Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2016 - Track Eighteen - Zombieland

Bobby Bobson was part of the DC Soundclash crew for many years and was quite adept in knowing how to make the dance bubble and pop.  Currently he is teaching the youths of Baltimore to avoid the evils of Babylon and is one of the three selectas, sound-men, contributors and promoters along with Nick "Napthali Sound" Jones and my own Suburban Hi-Fi, for Reggae Spin Cycle held each month at Waverly Brewing Company here in Baltimore.  And because Bobby is such a "team player" he decided he would write-up two consecutive tracks in the 2016 Spooktacular, so Bobby... the blog is yours!  Thanks again man!

"Use of the word Zombie or zombies goes as far back as the 8th century.  The origin of the word itself many believe comes from the word “nzambi”, which in Kongo means “spirit of a dead person.”  The zombie trope also develops from both Louisiana Creole and Haitian Creole.  Zombie represents a person who died and was brought back to life without speech or free will.  Voodoo folklore contends that Voodoo priests were concerned with the study and application of black magic.  They possessed the ability to resurrect the deceased from an oral powder.  Some people even theorize that the Mayan civilization was destroyed by zombies.  Bones found in and around Mayan cities show signs of being violently ripped from their sockets, and chewed to bits on the spot.

These zombie stories from Haitan voodoo were sensationalized in 1929 in George Seabrook’s The Magic Island.  Hollywood quickly responded with a few movies around the voodoo creature, the Zombie.  Starting in 1932 with White Zombie this entry starred Bela Lugosi as voodoo priest “Murder” Legendre.  The 1932 film’s sequel was the inferior, slow-moving Revolt of the Zombies (1936), about a Cambodian sorcerer-priest with a secret formula to create hypnotized zombies. George Romero revolutionized the concept of zombies in the 1968, Night of the Living Dead. 2010 saw the TV adaptation of the Walking Dead.  Mostly what we know about zombies is a myth but some of it is based in fact.

In Jamaican music from the 50’s early Calypso and Mento make reference to these voodoo beings where the dead comes alive due to black magic (“Zombie Jamboree”). The zombie has been a timeless subject of Jamaican witch doctor culture (“Obeah”) that at times makes use of voodoo and black magic (Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry).

“Zombieland” showcases Brooklyn’s finest vintage reggae group the Frightnrs.  The band latest release on Daptone Records is charting on the Reggae Billboard charts. The album is a posthumous release for their lead singer Dan Klein who passed away months ago. He was diagnosed with a terminal disease but continued recording music while his health was quickly deteriorating.   The band was building up contemporary and mainstream success with their releases on Daptone.   Much can be said about how Dan Klein spent the final months of his life recording the band’s latest album.   For more information about Klein and the band click here.

This track was on their self-titled EP released June 2012. The Frghtnrs’ “Zombieland” starts off Klein pleading for people to think for themselves and use their senses. It opens with a skinhead reggae breakdown and transitions into sweet Studio 1-esque harmonies.  Klein, in almost a trance-like state, chants his lyrics.  The deep groove from the rhythm section and vintage organ sounds like these musicians are from “the Land of Wood and Water” not a sweaty basement in Brooklyn.  Victor Axelrod recorded the track with Agent Jay mixing, mastering, and engineered the track."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Just a heads up, the link for track 18 is unavailable. Thanks for all the great work!!