15 November 2020

Honeyboy - Heart of Gold/ Version

Beautiful reggae take on Neil Young classic

Label: Penguin
Year of Release: 1977

Reggae's ability to plunder the classic songbook, take any song from any genre (within reason) and reappropriate it for its own purposes is enviable. Of the thousands of Jamaican singles churned out each year throughout the seventies and eighties, some top flight covers can be found for your delight.

This Neil Young cover has been a lot more buried than it deserves to be, however. The gentle, yearning "Heart of Gold" probably feels more of an obvious candidate for the Lover's Rock treatment than it initially appears, and the treatment here is respectful, faithful and yet somehow - as bafflingly contradictory as it sounds - entirely its own sound. It manages to make you believe that Neil Young's original vision was always for this track to be heard by lovelorn rude boys everywhere. 

The dub version on the B-side isn't the most adventurous you'll hear but also spikes the song into new and interesting shapes.

Keith Williams - aka Honeyboy - was something of a pioneer of Lover's Rock, and moved to Britain from Jamaica in the late sixties. A long string of singles followed under the Honeyboy name, as well as other pseudonyms such as Happy Junior and Boy Wonder. The track "Jamaica" cropped up on the "Trojan Reggae Party" compilation album, and he was similarly honoured by UB40 in 2002 who included him on their LP "UB40 Present The Fathers of Reggae".

If you can't access the previews below, please go right to the source


Stevo said...

Thank you for this, I had never heard of it before. It reminds me of Greyhound

Anonymous said...

link not site down

23 Daves said...

Works fine for me, anonymous. Anyone else having problems?