The first reggae song I heard had a line that sounded like the following in French, "et ma lutte et ma chute et ma oueri". It might have been 1967 or 1973. I'd love to know what it was and who it was by.


Thanks to Bebs for giving the crucial hint by transliterating some key lyrics:

I think this is actually Desmond Dekker's "007 (Shanty Town)" (1967). The time frame is right, and the actual lyric is "dem a loot, dem a shoot, dem a wail" ("they loot, they shoot and they shout/sing"). The song is about the "rude boys," young members of the Jamaican criminal underclass. In the song they admire James Bond ("007") and the suave gang of thieves from the original "Ocean's 11."

Dekker is best known for his plantive hit single about the working life, "Israelites," but "Shanty Town" was featured on the internationally known soundtrack The Harder They Come. Interestingly enough, the translation of the lyrics you thought you heard (as per Google: "and my struggle, and my fall") would have also fit right in with the themes of that movie and soundtrack.

  • That's the one! Thank you. I didn't know if the words were actually French, heavily accented English, or something else.
    – Mark S
    Jul 8 '17 at 21:35

Gregory Isaacs in 1975 released the single Babylon Too Rough that has the line:

Them a walk, them a shoot, them a loot

sometimes reverted

Them a walk, them a loot, them a shoot

"Shoot" sounds like the french word "chute".
"Loot" sounds like the french word "lutte".
I don't know the french word "oueri" but could it be "walk" ?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.