Pat and I played this song the last time we DJed, which got me thinking about it. Then, Mary asked about the Sublime cover, which got me thinking about that. Then, I started thinking (all this thinking!) about how I owed you an extra song to make up for my crazy schedule.
As per covers, the original version of this by Jamaican reggae legends Toots and the Maytals is WAY, WAY better. TatMs (originally just called The Maytals and led by Frederick "Toots" Hibbert) recorded this version in 1969. The song is about Toots’ time in prison, which he served after being arrested for marijuana possession.
The 90s AlternaSkaPunk outfit Sublime covered the song on their classic 40 Oz. to Freedom album, which I enjoyed abundantly in the late middle school and early high school period of my life. Some people hate Sublime, but I still kinda love ‘em (I Am Not Ashamed) and was not afraid to blast this album from my porch during my Ann Arbor days.
I heard a rumor that the band was still touring, but I doubt they could be very good, as the late singer/guitarist Brad Nowell was really who kept them sounding interesting.
54-46 Was My Number.mp3 (Toots Version)
54-46 That's My Number/Ball And Chain.mp3 (Sublime Version)
54 46 was my number.
Right now, someone else has that number.