Friday, October 29, 2010

The Complete Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010!

Here it is! All 21 tracks wrapped up in a neat MP3! Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!

I will be spinning some of the tunes featured throughout the last 5 Spooktacular years tonight in Washington DC at DC Soundclash at the Marx Cafe (3203 Mount Pleasant St NW, the monthly event takes place from 10PM until 3AM) amongst the multitude of well deserved Gregory Isaacs tributes... so if you happen to be in the area, stop by and have a listen!

The Complete Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010
Download Here

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Twenty One - Things In The Dark

Here it is! The final track in the 2010 Spooktacular! It has been a fun month and I hope that this years mix didn't disappoint... I will be posting the complete 2010 mix a little later this afternoon for those who weren't able to keep up with the daily downloads. But, let's get to the final track...

I wanted to finish things up this year with a positive message so I decided on Delroy Wilson's "Things In The Dark" from his 1976 7" on the Impact label... aside from the scary title it is basically a warning to the wrong-doers in our societies that evil things done in the dark will come out in the light. So let this serve as a warning to those who plan on going out on Halloween to do wrong, yeah I'm talking to you punk-ass teenagers out there, intent on soaping windows, toilet papering trees, smashing pumpkins or hijacking trick-or-treaters and stealing their hard-earned sugary haul.

And on that note I'm gonna wrap it up... but not without leaving you with a final thought. This is the poem by Marnie Pomeroy that started our mix this year and I'm going to use it again as my closing... Happy Halloween my friends!

Who raps at my window?
Who in a white sheet
Runs across the midnight lawn
Without the sound of feet?

What moon grows in the East
So huge and dusky red?
Who howls from the chill within the hill
Where the farmer's hound lies dead?

The dry leaves twist and rattle
Alive in an evil spell.
Down by the pond the man who drowned
Tolls a wavering bell.

The wind has hardly wakened,
Yet flapping through the air
Fly shapes with wings and bony things
And forms with jagged hair.

Who blows at my candle?
Whose fiery grin and eyes
Behind me pass in the looking glass
And make my gooseflesh rise?

Who moved in that shadow?
Who rustles unseen?
With the dark so deep I dare not sleep
All night on Halloween.

"Things In The Dark" by Delroy Wilson
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Twenty One

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Non-Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010!

Here it is! With the untimely passing of Gregory Isaacs I wasn't sure I'd have enough time to put this one together this year but here it is...

1. The Ghastly Ones - Grave Dig Her
2. The Gore-Gons - Ghoul Bash
3. The Moon-Rays - Blues For Vampires
4. Round Robin - I'm The Wolfman
5. The Munsters - Down In The Basement
6. The Metrolites - The Blob
7. Misfits - Halloween
8. Tino - Zombies Walk Dub
9. Satan's Pilgrims - Peter Lorre
10. Milton Delugg - Frankenstein
11. Gein & The Graverobbers - The Crypt Keeper's Holiday
12. Bomboras - Stormy
13. Bobby "Boris" Pickett - Graveyard Shift
14. Meteors - Halloween Scream
15. Zombina & The Skeletones - Dracula Blood
16. The Creepniks - Surfin' With Satan
17. Frankie Stein & His Ghouls - In A Groovy Grave
18. Phantom Creeps - The Creature Walks Among Us
19. Sonny Terry - Bad Luck
20. Torquays - Ghost Rider
21. Vincent Price - Don't

Happy Halloween - Enjoy!
The Non-Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Twenty - Duppy Bye Bye

Track twenty is upon us and it's called "Duppy Bye Bye" by the man Lloyd Lovindeer. Lovindeer is well known for his humorous tunes, especially "Wild Gilbert" released in the aftermath of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and selling over 50,000 copies and is therefore considered the highest selling single in Jamaican history.

With "Duppy Bye Bye" we get to hear Lovindeer explore the supernatural side with his trademark wit and humor intact. Just to let everyone know, some may find the fact that the chorus in the tune bears a resemblance to Buju Banton's much ballyhooed and equally reviled homophobic "Boom Bye Bye" off-putting, but Lovindeer isn't going there. This song is about fighting off the undead not attacking people for their sexual preference. But I'm not here to discuss that... I'm here to get you in a Halloween mood!

"Duppy Bye Bye" mentions a lot of superstitious customs to avoid contact with duppies; turning your clothes inside out, carrying garlic, obeah and its multitude of powders, potions and oils are all mentioned. But, Lovindeer proudly proclaims his protection comes from his spiritual beliefs and that all the superstitions serve no purpose.

This one comes to us from a 1992 7" on the TSOJ label.

"Duppy Bye Bye" by Lovindeer
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Twenty

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Nineteen - Duppy Story

Nineteen down, two to go! The next tune in the Spooktacular is by the DJ Daddy Meeky called "Duppy Story," a nice ghost story inna early dancehall stylee! "Duppy Story" tells about Meeky's late night encounter with a few different duppies on his way back from seeing a scary movie. Also, Daddy Meeky's tune comes complete with the trailer to William Castle's 1960 haunted house classic "13 Ghosts"... but unlike 13 Ghosts you don't need to use your Illusion-O Ghost Viewer glasses to witness the action.

This one comes from a 7" on the Dennis Star label produced and arranged by Clive Kennedy circa 1986.

Speaking of ghost stories... I finally attended the Ghost Walk in the small town of Havre de Grace last Saturday and it was pretty entertaining! And though I didn't see any actual ghosts or really get the hell scared out of me like I'd been hoping, it was well worth the effort. I took some pictures of the old houses that supposedly harbor ghosts and I have yet to have them analyzed by any team of paranormal investigators but I'll let you know if anything of the supernatural variety pops-up.

"Duppy Story" by Daddy Meeky
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Nineteen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Halloween Spooktacular in the Washington Post Express!

I am really psyched that the Halloween Spooktacular got mentioned in the Washington Post Express! Read the column online - here! Thanks Christopher!

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Eighteen - Barnabas Collins

For the love of god, will this guy ever stay dead?! Here I am into the fifth year of creating these Halloween mixes and along comes Barnabas Collins poking his fangs into yet another Spooktacular! Judging by the plethora of tunes paying tribute to Ol' Barnie and or Dark Shadows, it's quite obvious that this guy must have achieved folk hero status in Jamaica back in the 70's!

This one is by a group called Del, Owen & Newts and is taken from a 7" on the Hatchet label from the mid 70's. I never even knew this song existed until I discovered the tune mentioned online this spring and thankfully got ahold of a copy in September and I gotta say, it's a good one!

I don't know why, but the Barnabas Collins thing has gotten to be such a integral part of the Spooktaculars that I don't know if I'm going to be able to continue each year without at least one mention of the schlocky TV soap opera bloodsucker. As far as the namesake goes, we've had three versions of Lone Ranger's "Barnabas Collins," Yellowman's answer "Mi Kill Barnie", Dillinger's version "I Thirst," Charles Hannah & The Graduates "Dark Shadows," and there are still 4-5 more that I have up my sleeve... but I'll tuck it away in the coffin until next year. Maybe when the Dark Shadows and Barnabas tunes dry up, it may be the perfect indicator of an appropriate time to discontinue the Spooktacular... we'll see!

"Barnabas Collins" by Del, Owen & Newts
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Eighteen

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs - 1951-2010

I am devastated to hear the news that Gregory Isaacs has died... one of my all-time favorite singers and performers and it's with tears in my eyes that I face the prospect of creating a Gregory Isaacs tribute long before it should be due... I am so thankful that I had the chance to see Gregory on countless occasions and he is a voice in reggae that will sadly be missed. Rest in peace Gregory, we'll miss you.

Gregory Isaacs Tribute Mix

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Seventeen - Satan Side

I know the image on the left there is a little ghastly for a mild-mannered Jamaican music blog but every October the Spooktacular gives me the chance to showcase imagery best reserved for a heavy or death metal blog. It's the odd juxtaposition that makes this so much fun to begin with... and some would say you can't get an odder juxtaposition than reggae music and Halloween to begin with. But this is what I've been doing for the last 5 years and I hope people understand my motives... sharing my passion for reggae music and my love for Halloween all at the same time.

Keith Hudson and the Chuckles are up next with the absolute killer "Satan Side" - a bass heavy, wicked tune that goes great with the spooky thing we got goin' on here this month! It's from a 7" on the Mafia label.

"Satan Side" by Keith Hudson
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Seventeen

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Sixteen - Vampire

Up next in the 2010 Spooktacular... the song is called "Vampire" and comes a group that I have absolutely no background information on called Positive. With a very Peter Tosh-esque delivery and refrain, this 1983 tune should probably sound somewhat familiar to those who have been around these parts before. I would say that Positive's "Vampire" serves as an expansion on the ideas Tosh explored on the "Vampire" 7" he released on his Intel Diplo label in 1976 and again on his Grammy Award winning "No Nuclear War" album in 1987. Regardless, Positive does a decent version that fits in well with our theme here... though, it should remain very obvious to even those with untrained "reggae ears" that the vampire in the tune is really an analogy for those who fight to oppress those who are perceived to be beneath them.

See you next week for the last five tunes!

"Vampire" by Positive
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Sixteen

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Fifteen - Bad Beast

The Vampire Beast Craves Blood or The Blood Beast Terror is a 1967 film starring Peter Cushing about a scientist who creates a creature that is capable of changing from a gigantic moth to a beautiful woman. The problem is, when the beautiful woman takes the form of the winged insect she has a propensity for human blood. And as you'd imagine, terror ensues. Such a bad movie but so enjoyable... I don't know what that says for my taste in film but I digress.

The Vampire Beast Craves Blood is the basis for the next tune in our mix called "Bad Beast" performed by the group Skin, Flesh & Bones, a group whose name alone makes them fodder for the Spooktacular treatment. The group was formed by bass player Lloyd Parks and featured Sly Dunbar on drums, Ansel Collins on keyboard and Radcliffe "Dougie" Bryan on guitar. Skin, Flesh & Bones featured many of the guys that would later become known as Channel One's infamous studio band The Revolutionaries where the Riddim Twins, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, would form their partnership that has lasted some 30 years and counting.

"Bad Beast" is the B-side from a mid-7o's 7" on the Upset label... I'd give ya the information on the A-side but the label on the copy I have isn't legible. I've added some trailer audio and a clip from the film into the mix to keep you on the edge of your seat! Enjoy!

"Bad Beast" by Skin, Flesh & Bones
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Fifteen

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Fourteen - Run For Your Life

Karl "King Cannon" Bryan is up next in the Spooktacular with a smooth tune from 1969 called "Run For Your Life" which was pressed on the Camel label, yet another subsidiary of Pama Records. Bryan shows off his baritone saxophone prowess here with an instrumental that will not only get you in a Halloween mood but will get your feet moving.

Bryan began his career in the late 50's, joined the Carlos Malcolm's Afro-Jamaican Rhythms in 1964 and even went on to play with the Lyn Taitt's legendary Comet before going solo in 1967.

Now, let me tell ya... the background that I put together for this tune was one of my most involved efforts ever on a Spooktacular... I wanted to capture the effect of the hip modish chick, you see pictured on the right, running for her life from the evil book wielding mummy giving chase. It was one of the first times I found the picture first and followed-suit by tailoring the track to suit the image.

"Run For Your Life" by Karl Bryan
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Fourteen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Spooktaculars From Halloween Past

Here they are in all their gory glory... the Halloween Spooktaculars from years past! Now's your chance to collect them all!! Not sold in stores, these mixes will put you in the right Halloween mood and provide a nice spooky background for your pumpkin carving! Perfect for scaring trick-or-treaters! Act now! While supplies last!

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2007

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2008

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2009

Halloween Spooktacular 2006

Halloween Spooktacular 2007

Halloween Spooktacular 2008 - Satan Takes A Holiday

Halloween Spooktacular 2009

Now what would you pay for all these Halloween mixes if you were to purchase them at your local department store? Get them here at Distinctly Jamaican Sounds for the small price of a thank you.

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Thirteen - Annie Palmer

Annie Palmer has been discussed here before but I'll give you a short history of my favorite Jamaican ghost story before we get to the next track...

Annie Mae Patterson was born to an English mother and Irish father in Haiti in 1802. Annie's parents both died mysteriously when she was 10 and from that point on was raised by her Haitian nanny who supposedly trained her in voodoo. She came to Jamaica in 1820 in search of a wealthy husband and came across John Palmer who fit the bill nicely. They were soon married and Annie Palmer quickly became the mistress of the Rose Hall Plantation right outside of Montego Bay.

Allegedly, Annie grew bored with her husband and began seeking out lovers. She would select slaves, who she was attracted to and would invite them to come to her chambers at night where she would have their way with them and would have them killed or kill them herself when suspicion or boredom reared its ugly head.

Six years later Annie poisoned her husband John Palmer so that she would become the soul owner and benefactor of the plantation. Supposedly, over the course of the years Annie married and killed two other husbands, acquiring their wealth and continued her illicit affairs with slave men whenever she desired. Oddly, Annie Palmer sealed off the three bedrooms in which her three husbands had died and word began to spread around the plantation that the Great House was haunted.

Her cruelty was legendary... the story says that she would have slaves flogged and beaten for her own amusement and even took them back to the mansion for continued torture when night fell. In 1831, Annie hired a man from England to become her bookkeeper - she was immediately taken by the new man but he had eyes for one of Annie's housekeeper Millicent. The bookkeeper decided to play both sides of the fence, so to speak, and it infuriated Annie. The White Witch cast a spell on Millicent and within 9 days she was dead. Millicent's grandfather, Takoo, who was a powerful voodoo priest and one of Annie's occasional lovers, was incensed by his granddaughter's death and proceeded to storm into her bedroom and strangled her to death.

Well, as you can imagine... the legend of her spirit still haunting the Great House at Rose Hall continues to this day. Countless sightings of ghostly apparitions and odd occurrences throughout the years have fueled the legendary status of Annie Palmer and firmly planted The White Witch Of Rose Hall in the ghostly folklore of Jamaica.

Gloucester "Danny" Hill is a self-taught musician who started in the late 50's performing with a mento group. He won first prizes for his skills in 1962 and 1963 at talent contests held at the Ward Theater in Kingston and it was right after that he recorded the next tune in our Spooktacular for producer Neville Foo Loy in 1964. The song is called appropriately enough, "Annie Palmer" and comes from a 7" on the Top Sound label. A wicked ska tune to spice things up a bit.

"Annie Palmer" by Danny Hill
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Thirteen

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Twelve - The Executioner

In the 1965 Italian gothic horror film Blood Pit Of Horror (based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade and directed by Massimo Pupillo), Mickey Hargitay plays the Crimson Executioner, a depraved and evil monster who pleases himself by torturing and killing a group of hapless fashion models who unwisely decide to use his castle as the backdrop for a photo shoot.

Jackie Mittoo, on the other hand, was not at all like the Crimson Executioner... he didn't torture and kill fashion models and he didn't live in a castle that was the scene of a photo shoot gone awry... but he did play a wicked organ. Mittoo was a founding member of the Skatalites and went on to record for countless producers and bands until his untimely death in 1990.

Starting off our second complete week of the Spooktacular we've got Jackie Mittoo lending his groovin' keyboard skills to a tune called "The Executioner." It's the B-side to the Jah Stitch 7" "Midnight Iwa" on Bunny Lee's Jackpot label. Mittoo gets a nice groove goin' on this one and serves as a nice bed for the Bloody Pit Of Horror trailer and all its sinister yet slightly corny implications.

"The Executioner" by Jackie Mittoo
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Twelve

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Eleven - Duppyman Skank

Now I know you're looking at this picture of the late great Michael Jackson and wondering what the hell does this have to do with the Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular... the answer quite simply, is James Bond. Now I could just leave it at that but before this turns into a bad rehash of Abbot & Costello's "Whose On First" routine I'll explain.

James Bond is not the 007 you're thinking of... James Bond was/is a DJ who released this tune "Duppyman Skank" as a 12" on the Magnum label circa 1983... and is a bit of a tribute to Michael Jackson's Thriller video. With lyrics like "Inna Thriller, you a see 'nuff duppy, Michael Jackson a lead the posse. You shoulda see the duppy do the boogie... all a dem just a rock to the beat..." it's obvious that James Bond was a Michael Jackson fan as well. Not to mention that Bond drops some names that makes it even more fantastic... "The bloodsucker that they call Dracula, Jack The Ripper was a womanizer, Frankenstein never know him mother, Peter Cushing have to be the father." Bad assss!!

"Duppyman Skank" by James Bond
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Eleven

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Ten - A No Duppy

Since I've exhausted my resources in trying to locate decent artist interpretations of duppies I have resorted to using the label for the next tune in the Spooktacular... please forgive me. I won't even delve into the fact that I'm still without a scanner and had to swipe the image of the label from Youtube but I digress.

Up next is Derrick Morgan with the song called "A No Duppy" from 1974 on the Wizard label... now I've been listening to this tune for a few years now and have hesitated at including it in the mixes because I can't really determine what the song is about. At first it can be perceived to be an attack on Ernie Smith and the story behind his tune "Duppy Gunman" which was discussed here last October. Or it can be perceived as a statement about the then current state of police and military activity in Kingston during the time. Regardless... it's a cool tune and Morgan's wicked laughter at the beginning and scattered throughout is alone worth the price of admission.

"A No Duppy" by Derrick Morgan
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Ten

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Nine - Death Rides A Horse

With the proper imagery and sound effects, this song "Death Rides A Horse" by the Hippy Boys works well with the spooky theme. The Hippy Boys, formed in 1968 by Lloyd Charmers, and featuring an all-star line-up of talent; Reggie Lewis on guitar, Glen Adams on organ and the Barrett brothers, Aston and Carlton on bass and drums... were a tight backing band. The tune starts with that creepy hoarse voice declaring that Death does in fact ride a horse and it has just enough of a creepy vibe to get your skin crawling when played at loud volume.

The track comes from a 1970 7" on the Unity label (also a subsidiary of Pama Records) and is the B-side to Max Romeo's tune "Melting Pot."

"Death Rides A Horse" by the Hippy Boys
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Nine

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Eight - Devil Woman

I can't find any background information on the Tender Tones so I won't go there... here is a smokin' tune from 1969 that ties into the Halloween spookiness we got goin' on here... its called "Devil Woman" and is from a 7" on the UK based Pama Records subsidiary Crab label. A rockin' upbeat "skinhead reggae" number relating us with the tale of a mortal man combatting his seemingly evil significant other... I could really have related with the poor guy's burden a couple years ago myself but I'm not gonna get into that. :)

The film trailer at the beginning is from the early 70's Filipino horror/kung-fu film Devil Woman that I have never seen but immediately added to my must-see list.

I've got to let everyone in on something... until this summer, I was never a huge fan of the skinhead reggae sub-genre. But upon further investigating and listening I've really developed a new-found appreciation. Besides, there were a lot of "spooky tunes" recorded inside that 1968-1972 window and I have yet to come across one that doesn't kick ass... some of which are featured in this years mix.

"Devil Woman" by the Tender Tones
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Eight

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Seven - Dracula

Tommy McCook & Bobby Ellis are up next with a smooth instrumental in honor of the world's most famous vampire! McCook (March 3, 1927 - May 5, 1998), a founding member of the Skatalites, was one hell of a saxophonist and this track makes that quite evident. Ellis (July 2, 1932), an alumnus of the Alpha Boys School, was/is a hell of a trumpeter and his combination with McCook on this track also makes that quite evident. The tune comes to us from a 7" on the Soul Beat label and when put inna combination with a couple snippets from Bela Lugosi's legendary performance in the 1931 classic, you have a pretty spooktacular track... if I do say so myself.

"Dracula" by Tommy McCook & Bobby Ellis
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Seven

Friday, October 08, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Six - Ghost Walk

Carlton "Caly" Gibbs is up next in the Spooktacular with a record that works well with the spooky vibe we've got goin' here... The song is called "Ghost Walk" and was recorded and released in 1970 on the Pressure Beat label in Jamaica and the Amalgamated label in the UK. A nice ol' school DJ style over Joe Gibbs' version of the Bob Marley "Duppy Conqueror" rhythm... a real bad-ass tune!

Speaking of Ghost Walks... I'm planning on hitting a local ghost walk this weekend in Havre de Grace, a small town situated on the Susquehanna River and only a few miles away from home. Unfortunately we got rained out last year so I'm hoping that the weather holds... Oddly enough, this will be the first ghost walk I've ever done on this side of the Atlantic and I'm looking forward to getting in the spirit and hopefully getting the hell scared outta me! I'll let ya know!

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

"Ghost Walk" by Caly Gibbs
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Six

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Five - Red Blood

Vin Gordon, the trombone player with a laundry list of nicknames; Trommie, Don D. Jr. or Don Drummond Jr) gives us the fifth tune in this year's Spooktacular. The tune is called "Red Blood" and is paired with the trailer from a double feature of particularly bad 1969 films called Women and Bloody Terror and Night of Bloody Horror.

Gordon's tune was recorded by Coxsone Dodd at Studio One in the 70's and as far as I can tell was never released as a single... it is borrowed from the excellent 2002 Studio One compilation on the Soul Jazz label called Studio One Scorcher and works well with the spooky vibe we've got going on this month.

The two crap-tastic films that accompany the spooky tune were both directed by Joy N. Houck Jr. and released as a twin billing. Women and Bloody Terror takes place during New Orlean's Mardi Gras when a suburban housewife throws caution to the wind and begins bedding any man she wishes. But once a motel parking lot attendant and his sidekick being pursuing and attempting to blackmail her, the bloody terror ensues. Night of Bloody Horror involves a guy who goes on a killing spree and has all the trappings of what you'd expect from a 60's era psychedelic styled exploitation film - trippy visual effects and a loud psych band wailing away in the ubiquitous club scenes. Not exactly two of the greatest exploitation films from the era but surprisingly entertaining.

But anyway... let's get to why you came here in the first place!

"Red Blood" by Vin Gordon
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Five

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Four - Duppy Jamboree

Byron Lee & The Dragonaires got started in 1950 and still remain active today, though they have since changed their name to Byron Lee's Dragonaires following Lee's death in 2008. Most known and beloved by many for the soca music they began recording in the late 70's, their foray into reggae music was short-lived... considering the majority of their output during this era were covers of roots reggae originals written by other artists and upbeat, potentially "white-radio-friendly" instrumentals, they produced little original or groundbreaking material. That's not to say Lee and the musicians in his band weren't competent... these guys could/can play but, during the heyday of roots reggae when songs of sufferation, hardship and praises of Jah were prevalent, the polished "uptown" sound that emerged from the grooves of Byron Lee's records didn't have a lot of pull for hardcore "downtown" reggae fans.

But on to today's song! This is one of my favorite "duppy tunes." If you've been with me in years past you've already heard two other versions; the original by Levi Williams and a version by Flip Kay but now we're gonna give Byron Lee & The Dragonaires their chance. The tale of an innocent bystander witnessing a ghostly celebration on the bank of a river has such a distinctive Jamaican ghost-story feel that I consider this an exemplary example of a near perfect duppy tune regardless of who's performing. Byron Lee's interpretation comes from a 1976 album of authentic reggae covers called Reggay International
on the Dynamic label.

"Duppy Jamboree" by Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Four

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Three - Witchcraft

Carl "Mr. Satisfaction" Dawkins never had any intention of being a singer... at one point he even found himself competing on the national level as a soccer player. But later, he did do some recording with the Techniques and their legendary front-man Slim Smith which caused him to reconsider his career path. He cut his first solo record "Hard Times" in 1967 and its b-side "Baby I Love You." But in 1970, he went on to record "Satisfaction" the tune that would become synonymous with his name.

The Carl Dawkins tune that has been "spookied up" for the Spooktacular is called "Witchcraft" and it comes from an early 70's 7" on the Sir JJ label... a soulful tale of how finding love must be the work of supernatural powers. The witch cackling and bubbling cauldron effects have obviously been added by yours truly but they are only secondary when it comes to the classic/fantastic R&B "soul-shouter" style delivery that makes this song so smooth.

"Witchcraft" by Carl Dawkins
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Three

Monday, October 04, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Two - Hell Boat

When I dug up this record recently I knew it would be perfect for the Spooktacular I just wasn't sure why... sure it had "hell" in the title which is an obvious plus but, somewhere tucked away in a dusty bin in the back of my brain was a bit of recognition... but what the hell did hell have to do with a boat? A split second later it dawned on me... Charon! C'mon you know Charon don't you? Check out the pic over there on the right and you'll see the evil looking guy I'm talkin' about!

Charon is the ferryman of Hades who carries the souls of those recently deceased from the banks of the living world across the river Styx and Acheron to the world of the dead... at least according to Greek mythology. If the deceased had a coin to pay the fare they were brought across and if they didn't, they were cursed to roam the banks of the Acheron for a hundred years. The ancient Greeks would place coins under the tongue of a corpse before burial so that they were prepared for their journey in the afterlife.

But back to the music... The Santic All Stars were the house musicians for Leonard "Santic" Chin and his Santic Records label. In the early 70's Chin worked most notably with Horace Andy and Augustus Pablo and was the man responsible for the classic various artists album Harder Shade Of Black originally released in 1971. "Hell Boat" is the flipside of the Augustus Pablo's tune "Pablo In Dub," a 7" on the Santic label. A nice, heavy, drum and bass laden tune, doctored up just right for the Spooktacular!

"Hell Boat" by The Santic All Stars
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track Two

Friday, October 01, 2010

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track One - Darkest Night

I can't believe I'm doing this again... but alas here we are in October and here we are with another Spooktacular. I have dug long and hard to uncover some more spooky Jamaican tunes for your listening pleasure and I hope they are well received. Initially I planned on presenting the Spooktacular in a different fashion this year but with the zero hour upon us I decided to just stick with the tried and true yet pain-in-the-ass-ingly labor intensive of doing a track a day. One tune will be posted for each weekday in October and once assembled in order you'll have the complete Halloween Spooktacular 2010. And if you don't feel like busying yourself with downloading individual track you can read along each day and wait until Saturday October 30th when I'll post the complete uncut mix for your downloading enjoyment.

We start off this year's Spooktacular with an introduction from the late Jean Shepherd... you know, the legendary radio raconteur that wrote In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash, the book that served as the basis for the holiday classic A Christmas Story. The poem he reads is appropriately called "Halloween" and was written by Marnie Pomeroy and it sets the perfect mood!

The first tune we're gonna hear is a wicked instrumental called, "Darkest Night" by James Eastwood and it comes from a 10" on the Pressure Sounds label that was originally produced by Herman Chin Loy in 1972. A nice skanking reggae rhythm coupled with some sinister sounding fuzzy guitar, effectively brings to mind imagery of a dark night and all the things that go bump within. Unfortunately I can't find any information on James Eastwood... hopefully someone can fill us in.

"Darkest Night" by James Eastwood
Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2010 - Track One