Remember that song you heard when you were a kid and hummed and tried to sing to that tune? Remember the name of the song and the group? ehhhhh…. Well that’s what happened to me as I tried recalling a song that I heard nearly 25 years back while sitting in the living room of my home in the middle of a hospital campus in Ketu, a small village in Nigeria.
Being an only child then and it being a small village with not many children my age, I was a TV addict who came back home and switched on the TV before turning to my homework. I watched my first James Bond movies here (I was ordered by my Nigerian nanny – Veronica mama, bless her, to close my eyes for all those strategic scenes ). I got my first taste of the raw power of Incredible Hulk here (One scene that stands out in my mind is Lou Ferrigno going green squishing a car like an orange in a mixer. I was shit scared of the Hulk). And then there was the weekly music countdown.
A lot of those tunes still play in my head, but I never got to know the actual lyrics, nor the name of the group or song. I loved one particular song and used to keep singing some nonsensical lines before it faded somewhere deep down in my past. The song had this group of kids singing in front of the Big Ben with double decker buses moving around in the background. There was a small kid in the midst of this group who rapped. That was all I remembered. A year later India beckoned, and everything was forgotten.
Circa 2004, a chance encounter with the idiot box brought back a flood of memories and nostalgic trip to that song I loved as a kid. The live action Scooby Doo movie was playing on TV. I was a huge fan of the cartoon series and even though I didn’t expect much from this version, I watched it on TV out of sheer boredom. 15 minutes into the movie, you have Shaggy and Scooby sitting in their Mystery Machine smoking god knows what when that song begins playing. The song from 20 years back plays just as it was then. That’s it, that’s the song and now all I gotta do is find out the group and the songs name and download it. The lyrics of the song went somewhat like this ‘Pass the kutchie…?’ I dunno.
I got online immediately and checked out the track listing on IMDB. There it was, my song –
‘Pass the Dutchie’ by Musical Youth.
What the hell’s a dutchie? Referred Wikipedia and this is what I got,
The song was a cover version of the song “Pass the Kouchie” by The Mighty Diamonds, written by Leroy Sibbles and Jackie Mittoo. The song was changed from “Kouchie,” a slang term for a cannabis smoking pipe, to “Dutchie” due to the age of the artists and their target audience. A “Dutchie” was slang for a dutch oven, a type of cooking pot used by poor Jamaicans to prepare stews and rice. The term “dutchie” would, ironically, later be appropriated as part of cannabis slang to refer to marijuana rolled in a cigar paper, specifically “Dutch Masters” cigars, hence the name “dutchie”.
I downloaded the song and went back to watching Scooby Doo, more as a gesture of thanks for connecting me to that song. I wonder if my parents knew what the Dutchie actually meant ‘cause I used to nonsensically sing this song all the time as a kid. The song still warms me up to that time when all I had was music and movies for company. The reggae song is a lively piece that is plain fun and rhythm. Who would have thought Scooby and co’s Mystery Machine would be the harbingers of a reggae work concentrated around a piece of wood used to smoke something illegal. Definitely not me. Ha, so much for Thatcher and Reagan’s anti-drug campaign in the ‘80s. Surrogate advertising sure would have taken something from this.
As for me I am slowly reliving certain tracks that made me move my goblinish feet as a kid. Sort of like a CSI episode on a cold case from the ‘80s.