riffs Bitty McLean on John Holt's Time is the Master

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The Independent Culture
I first heard "Time Is the Master" in the Seventies, when I was five or six years old. I heard it in the front room in Chelmsley Wood on my Dad's sound sytem. It was an all-round family favourite, liked by mum, dad and my brothers and sisters. I think we must all know it off by heart. What I liked about it was its meaning. It's a song about the passage of time and how you must always look ahead, not back, and hold your head up. I suppose you could say it was an aspirational song about taking life seriously and not loafing it out.

Whenever I'm on tour I take my "Time Is The Master" CD with me on, to play in hotel rooms or wherever I need a lift. It immediately takes me home, back to the family in Birmingham.

It's unusual for a reggae record in that it has strings on it. I don't know whether they were done at Harry Moody's studio with the rest of the rhythm section or somewhere else later on. It's very sparse. The drums click like a clock ticking. It says one thing: time is the master. I think I'd like it to be played at my funeral.

n Bitty McLean's new album, 'Natural High', is released on Monday by Brilliant Records

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