxins.

Marley Coffee prides itself on offering Ital coffee beans. These organic and chemical-free coffees are rich in flavor and antioxidants, Look for the “Ital” label on your coffee.

Read more about Bob Marley.

The Best of Bob Marley – Part 2: The Music – by Rohan Marley

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As we continue bringing you the best of Bob Marley over the next few weeks, we wanted to include the past and present of his music. There have been countless lists compiled of his best songs, but rather than choosing our favorite Bob Marley songs, we thought we’d choose our favorite covers of his songs. Below we have posted our three favorite covers followed by notes on the Bob Marley originals, including “Is This Love,” “No Woman, No Cry,” and “I Shot the Sheriff.”

Grammy-nominated soul vocalist Bilal Oliver teamed up with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson to render this beautiful cover of “Is This Love”.

“Is This Love” was originally released in 1978 of Bob Marley’s album, Kaya. It topped the UK charts at #9 that year and soon became one of his most popular and well-known songs.

The Fugees released their cover of “No Woman, No Cry” in 1996 on their second studio album, The Score. Wyclef Jean provides lead vocals, and the rhythm directly takes influences from hip-hop and soul. It’s a head-bopping version of the song.

This live version of “No Woman, No Cry” features a sweaty Bob Marley performing with a full band and shows images of the slums of Jamaica. The song itself was released in 1974 on the album, Natty Dread, but gained notoriety for the live version released later in 1975.

Eric Clapton recorded a cover of “I Shot the Sheriff” on the album 461 Ocean Boulevard. The song became a commercial hit, peaking at #1 on the charts and eventually becoming Clapton’s only #1 hit song in the U.S.

Released in 1973, The Wailers’ single, “I Shot the Sheriff,” hit #1 on music charts around the world. Bob had this to say about the song: “I want[ed] to say ‘I shot The Police,’ but the government would have made a fuss.  So I said ‘I shot the sheriff’ instead… but it’s the same idea: justice.”

Bob Marley’s music was so ubiquitous and spanned so many generations that countless covers have been done. We are grateful every day for the music he created and the music he has inspired over the years. Let us know your favorite covers by commenting below! Also make sure to check out Part 1 of the Best of Bob Marley series where we discuss the legacy continued by his children.

Peace and love.

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The Best of Bob Marley by Rohan Marley

Posted in Island Enthusiasts, Reggae Roots Music, Rum, Trop Rock Artists | 2 Comments »

Bob Marley’s legacy has its roots in Jamaica, in the small village of Nine Mile in Saint Ann Parish, and eventually stretched across the globe. No one could have imagined that this half-white, half-black poor Jamaican boy would one day create music that defined a generation.

When Marley moved to Kingston after his father’s death, he found poverty and music intertwined in the slums. He began making music with his friend Bunny Wailer at the age of 14, opting to attend jam sessions with Wailer and Joe Higgs instead of attending school. Marley and Wailer eventually joined forces with Peter Tosh, and by 1966 they had formed a trio simply called “The Wailers”.

After landing a major record deal and pursuing several U.S. tours, The Wailers eventually broke up in 1974 after they were fired from a tour opening for Sly and the Family Stone—as openers The Wailers were receiving more popularity than Sly and the Family Stone in the shows.

Post-breakup, Tosh and Wailer pursued solo careers. Marley did the same, but performed with a back-up band as “Bob Marley and the Wailers”. After 1974, he gained huge support in the U.S. and continued to have hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

In July 1977, in the middle of a world tour, Marley was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He flew back to his native land of Jamaica, and after a series of failed treatments, he passed away in 1981. His final words to his son Ziggy were, “Money can’t buy life.”

Over the next few weeks, in honor of the great Bob Marley, we’re going to give you our “Best of Bob Marley” list. We know that his legacy is not limited to great songs like “Jammin’” or “No Woman, No Cry,” but include all of the movements his ideas inspired. Our list includes his music (our top 3 covers of Bob Marley), his children and their accomplishments (Rohan Marley began the sustainable, fair-trade Marley Coffee empire), and his influence on the Rastafari movement.

Keep checking the blog for more updates as we bring you the Best of Bob Marley.

Peace and love.

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Sail On, Gordon Price 02/27/49 – 01/30/12

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The answer to this age old question is that I started out as an amateur musician at age 9 or 10 playing the drums and piano in grammar school ! As a teenager growing up in Atlanta Ga., I moved to St.Petersburg Fl. at the ripe young age of 15 and took up the 6 string guitar in that time frame. I played the drums in the high school band and the guitar after school until my mother would scream! I only had a Sears acoustic Silvertone guitar and got my first electric guitar just before going to college at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where I played for part of one year in the “GATOR MARCHING BAND”, until I discovered the finer aspects of college life, women and beer and frat parties!

My first really good guitar was purchased around 1971 and it was an Italian EKO, which is not made anymore. I struggled with it for 10 years until I bought and Ovation wide body “Balladeer” 12 string in 1981. Musically, I started picking up speed about that time. I don’t really remember exactly when I performed in public the first time, but it was probably around a camp fire at Lake Tiger near Lake Wales Florida with 10-20 drunk redneck mothers sprawled out under the live oak trees after a long day fishing for bass and specks. Those were the days and that is how music should be played in my opinion, with friends!

As the eighties progressed, I touched bases with some great neighbors on Tierra Verde, and one old fraternity brother from college, Bob Carter, and we tried to get together and play once a year for the “BEACH BUM’s ANNUAL LABOR DAY PARTY”, at my house. The saying, “the more you drink, the better we sound”, was truly coined by these events. As it goes, Bob Carter and Pat Best and Rob Hough and Wayne Goodwin, could never get our timing together, and the “AVERAGE BEACH BAND” died a miserable death in HELL.

Well these were the good old days, and I remember them with fond memories. I started playing solo beach parties somewhere around 1990 from St.Pete to Key West, depending on where the winds blew us, and started getting a little more serious and intent on becoming a better musician of sorts. I worried if I would always be an amateur, or was I good enough for the big leagues? The thought that has carried me forward is “some day I will”.(Thanks Jimmy Buffett!)

In the mid nineties, you would find me playing with Jack Rigsby and Lonesome Dave Dubouis at the Wharf on Pass-A-Grille Beach, on certain Friday and Saturday nights, when I was not out diving on the “CABO WABO”, my boat. These were impromptu events but the crowds sometimes approached Mike Anderson’s structural dock limits on rare occasions.

I remember doing a wedding on my boat, “CABO WABO”, in Key West in the pouring rain, for my good friends Cindy and John Pike, on New Year’s eve, 1995?? How could a marriage survive such a strange start?? God bless you both! “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, was the only thing I could come up with that seemed appropriate.

My sister Carol and her husband Jon started getting back into music in the nineties also and started a band called the “DOUBLE COUPLE BAND”, with Mike and his wife. They still play in St.Pete with my dad. Jim Ponder, who is also an accomplished musician from the fourties.

Other beach type venues I performed ranged from Frenchmen’s Reef and Lattitude 18 in St. Thomas USVI, Negrill Jamaica, Grand Caymen, Loretto Mexico (Baja), and most recently, San Diego CA. In 1999, I founded a website for independent musicians named “BARMUSIC.COM”. This is my current passion in life, beyond scuba diving and flying and electronic engineering.

For the last 12 years I have been producing radio shows for BARMUSIC.COM and Jimmy Buffett’s Radio Margaritaville on lucky occassion. Steve Huntington, the station manager/director, has been kind enough to air the shows on Radio Margaritaville from time to time. I have done shows with greats such as: GARY SEILER, JERRY GONTANG, TAYLOR HARVEY, JOE RATHBURN, DAVE ZOBL, HUGO DUARTE, MEXICO MARK MULLIGAN, STEVE WHITE, RICK STEFFEN, KELLY McGUIRE, T.SCOTT WALKER, BOB KARWIN, PATRICK FOY, CAPTAIN JOSH, and STEVEN YOUNGBLOOD. I have also done live shows in Key West from 2002-2004 at the Key West Hyatt during MOTM with countless impressive musicians, too numerous to mention.

In the summer of 2006, I was lucky enough to join up with Jason Webb of the CARIBBEAN CHILLERS, and played with them at many major shows from Homestead Florida on the 4th of July to Tampa and Minneola in the fall of 2006! The CHILLERS experience has had a profound impact on my musical career and I still play with them from time to time, especially the annual Palm Harbor Parrot Party every June

I bought a house back in Florida in 2005 and transitioned living from San Diego to Port Richey over the next 3 years. I now live in Port Richey Florida full time. I currently play around Florida as both a solo and band performer. I have a local band known as the STORM CHASERS. I also manage BARMUSIC.COM and produce internet radio shows for the station. I have made a big transition over the last 6 years from an amateur to a professional musician. I have had a very active professional career for the last several years.



Check Out “The Finder”

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Check Out “The Finder”

Stuff Parrotheads Like.  There is a new show on FOX, that has a Tropical feel to it… The Finder.  The show is an offbeat detective show that is set in “Looking Glass Key, FL” and in a beat up bar named Ends of the Earth Bar.  Geoff Stults plays Walter Sherman, a detective who is both quirky and talented, often sporting Hawaiian shirts and flip flops.  Stults solves cases in part due to an obsessive compulsive focus (and strangely ingenious) that is related to a brain injury he received while in the military.

Parrot Island Band approved

Stult’s “sidekick” is Michael Clarke Duncan who had a breakthrough performance in the movie The Green Mile.  I love Duncan’s character and his deep voice (and he has some incredible muscles). Duncan plays Leo Knox, a gentle giant who is a bit of a home spun philosopher (and legal advisor).

Michael Clarke Duncan digs the Parrot Island Band

The only thing the show is missing so far is a good Trop Rock band and I gladly offer up the Parrot Island Band as a solution.  I could also see Trop Rocker Howard Livingston as a regular on the show or maybe we could take turns bringing Tropical tunes to the show… OK, I digress, the show is definitely worth checking out and hopefully will find an audience before it goes the way of most of the shows I like (long term hiatus or cancellation).

Maybe if enough Parrotheads begin to follow The Finder, the writers will bring Buffett on for an episode and we can finally solve the mystery of Jimmy’s “lost shaker of salt”… tune in ).

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The Roots of Trop Rock – Calypso Music

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Photo: Calypso



Calypso developed during the 19th century with roots in Trinidad’s Carnival. It grew out of the various styles of Carnival music, including ribald songs, traditional drumming and stick-fighting songs, first sung in French Creole and by the turn of the century sung in English.

These tunes were originally sung by chantwells, singers who led carnival masquerade bands in call and response in tents in the weeks leading up to Carnival and on the streets during Carnival itself. In the 1920s, calypso was transformed into a more ballad style of political and social commentary. The singers no longer led the masquerade bands performed in the tents as shows rather than rehearsals for the street carnival. A strong crop of calypso singers emerged in this period all taking on warrior like pseudonyms including Roaring Lion, Atilla the Hun, Lord Beginner, Growling Tiger, King Radio and Executor. These calypsonians wrote and sang sophisticated songs and performed in competing tents during the Carnival season of the ’30s.

Although a few calypsos were recorded in the first two decades of the 20th century, the major break came with the 1934 recording trip to New York after Carnival by Roaring Lion and Atilla the Hun. Their recording brought international notice to calypso and won respect at home. In addition to the recordings, Lion and Atilla were taken under the wing of Rudy Valle, who brought them important exposure at his New York nightclub and on his Saturday night radio broadcast. That session yielded two classics: Lion’s “Ugly Woman,” which was later featured in a Hollywood musical and rewritten into a rhythm-and-blues hit, and Atilla’s “Graf Zepplin,” a celebration of the airship coming to Trinidad in the fall of 1933, a song still sung today.

For the rest of the decade, calypsonians went to New York each year to record and numerous field trips were made to Trinidad. By 1938, Time proclaimed a calypso boom in the United States. However, it didn’t really seem to happen until the Andrews Sisters’ version of Lord Invaders’ “Rum and Coca Cola” became popular during World War II: Despite being banned from the radio, it was one of the best-selling records of the war era. This song was a watered-down version of a sharp commentary on the ill effects of the American presence in Trinidad during the war. Still, it provided enormous exposure to calypso and sparked even more interest that led to an increase of recordings in the United States and England as well as the increased travel of calypsonians to both locations.

In 1957, the Calypso album by Harry Belafonte sparked a short-term calypso craze in the United States and to a lesser extent around the world despite the fact that most of the album was not calypso. For six months, the American entertainment industry rushed out dozens of singles and albums and three movies were produced with calypso themes. A craze for calypso dancing was born and it caused many nightclubs to change their décor and seek out any calypsonians they could find. The craze fizzled out quickly but not before calypso had entered the music conscious of many people around the world.

In 1956 a young Trinidadian singer named the Mighty Sparrow declared, “Yankee gone, Sparrow take over now” in his hit song “Jean and Dinah,” referencing the declining presence of U.S. servicemen in the country after WWII. Sparrow all but took over calypso from leading lights like Lord Melody (with whom he had a delightful duel in song) and the comic genius Spoiler. He created a new sound and style, one that was more melodic and brought a new excitement to the calypso tents with memorable albums of great songs that were heard throughout the Caribbean.

The other great calypsonian of the time was Lord Kitchener who had gone to England in 1948 and was a major force during the Fifties with his recordings of calypsos were popular throughout the Caribbean and in Africa. With Independence, Lord Kitchener returned and the two led competing tents of great singers during a golden era of calypso in the ’60s and ’70s with other masters of the art form: Duke, Stalin, Cristo, Cypher, Chalkdust and others. In the late ’70s, a whole new style, soca, was created by Lord Shorty (aka Ras Shorty I), Shadow and others. These artists brought a range of influences, from Indian music to R&B, and melded them into a more dance-driven, less-lyric-oriented style that has since evolved quite a bit apart from calypso. More recently artists like David Rudder have created a unique style merging elements of calypso and soca, and new forms like rapso exert a strong influence.

In the last decade Extempo competitions have emerged, where calypsonians are asked to compose and sing on the spot on any subject. A master calypsonian like Gypsy has made this art form his own. Until the 1960s, there were few women singing calypsos but with pioneers like Calypso Rose and Singing Francine and current masters like Singing Sandra, the situation has changed and women sing many of the strongest calypsos.

In Trinidad the crowds at calypso tents are older and not as well attended as the large and younger-leaning soca fetes. Yet there are more calypso tents than ever, and they go on the road all over the country during the Carnival season. There are more competitions, and companies continue to have their own calypso contests. There are ongoing efforts to involve young people in singing calypso with youth tents, school events and competitions. Throughout the Caribbean, calypso is a major part of Carnival celebrations in Barbados, Antigua, St. Vincent and the Virgin Islands, while calypsos are sung each year at Carnivals outside the Caribbean, as in Caribana in Toronto and Notting Hill in England. —Ray Funk


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On Island Time in Paradise – Cayman 3

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William Fair Roberts
January 28, 2012
I have been in Cayman Brac for several days now and I have to tell you, the Caymans are wonderful. If you get a chance to come down here you need to hop on a boat or a plane and make the journey. One thing for sure, the Caymans this time of year are a little rich for my blood. You can find a reasonable room or cottage, but it is best if you have a friend or two to share expenses because if you stay in a cottage by the sea with the amenities that provide a little luxury, it may cost you. The ten of us that were on the boat has dissolved into five and that was perfect for the house we found on a little rise about 70 yards from the water’s edge and it cost us slightly less than $100 per night per person. Not bad for this little abode.
I heard Cayman Brac is home of the highest point in the Caymans so I borrowed a bicycle and took a day trip to the hill. Ok, it was a good ride, but it would have been a little lack luster if I hadn’t decided to take Bright Road to the other side of the Bluff. This road took me to the Cayman National Trust Parrot Preserve, a magnificent place. This bird sanctuary is worth a stay on the island if you do nothing else. It is beautiful. I saw scores of parrots and other beautiful colorful birds and the refuge was full of flowers. There were cacti reaching through the trees, finding their way to the sun at the treetops. I spent a whole day in the refuge, wandering around. Restaurants aren’t abundant on Brac, so there aren’t many places to “dine” on the island. And while we are talking about what s not here, I should mention that this is not a shopping mecca either. What you miss in dining and shopping, is made up for beaches, diving, atmosphere and beauty. But while on my bike trip, I was lucky enough to find a guy selling, of all things, Mediterranean food out of an old pickup truck. The food was wonderful, fresh grilled fish, raw veggies, flat bread and humus. He didn’t have wine or beer but the fruit juice he had was great.
Once I was back at our house by the a sea, Gardner introduced me to a guy they met the night before. He is a really interesting guy. He is in his early 50s, named Nate Rackman. Like I said he is an interesting character. He claims to be the great, great, great, great grandson of Mary Reid. If you remember your pirate history Mary Read was the lover of Jack Rackman. He was captured in Jamaica in 1720 and he and Anne Bonnie and Mary Reid were all sentenced to die for piracy. Anne and Mary pleaded “the bellies” and were both allowed to live until their babies were born. Mary became sick and died in prison. It was never confirmed, but some say she died in childbirth and, that is where Nate says he came from. He has a great story and whether it is true or not, it is at the very best doubtful. You have to remember that these islands are full of people with great stories and this guy is definitely one of those people.
Nessy and Gardner have told me of a trip they are planning to take aboard their boat. They say that Nate, the 4 great grandson of Calico Jack has a good idea where his dear granddad X5 spent four months in the summer of 1719 hiding from the Jamaican Governor and the British Navy. They both admit that it is a very farfetched story of a guy that has probably imbibed in a little too much ganga in his time…no probably way to much ganga but, they are on holiday looking for adventure and as I have said, I am not a betting man, but I bet we have all found a ticket to that adventure.
According to Nate, we need to sail to Jamaica where on the north side of the island, where if he is right, we will all share in the booty of his 4 Xs great grandfather. My question of Nate was and is, if he knows where this treasure is and he is some five decades old and many generations removed from a time and place when it was stashed there, why hasn’t someone just picked it up and taken it. His answer was simple…”I will explain later.”
I see a bad ending to this story in my future, but I am up for the adventure. Maybe it will get me away from some of these snowbirds that have migrated down here. I have had my fill of seeing new reddened tattoos on old men and women with no suntan and fat bellies. We have picked up a few things at the store and we are going to have a cookout on the beach tonight to celebrate our last night on the Brac. Tomorrow we will be under sail, on our way to Jamaica. It is just a little over 150 miles from Brac to Jamaica so, it is a relatively short trip.
A big argument ensued about the trip, but I finally won. Me being an American with a US passport, I told them I could not write about our trip if we went where they wanted to go. They wanted to take a side trip to Santiago De Cuba. Thank goodness we are heading straight for Rio Bueno Jamaica.
It is time to crack some ice pull out the rum and head to the beach cause tomorrow I am going to start searching for gold and silver and hidden pirate treasure. I know this guy is full of crap, but I think it is worth the time and will be fun following his whim and imagination on the hunt.
So, I hope you are enjoying yourself as much as I am enjoying mine here in this corner of paradise.
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise

Island Time Radio Show Anniversary

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Island Time Radio Show Anniversary

Stuff Parrotheads LikeIsland Time Radio Show is celebrating its 12th anniversary this Monday, January 30th.  Hosted by Dennis King (DK the DJ), this show does a great job of playing a mix of both independent Trop Rock musicians and established artists.

When our CD, Parrot Island Getaway came out a few years ago, Dennis was kind enough to play a few songs and have me (Bry from the Parrot Island Band) on the show. When interviewing musicians, Dennis does a good job of putting his guests at ease and  makes the audience feel like they are a part of the show (through emails, internet chat, running Facebook comments, etc).

Island Time Radio with Parrot Island Band

It was great seeing Dennis while in Key West this past November – I always enjoy meeting people in person that I have gotten to know over the Internet (Facebook, interviews, e-mails). Thanks to Island Time Radio and DK the DJ for a great program and happy anniversary from the Parrot Island Band!

In case you haven’t heard, the Island Time Radio Show is heard live on Monday nights from 10 pm to 1 am, Eastern Time on WBWC 88.3 FM (Baldwin Wallace College) in the Cleveland, Ohio area. 

Island Time Radio Show can also be heard on a worldwide webcast at The show is repeated on WNY The Shore Radio at Saturdays – 9 pm, Eastern Time and on Beachfront Radio at  Wednesdays – 8 pm, Eastern Time.

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Living In The Conch Republic/Jerk Chicken/Scott Kirby

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Living in The Conch Republic

How many times have I crossed the imaginary line driving down U.S.1 passing The Last Chance Saloon in Florida City and hence, entering the Conch Republic? Likewise, taking the left there and heading the Card Sound Road route? Either way, at that point going straight on US1 or going left onto Card Sound Rd., you’ve entered the Conch Republic. Having lived about fifteen miles north of there for so many years, I can attest, as will anyone else who’s done the same thing, when you cross that line, things take a noticeable change. Suddenly a weight comes off your shoulders and you find yourself exhaling. The grind is over and you have arrived in The Conch Republic. The Conch Republic is a country unto itself, make no mistake about it. From the very first settlers here to today, you’ll hear people throughout the Keys say “Oh, I have to go up to Florida”. It’s not necessarily Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Naples, Ft. Meyers, Punta Gorda, Palm Beach,… ex. They say they have to go to Florida because in their minds, the Keys are NOT Florida. The Keys are “The Keys” or “The Conch Republic” . The Keys are a completely different state of mind and a completely different state of being. How many times have I mentioned to someone visiting “You know? This isn’t the U.S.”? And how many times have I seen their eyes light up and a big smile cross their face and their reply is “You’re Right!” in complete enlightenment? I’ll tell you, every time! Another anecdote I’ll say to people regarding my move from Florida to the Conch Republic capitol is “You know, I only moved one hundred and thirty eight miles, but it might as well have been one hundred and thirty eight thousand miles”. That’s no exaggeration whatsoever.

The beauty of the Keys is that, on the one hand, you’re in an entirely different country, yet you’re still within the United States. Down here in the Keys, we’re very proud of the United States military personnel stationed here, and we have all branches of the service. The Navy and the Coast Guard have the highest presence, however the Army’s Green Berets train here, as well and every branch of the service are represented at NAS Station in the Truman annex.

A funny thing about the Conch Republic is that those who leave, be it going back home from vacation, or having moved from here and relocated someplace else… up in the United States 😉 they all want to return. It’s a different state of mind. As I said, I only lived fifteen miles from the boarder and it was a beautiful area, bear in mind, but it was a world of difference. Cross that line at the Last Chance Saloon.. and it’s “WOW!!!” The weight’s gone off your shoulders. The Conch Republic stretches from The Last Chance Saloon about 200 miles to The Dry Tortugas. All but the first eighteen miles are islands, the Atlantic Ocean, and The Gulf of Mexico/Florida Bay and the Florida Straits.

In a strange, quirky, albeit remote way we could be kind of like Monaco and France? Monaco is its own country, however if attacked it is considered part of France. I think it could only behoove the U.S. to have the Conch Republic in some ways a sovereign state, yet at the same time still attached to the U.S. as it currently is. In areas such as foreign relations go, it might be a good, optional card to have up Washington D.C.’s sleeve. Besides, maybe we could get the $1B dollars in aid we never got at the end of the insurrection 🙂

No Todo, this isn’t Florida, or the United States. Welcome to the Conch Republic!


KEY WEST GASTROMINY – Jamaican Jerk Chicken/What is, What Isn’t

Two of my absolute favorite bar/restaurants in Key West are Schooner Wharf and The Hogfish, which is actually on Stock Island.. but still 33040. Both of these establishments sit dockside, Schooner Wharf in Key West Bight and the Hogfish at Safe Harbor Marina. Both have good menus and the Hogfish gets the nod for the better cuisine by about a point. The fish comes right off the boats, right there. It’s always a pleasure going to either, both having an atmosphere that is tough to equal.
The funny thing about both of these good restaurants is, as good as they are, neither of them have the slightest clue whatsoever on how to make Jamaican Jerk Chicken! Both have it on their menu; however I’m not really sure what they serve, not that it’s bad tasting, but it’s not jerk chicken!

To begin with, the absolute most important ingredient in Jerk is the Scotch Bonnet pepper, which is a sister pepper to the Habanero, albeit with a more aromatic flavor and similar heat rating. No trace whatsoever can be found in their Jerk. Second, Jerk is a paste made with the Scotch Bonnets, onions, allspice, garlic, pepper, salt, thyme, herbs, and pimiento. What they have is some kind of a liquid that, although it doesn’t taste bad, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Jerk seasoning. Both restaurants jerk taste similar to one another and it’s my guess that some restaurant supply company is selling them this stuff and blowing smoke up their tails with the hum that ”This is Jerk seasoning”. It’s not even close.

So, while I strongly suggest going to both of these superb establishments, if you’re contemplating the Jerk Chicken, avoid it. The rest of their menus are superb for a dockside bar/restaurant, and both have a great staff as well.

Who does make a real Jerk Chicken in Key West? Well, Blue Heaven has for years! Theirs tends to be a bit milder than I would prefer myself, however they’re not looking to have some inexperienced customer burst into flames, then follow it up with farting like a flame thrower at the table. On a scale of one to ten, I’d put it as an eight. Although on the mild side, it does have a very nice flavor.

Bobalu’s, next to the Green Parrot on Southard St., has what has to be the best Jerk Chicken in town. Not fire breathing dragon hot, but zippy and a great flavor. They serve theirs as a sandwich. Fantastic! On the scale of one to ten, it’s a nine. You can’t go wrong with their jerk!

Hat’s off to Bobalu’s for the best Jerk in town!

For a superb Jerk seasoning check out Grace’s!

If I ever should open a restaurant in town, my jerk will be a ten. I’m not taking any prisoners. Fresh, homemade Jerk, with a fabulous flavor, and hot as hell. Yah Mon!


Scott Kirby

Stopped by Smokin’ Tuna yesterday afternoon and caught Scott Kirby doing a set there. What a pleasure. Scott is an amazing acoustic guitar player, on top of being a fantastic singer and songwriter as well. Scott has been based in Key West since 1988 and has six albums out, the latest being “Row Me Home”, which was produced by Russ Kunkel. If you’re into great, laid back acoustic based music with a sailor’s perspective, Scott’s music is something that you’ll happily grow old with. What’s not to like? For more info on Scott, check out his site and his tour dates to find out when he’s in your neck of the woods.

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MidWinter Meltdown Sounds Like Fun

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MidWinter Meltdown Sounds Like Fun

Stuff Parrotheads Like.  There is an event that is being held in Virginia this weekend (Jan 27-29) that sounds like a lot of fun.  It is a Parrothead event called MidWinter Meltdown.  The event started 12 years ago and has become one superb event, from what I can tell. The Calypso Nuts, Crawdaddy, John Frinzi, John Patti and several other Trop Rock entertainers will be there to entertain 250-300 crazy Parrotheads… I am sure it will be a great time!

While the Parrot Island Band won’t be at MidWinter Meltdown this year, we will be joining with the Calypso Nuts for another event in Virginia on April 21 (Bry’s birthday!) The event is Phins on the James and you can find out more information by going to the Heart of Virginia Parrothead Club website .

I met a number of the Virginia Parrotheads while in Key West this past November and they are a wonderful group of people! Having grown up in Virginia (Tidewater), I have a soft spot for all things (OK, most things that are related to Virginia:)).

I look forward to being with everyone in April but until then I hope everyone has a great time this weekend… beaches and blessings.



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