Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2013 - Track Six - Mr. Brown

 Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the hell outta the original Mr. Brown, recorded by The Wailers in 1970 under Lee "Scratch" Perry's tutelage and with one of the most sinister sounding backing tracks ever put on record, but today's tune is pretty cool nonetheless!  But before we get to the listening part of today's post I'm going to take this opportunity to do a refresher on the back-story behind the music by quoting, with a couple factual corrections, from what I wrote here on Distinctly Jamaican Sounds in October of 2005...

"In 1969 or ’70 the Wailers who were working with Lee Perry at the time, caught wind of a strange story involving a John Crow, which is the Jamaican term for a buzzard. This "crow" was somehow given the name “Mr. Brown” and the story went that he had been observed traveling around Kingston on a coffin on its way to the cemetery. Days later the same buzzard, wearing a shirt and tie, was seen in a courtroom. The general populace was scared stiff thinking that the evil powers of obeah (or black magic) had been unleashed and had even gotten to the point that many were afraid to leave their houses at night. The story was even reported in the Jamaican newspaper the Daily Gleaner and added more fuel to the fire.

The lyrics were mostly written by Glen Adams, the keyboard player in Aston “Familyman” Barrett’s Hippy Boys. Max Romeo of “Wet Dream” and “War Inna Babylon” fame was the Hippy Boys’ vocalist but I digress… The Wailers thought the subject matter would be appropriate material under Lee Perry’s slightly psychedelic control and recorded it. It was originally released on 7” single and because Lee Perry sold the rights to all the material the Wailers recorded over that 2 year period it’s available on hundreds of Bob Marley “Greatest Hits” cassettes and CDs you can pick up at a local gas station near you."

So let's get to the music!  This version of Mr. Brown is ripped from the b-side of a 7" by Raheem DeVaughn & Ludacris called "Bulletproof" on the Pirate Records label, from France.  Bulletproof is nothing to write home about by the remix of Mr. Brown sounds pretty damn sweet! 

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Spooky indeed!