“How could I resist any artist who appears on his record jacket sporting fangs, dribbling blood and wearing what suspiciously like a Rat Fink hat on his head? How could anyone ignore a recorded tribute to Barnabas Collins, the vampyric horror host to a supremely tacky psychotronic TV spook hour called Dark Shadows? How could anyone not curl up into a laughing fit after hearing a line like, “Barney, chew your neck like Wrigley’s” come tumbling from the Ranger’s tangled tonsils? Reggae had suddenly decided to enjoy itself.” Edwin Pouncey 1984
After reading this write-up on the back cover of the 1984 Mango/Island compilation LP “Reggae Greats – DJ’s” how could I resist looking for this illusive album? It happened a few months later while on a bi-yearly record-buying trip to Philadelphia with my friend Nick nearly 20 years ago. I was cruising the stacks at 3rd Street Jazz in Philly and I caught a glimpse of the fangs and knew I had scored! I nearly yanked my arm out of its socket pulling it out.
Lone Ranger (born Anthony Waldron) began his career recording at Studio One and had a couple decent hits with “Love Bump” and “The Answer.” He was a top DJ for the then number one sound system Virgo Hi-Fi in 1980. Later he teamed up with Alvin “GG” Ranglin and his first release was what you see here… “Barnabas in Collins Wood.” The album was released on GG’s Wave label and Sly and Robbie and the Revolutionaries provided the rhythms.
Now as for content… with a novelty track like Barnabas Collins on this disc you’d expect the rest of the content to be more mainstream but Lone Ranger didn’t disappoint. Besides Barnabas Collins you also have “Annie Palmer” a chat about Montego Bay’s notorious White Witch of Rosehall, a tribute to everyone’s favorite movie monster “Frankinstine (sp)”, an extra terrestrial encounter on “U.F.O.” and finally a humorous but serious discussion of Black Magic in the track “Obeah Man.”
I know there have been a number of reggae tracks that deal with the topic of vampires, who serve merely as analogies for downpressers, but Lone Ranger’s “Barnabas Collins” presents the real deal… at least the corny bloodsucker that enthralled America’s daytime television audience in the 1960’s. Happy Halloween!
Lone Ranger - Barnabas Collins
Lone Ranger - Annie Palmer
Lone Ranger - Frankenstein
Lone Ranger - UFO
Lone Ranger - Obeah Man