Monday, October 19, 2015

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2015 - Track Thirteen - St. Thomas Duppy

The subject of Copie the Font Hill Duppy is one that we have discussed many times here.  I have provided a link to the complete article "The Foul Mouthed Duppy of Font Hill" which appeared in The Jamaica Daily News on June 23, 1974 and thankfully provided by long-time reggae aficionado Luke Ehrlich way back in 2008.  To get a quick background for those who aren't familiar with the story I will revert back to the concise explanation Luke provided on Ebay (of all places) when he had offered up the 7" single of Count Lasher's "Font Hill Duppy" for sale on the site.
"Font Hill Duppy" is a humorous look at a sinister haunting that occurred in eastern Jamaica, in mid-summer of 1974. At Font Hill, a rural village in the parish of St. Thomas, elderly Mr. Isaac Brown and his wife Adina began experiencing alarming supernatural events in their house including unpleasant poltergeist activity. The ghost, known in Jamaica as a "duppy" or "jumbie", called himself Copie and spoke to the Browns, Font Hill townspeople and curiosity-seekers, never sparing use of the foulest language."
 So here we are in 2015 with yet another tune devoted to Jamaica's most infamous gutter-mouthed ghost.  I initially posted Lasher's "Font Hill Duppy" and three years later followed it up with Max Romeo's track "Copie Duppy" after a hard-fought battle to finally obtain the record.  Fast forward to this summer when again I'm on my yearly online quest to restock the duppy record box and I come across the single "St. Thomas Duppy" by Fitz Walker on the R&S Oney label.  I was completely psyched that I had uncovered another piece of the Copie puzzle but unfortunately the condition of the vinyl left a lot to be desired and I regretfully had to pass it up.   I dug some more, hitting up the usual haunts on the reggae record bookmarks on my browser and came up completely empty-handed  I spent many a morning in bed staring at the ceiling wondering how I could get a clean copy of "St. Thomas Duppy" to include in the 2015 Spooktacular.  And as fate would have it, in stepped Dave from Dave's Jukebox.  I had seen back in July of 2010 he had posted this record online and I approached him to see if he would be interested in selling it or at the least rip me an MP3 to use in the mix.  Dave responded quickly and though he wasn't in the market to sell this one he went through the trouble to fire me off a virtual copy via email!  Thanks Dave!

On a pretty badass melodica driven rhythm, Fitz Walker covers all the bases.  He starts by taking a jab at "iniquity workers" or practitioners of Obeah, who I believe he initially blames for releasing the Copie into being by messing with black magic.  He then succinctly covers the complete Font Hill duppy story...
"Don't you hear
What is going on
In the east
In St. Thomas
Duppy talking
And that man can hear
Duppy talking
To Mr. Brown, Miss Brown
People from all about
Went on the scene
To hear when Copie
Talk to Mr. Brown
People come from all about
Went up to Font Hill
To hear when Copie
Talk to Mr. Brown..."
Unfortunately I couldn't find any background info on Fitz Walker aside from the fact that he released a couple singles in the early 70s and may or may not be the same Fitzroy Walker who produced some digital dancehall in the late 80s but I soon found that Fitzroy Walker is a name that is not hard to find in Jamaica.  So to Fitz Walker, wherever you may be, thanks for another enjoyable piece of the Copie legend!

Fitz Walker - St. Thomas Duppy - 2015 Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2015 Track Thirteen

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