My 20 Favourite Bahamian Songs of All Time

Friday 05th, November 2010 / 11:55 Published by

By Ian Strachan

These songs are not in any particular order.  And this list is entirely subjective.  I didn’t do any research at all.  I don’t know how many records or CDs were sold or how long it took for the songs to drop out of regular rotation.  I’m going with all my favourites.  Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I got the titles of a few of these wrong either, so sorry in advance if I do.

1.  “Going to Cat Island” by Exuma the Obeah Man. Exuma is one of my favourite Bahamian musical artists.  A man who is, in my opinion, under-celebrated.  But then again, we don’t celebrate artists, so what do I expect?  This song beats out some of my other favourites by him like “Walking Home” and “Rude Boy.”  Maybe it’s the harmonica. (Or was that a concertina?).

2.  “Down Home” by Phil Stubbs.  I was torn between this and “West End Move.”   I think “Down Home” wins though.  “When I’m walkin down those rocky narrow dirt roads/wit’ a basket of potatoes on my head” . . . what an opening.

3.  “I Ain’t Askin’ for Much” by Ancient Man.  This artist is aptly named.  His singing voice takes us back to another Bahamas.  And this song took Goombay music or Rake n Scrape to a higher level.

4.  “6 and 4” by Patrick Rahming.  For me it was a toss up between this and “Bain Town Woman”, but gambling is such a national obsession that I chose this one.  This is one of the songs that gave me a clear and strong sense of my Bahamianess.  Hearing our dialect immortalized in song was a vital form of affirmation.

5.  “Andros Island” by The Magnetics.  “The cats and the dogs and even bullfrogs, eatin crab fat and callin it dat.”  Love this song and love the voice of the lead singer.  Seeing as I spent some years in Andros as a kid, I’m biased.

6.  “Shot Gun Wedding” by Ronnie Butler and the Ramblers.  A long lost tradition, I tell you.  We’re in need of a come-back.  I think we’d solve a lot of problems with this.

7.  “Naughty Johnny” by Eddie Minnis.  One of the few recorded songs that became a ringplay instead of using ringplays as material.

8.  “Got a Letter from Miami” by Priscilla Rollins. You hardly ever hear this on the radio.  I suppose today’s DJs consider it ole timey.  But it’s good stuff.

9.  “Just Cause She Fat” by K. B.  I realize that this is early KB but the early stuff is good stuff.  Although I like the “Civil Servant” it lacks a certain dance-ability, if you know what I mean.  Wait a minute . . .  what about “Hard Heel Gal”?

10.  “Look What You Could Get” by Ira Storr.  A little slice of musical heaven.

11.  “Pie” by Stileet. Some people are fond of songs that punctuate moments in their lives.  I love this song because it would have captured perfectly how I felt during a bad relationship.  Unfortunately, the song came out after I had freed myself.  Still, it manages to “bring back memories.”

12.  “Ghost Move” by Avvy.  When I attended an elementary school’s Language Arts day and this song was sung by the children, I realized just how infectious and popular it was.  I still don’t think the little kiddies should have been singing it though.

13.  “Bring Back the Good Ole Days” by Sweet Emily.  Do I need to elaborate, really?

14.  “Burma Road” by Ronnie Butler.  No song straightens your back quite like this medley.  It is the quintessential “Bahamian thing.”

15.  “Boom Pine Apple Wine” by Roachy.  Funky, bumpin, hybrid Bahamian fun.

16.  “Run Come See” by Blind Blake.  Great music is timeless.  A lot of youngsters have probably never heard of this man or heard any of his songs.  We should fix that.

17.  “Rake n Scrape Mama” by Lassie Doh and the Boys.  A fun story, and even more fun tune.  The men who made this created something out of love.  So it’s no surprise I love it too.

18.  “Da Mail” by King Eric.  A song that reminds me of childhood, of sleepy Family Island settlements and of our elders, the folks we never spent enough time listening to or learning from.  This song, although all about departure and separation, keeps me rooted.

19.  “Funky Nassau” by Beginning of the End. Funk, rhythm and blues perfection. Soul. Soul. Soul.  Music should have size. This song is big enough for the whole world.

20.  “Get Involved” by Dr. Off.  Man, what a textured, groovy Junka-jam!  “Leave other people tings alone!”

I could easily have made this a list of 30 favourites.  I look at my list and realize that a lot of my favourites aren’t even here, like Joseph Spence, T-Connection, Bahamen, Visage, Gino D, Dry Bread, Elon Moxey, Funky D, Terez, Nita, Papa Smurf and many more.  But look, I’m at 800 words.  My job is done.  I’ll get to those others next time.

By: Ian Strachan

If you enjoyed this article you may want to visit Ian’s Blog and read more of his insightful commentaries.


27 Comments on “My 20 Favourite Bahamian Songs of All Time

  • The Song Gimme Mi Culture by Qpid is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard produced out of the bahamas
    there is really no words to describe it because the song just gives a feeling that is magical and authentic.
    Easily a top 5 of all Time

  • Hey looking for a song played at a hotel night club on andros island in 1981
    Oh Sam oh Sam

    Haven’t found a recording of it

  • For months now I’ve been trying to find a song that goes something like “Bus driver, don’t kill me for a dollar”. It was playing on a ferry when I was in Nassau. It has a similar vibe to the Pineapple Wine song. I can’t find it anywhere, does anyone know it?

    • yes the artist is Qpid he had ranked up to be 1 of my top 5 favorites in the bahamas.
      i think u can find the song on YouTube Bus Driver qpid

  • Hello, I went to school with Cay Gottlieb at Munro College in Jamaica … enquiries about his whereabouts after 40 years got me in contact with his brother, who, kindly, sent me “Double Dose” 2 – 3 years after his passing. Cay was a good friend and I now can see he developed into a memorable musician / composer … Rest well, my friend !”

  • Hello All!

    i am looking for title and artist with the following partial song lyrics

    “broad like a banana leaf, juicy like a pineapple”

    Any help??

  • Looking for the title of this song the lyrics are “coming tonight if that dog don’t bite just walk right in …” If anyone knows it please let me know it’s driving me crazy.

  • Im looking for a song from probably back in the 80s i dont know the name of it all i remember is these line”tiny tiny winey winey the girl just a walk and a wine she has a bubbled up waistline jerky jerky jerky yhe girl just walk and wine

  • I love the song “Tiny winey” but can’t remember all the words and who sings it. Can you help?

  • To Jim, the song that you are loking for is “Pongo le Pongo” by Cay Gottlieb. David Mackey at Mackeymedia, Freeport can help you further.

  • Very nice compilation. I’m looking for the “Out on the Beach” by The Island Boys. Its an old song and the tone its sets is just relaxing and the quintessential beach song for me. Please let me know where I can get a copy of the song.

  • Was looking at this and i want to know, where, if possible, can i find the lyrics for “Rake and Scrape Mama” by Lassie Doh? My situation is that i am writing an essay and i need to find the lyrics. I could attend to write it out by listening, but i have a hearing impairment …

  • Love to be here, salute to you all! Please can someone help me with the single “Letter from Miami” Pricsilla Rollins? I tried Youtube but no luck! If somebody has it please let me know. I will be grateful.

  • Do you know the name of this song i been triny to finf it for years here are some of the words….. Bongo de bongo my bahamain porkchop i call her crab fat she like that

  • Loved your choices my only question is where can I find Bain town women online is there anywhere


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