Saturday, April 16, 2016

Day 168 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Ferdie Nelson & Ivan Yap - Ska Down Jamaica Way (South Of The Border)

The producer of today's record, Phillip "Justin" Yap, was a true class-act in the heyday of unscrupulous and shady dealings behind the scenes of the Jamaican recording business.  Justin Yap was committed to paying musicians a fair price for their services and his legendary 18-hour recording session with the Skatalites in 1964, who he had paid more than double their usual going rate, resulted in Ska-Boo-Da-Ba which some consider to be the greatest ska album ever recorded.  Today we're going with one of Yap's productions and we're also gonna go with another "cover" or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a "reinterpretation."  "Ska Down Jamaica Way" was recorded by Ferdie Nelson and Ivan Yap circa 1965, with who I am assuming are the Skatalites doing the backing, and made available on a repressed 7" on the Top Deck label about 10 years ago. "South of the Border" was written in 1939 by Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr as a vehicle for famous singing cowboy Gene Autry for the film of the same name.  It was famously covered later by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby but instead of going "down Mexico way," Ferdie Nelson decided to bring us "Out of Jamaica down Kingston way - where the ska first began to play" and the results are glorious.  A nice upbeat number to wrap-up the week of ska here... enjoy!

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