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