Friday, October 21, 2016

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2016 - Track Fifteen - The Ghost

Ethan Yukna is a big fan of reggae music and someone that I have known for years, even though we didn't realize that we actually knew each other in a roundabout way in what seems like a lifetime ago.  Ethan and his wife Jenn, have been the biggest supporters of Reggae Spin Cycle, our monthly deejay gigs at Waverly Brewing Company here in Baltimore, and when I put out a call for volunteers who would be willing to take a turn at guest blogging for the 2016 Spooktacular, I definitely wanted him to be included.  It took a bit of convincing but thankfully he agreed.  Ethan may be a fan of reggae and a varied array of musical genres but above all he is an enviably amazing Superdad!  It's obvious his sons are his very soul and in my life I have never met two happier boys!  Thanks again Ethan... see it wasn't so bad was it?

"In the mid-1970s Winston Rodney, aka Burning Spear, was one of the most outspoken champions of Marcus Garvey's Pan-Africanism vision, and Garvey is even regarded by some Rastafarian followers as a prophet. "Marcus Garvey," the title track from Burning Spear's third album (Marcus Garvey, 1975), implores people to heed Garvey's prophecies and lessons and try to live a good life. (It's interesting to note that "The Burning Spear" was a Kenyan military award and was the original the name of Rodney's group. In late 1976, Rodney split from the group and started using the name Burning Spear for himself alone) This was the first album the group recorded for Island Records and it was produced by Lawrence Lindo, aka Jack Ruby. Ruby was regarded as one of the best roots reggae producers of the 1970s, and he was known for his catchy, punctuating horn arrangements. The backing musicians, whom Ruby named the "Black Disciples," had been assembled from the Soul Syndicate and the Wailers. 

The album Garvey's Ghost was released some 3 months later and each track is a dub version of its correspondent song from the album Marcus Garvey. Even in its remixed form, which somewhat lightened Jack Ruby's deeply dread production, the riddim laid down by the Black Disciples on this album remains as fat as a trick-or-treaters bulging candy sack. Some believe that "dub" could derive from "duppy" a Jamaican patois word for ghost; appropriately enough, today's track, "The Ghost" is the dub version of the song "Marcus Garvey." But instead of dubbing straight from the track as most dub songs were made, "The Ghost" was instead replayed and made to design itself to be the official dub of the tune. The riddim remains, of course, but some of the more lively, even jazzy, horn melodies are replaced with more dark and ominous organ riffs redolent of a night spent in a Jamaican graveyard with Garvey's ghost and some of his duppy followers."

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