Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 21 - The Duppy Conqueror

The time of reckoning has come…don’t try to run, there is no escape! We have reached the end of the line my friends! Prepare to feast your ears on the final ghastly and grotesque chapter in this month long morbid spook show! A song that is so evil and macabre you’ll wonder how and if you’ll ever live to see the dawn! Yes, it’s been a gruesome month in the Crypt of Jamaican Sounds and it all ends right here on this spot… in bloodcurdling mindbending digital aural clarity!! The frantic screams you are about to hear will be your own!!!!

Okay… that’s enough – I had to get that Crypt Keeper spiel out of my system! I should have saved that huge introduction for after I announced the last track... hopefully no one will be disappointed. The final track is "Duppy Conqueror" by the Wailers, produced by "Scratch" Perry and released on his Upsetter label in 1970. Most people are probably familiar with this song so I won’t go into much detail but for those who are new to reggae or just stopping by to get a taste of Jamaica this Halloween, a duppy is a ghost. I happened across a great page on the The National Library of Jamaica's website that features nice little definitions/explanations of a few of the better-known supernatural Jamaican myths and folklore. That is where I borrowed the image of the duppy from. Originally it appeared in a book called "Jamaica Superstitions; or the Obeah Book" from 1894.

I'm quite happy with how the final track turned out... I added a snippet from Orson Welles, of all people, and his closing comments from his 1938 radio broadcast of War Of The Worlds. I've listened to that broadcast once every October for as long as I can remember and I'm a big fan so I figured I'd combine the two. Orson never sounded so tight on such a great riddim. Enjoy!

Comments on the complete mix are welcome and highly anticipated!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 20 - Leo Graham's Voodooism

Leo Graham was originally a member of the harmony trio the Bleechers. The Bleechers cut a bunch of tracks for Lee Perry in the late 60’s and early 70’s and scored big with their hit song "Check Him Out" which happens to appear on numerous Scratch production compilations. "Check Him Out" served as a singing advertisement complete with directions, to a shop that Perry owned on Charles Street in Kingston. When the band split up Leo Graham remained with Perry at the Black Ark as a solo singer and continued to record with some minor success. Graham allegedly left the music business altogether at the dawn of the dancehall era in the early 80’s and hasn’t recorded since.

The next track in the Halloween Spooktacular is coming from the man Leo Graham and it's called "Voodooism" which was originally released as a 7" on the Black Art label in 1974. I’m sure you’ll agree that with the strong lyrics and the trademark Lee Perry sound this makes for an absolutely wicked track! I of course would kill to own any original Jamaican Upsetter vinyl but finances being what they are I’ve learned to just be satisfied when they’re eventually released on CD. This is the title track from a fantastic Scratch compilation on the Pressure Sounds label that I recommend highly!

Here it is… we’re only one away from the completed mix! To be honest with you I’m actually getting a little sad now that October is drawing to a close. Maybe I’ll just continue the Halloween mixes all year long and post a spooky song every day! I’m kidding!! This has been a lot of fun but it has also been as rough as holding down a second job. After Halloween I think I’m going to take some time off! See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 19 - It's No Hole... It's Your Grave!

I’ve never been a fan of watered down reggae. You know what I mean, that silky smooth, poppy, generic sounding crap that comes from big label productions? I often point my finger at these over-produced monstrosities as the main reason reggae doesn't get the respect it deserves from mainstream audiences. I also believe that a lot of the reggae released by non-Jamaican musicians sounds so stereotypically reggae that it scares away potential new fans and bores away seasoned listeners. Sadly, the majority of stuff that is released by bands in the United States meets either one or both of those criteria. I had just about given up hope of finding an American reggae band I could really like until this summer. At a used CD store I’ve been know to frequent I happened across a CD in the reggae section by a group called the Aggrolites, the album was appropriately titled "The Aggrolites." At first I was reluctant to give it a try when I saw that it was released by the American based Epitaph label but because there was nothing else worthwhile to sample I walked it over to the listening station, donned the headphones, popped it in the player and hit play being prepared to lunge for the eject button as soon as I heard that trademark horrid Americanized rhythm… but it never came! So to make a long story short, it was the only CD I bought that day! Okay now we’re gonna get back on topic with the Halloween music… and we will momentarily.

The Aggrolites are based in Southern California and the musicians all got their start playing in the punk, hardcore and ska scene. But don’t worry you wouldn’t know it… (not that there's anything wrong with these genres of music!) the sound is definitely authentic sounding late 60’s "skinhead" reggae and I highly recommend this CD to anyone who is a fan of that era. I read on the Epitaph website that the group’s name was a combination of Jamaican names; The Aggrovators and The Crystalites. I also learned that the band has played with Derrick Morgan and Prince Buster. Buster even remarked after their performance at 2003’s Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, "It reminded me of the old days, I can’t believe this young band from America could play my music just as good as the day it was recorded." That’s a hell of a compliment!

As you can imagine, after that tremendous build-up. the next song in the Halloween mix is courtesy of the Aggrolites. The song is called "Grave Digger" and the graveside dialogue at the top of the song (after Alfred Hitchcock’s introduction) was taken directly from the CD… I only embellished it with the background cemetery sounds, the actual digging which is heard in and out throughout the song and the little snippet about being buried alive from a classic 70's era horror record called "Sounds Of Terror." I think you’ll dig it… Muwuhahahahahahaha!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 18 - Frankenstein

Frankenstein, the story of the mad scientist that brought life to an inanimate monster of his own design, is probably the most recognizable movie monster that the world has ever known. The monster which Boris Karloff originally played in the 1931 James Whale classic is so iconographic that 70 plus years later the flat head, stitches and neck bolts are etched in our collective minds and still remain a popular Halloween costume for children whose great grandparents are probably too young to remember the original movie and obviously still too small to be allowed to even watch it on video. I know from experience because my 3-year-old son has been obsessing with Frankenstein for over a month and half now… I guess I only have myself to blame because I drew that cartoonish crayon representation of the famous creepy guy in a haunted house coloring book. Now when we’re in the car I have to recount the story of Frankenstein at least once a day and in order to keep the gory details at a minimum and make the story appropriate for him I’ve concocted a short G-rated explanation that seems to satisfy his curiosity. Of course he also wanted to dress up as Frank for trick or treating but after my mom went through all the trouble to make him a scarecrow costume so that he could go out with his cousins and little sister as the four main characters in the Wizard Of Oz it’s out of the question. My daughter is going as the Lion and I’ve reassured my son that next year he can go as Frankenstein.

Coming up next is the third and final track from Lone Ranger… at least for this Halloween. The track is “Frankinstine” on the Operation Radication riddim and like “Annie Palmer” and “Barnabas Collins” come from his album “Barnabas In Collins Wood.” I dedicate this one to my son and all the little Frankenstein’s that’ll be out roaming for treats next Tuesday. You’re keeping a Halloween institution alive and your parents should be very proud! I know I am!

Part 18 Download

This one is back at Rapidshare... unfortunately it looks like Savefile has gone all crazy now!

And by request I've uploaded parts 16 & 17 on Rapidshare for those who didn't get a chance to catch them on Savefile before it went down...
Parts 16 & 17

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 17 - 10 Till 12... The Bewitching Hour

Keeping it short today because time is limited... Lee Perry and the Upsetters released the album Return of Django on Trojan Records in 1969. It is in my opinion, one of the best early reggae albums that I have in my collection. One good track after another and this track in particular "Ten Till Twelve" tends to go well with the Halloween theme.

I've added the ususal creepy noises and it does serve as a good introduction to this final week of spooky music... the countdown has begun! Only 4 more tracks to go my friends... be sure to collect them all! Again Rapidshare is being nutty so this track is also available from Savefile!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 16 - Bobby Aitken And The Rocksteady Vampire

Sticking with the "undead" theme we’ve got going this week I proudly present the next track in our little Halloween project. The next tune is by Bobby Aitken and comes from a great various artists rocksteady compilation called "Bobby Aitken Presents Rock Steady Original And Red Hot 1966/67." Bobby of course was the brother of the late Laurel Aitken and was originally the leader of a group called the Carib Beats.

This track doesn’t specifically touch on supernatural spookiness per se… it actually deals with a love gone wrong and the vampire reference is used to personify an unfaithful woman who roams the street instead of staying home with her mate. It’s a great song and I’m sure you’ll agree that it fits right in with what we’ve been hearing this month.

Next week we’re gonna wrap up the mix with five more songs to put you in a Jamaican Halloween kinda mood. It’s amazing how fast this month has been flying by! Have a great weekend!

Part 16 Download

Rapidshare is saying that all of its drives are full right now so the hell with 'em, this link is through Savefile - hopefully it works without a problem!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 15 - Peter Tosh Encounters Dracula!

As Hollywood has done numerous times with Dracula… we’ll just think of today’s offering as a sequel! But this version of "Dracula" may go a little deeper than the simple title suggests. Peter Tosh was an outspoken critic of Jamaican politicians and policies and he suffered attacks at the hand of police and other assailants on numerous occasions after speaking his mind. And though these physical attacks resulted in stitches and broken bones they were mild compared to the war Tosh was waging against inconceivable supernatural evils that others couldn’t fathom.

I’m quoting from Roger Steffens 1986 interview/article "Rebel With A Cause" which is available in its entirety here. The second quote is an extremely concise article about Tosh that appears here at The Talking Drum.

"In the middle of the night, before daylight, I was attacked by evil forces, seen? Spiritual evil forces that cause my mouth to cease from function, cause my hands and legs to cease from moving. Is only my mind that was in function, and my two eyes. As close as four of my friends was to me, which was about 12 inches away, I could not tell a man nothing, or ask a man to do anything to help me; and I was on the brink of what you call "death." Seen? started with these three man here. Seen? Coming from the hospital I saw ghosts, three ghosts."

(Peter was taken to the hospital after an incident with a drunken man who attacked him with a bar stool left his hand severely lacerated. That night something very strange occurred.)

"…Is what they call duppies. Ghosts. 'Cause I can see them. Seen? I saw three of them. And I was the only person out of about 400 that saw them. And they become terrified because they don't like to know that people are, you know, interfering in their business. Seen?"

"The vampires which had been haunting Peter throughout his life finally caught up with him (when he was killed in his home on September 11th, 1987 by three intruders who supposedly were looking to rob him). In one interview he gave the year that he died he had this to say: "Vampires don't come out and bite your neck anymore. They cause...something destructive to happen that blood will spill and those invisible vampires will get their meals."

Pretty eerie stuff, but back to the music… Originally released in 1977 on Tosh’s own Intel-Diplo label, Dracula was the B-side version to the track appropriately called "Vampire." This song really hit me in 1992 when I first saw Nicholas Campbell's excellent Peter Tosh documentary
Stepping Razor: Red X. I’d heard the song before but when it was put in context with the shadowy images and ghostly whisper of Tosh’s own voice, taken from autobiographical mini-cassettes Tosh was recording around the time he was murdered, it gave me the creeps! To this day when I hear that wolf howl and that little drum roll just before the wicked bass line kicks in I get shivers up my spine. Not to mention that bloodcurdling moan/laugh provided by Bunny Wailer which if listened to at high volume will not only rattle the pictures off the walls but definitely put your nerves on edge.

Part 15 Download

Again... Comments are always welcome and appreciated.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 14 - Dracula By The Vulcans

Run for your lives, part 14 is upon us!! This is the first of two days of ghastly encounters with the menacing Count Dracula. The character that emanated from Irish author Bram Stoker's pen in 1897 has become such a part of our collective psyche that it's nearly impossible to imagine classic literature and in some respects life itself without his creepy influence. Without recounting the seemingly endless retelling of the original story in 100's of motion pictures, books and comics, Dracula is in more places than you probably realize! Without his influence, would the lavender toned Count Von Count teach kiddies to count on Sesame Street? Absolutely not! Would breakfast be the same without Count Chocula and his hypnotic eyes entrancing us from the back of the cereal box, enticing us to sample of the taboo chocolaty goodness within? No! Would reggae fans be able to live without the Vulcans "Dracula" taken from their album "Star Trek"? Well... probably. But this Dracula goes well in the mix and remains just wacky enough to set itself apart from a lot of the other tracks.

I discovered some interesting information about The Vulcans when researching this track. The Vulcans weren't an actual band but the name given to a group of studio musicians, headed by keyboarder Ken Elliott, by the Trojan Records production team. You see, Trojan wanted to capitalize on the easy listening craze which took hold in Britain during the early 70s, by creating music which featured Moog, Arp and other assorted analog synthesizers over strong reggae rhythms. An interesting concept and one that fits this season pretty well. Enjoy! More Dracula tomorrow!

Part 14 Download

Comments are always welcome and appreciated!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 13 - Night Of The Living Dead!!

Short and sweet today... Most of us are probably familiar with the classic/influential George Romero film, shot on a miniscule budget and released to horrified audiences in 1968 but... Are you prepared to witness the sadistic nightmarish terror when Scientist meets the Night Of The Living Dead inna combination style?

Inspired by one of the tracks that Jason over at Scar Stuff did for one of his masterful Halloween mixes... from the Scientist album "Rids the World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampire" and featuring a few of the news reports that appeared in the film... I present "Night Of The Living Dead!"

If you're into Halloween music and sound effects pay Jason's site a visit... you'll be blown away!

We're going to get in a undead mood for the next two songs so be prepared for some bone chilling Dracula vibes straight from the blood soaked Crypt Of Jamaican Sounds... tomorrow. It's odd, the closer we get to Halloween the more I'm willing to start speaking like an announcer on one of those b-movie trailers. :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 12 - Yellowman Versus The Evil Barnabas Collins

And now... the exciting conclusion as Winston "Yellowman" Foster battles the sinister Barnabas Collins in a struggle of near biblical proportions. Will good triumph over evil or will the undead challenger vanquish the DJ superstar? Stay tuned and hear!

Here it is... "Me Kill Barnie" or sometimes called "Death Of Barnabas" by King Yellowman. It was with this song that Yellowman grabbed the attention of fans in Jamaica and which helped him win the Tastee Talent Contest in Kingston, as the legend goes. It really was nothing more than a response to Lone Ranger's hit but it is so witty it's almost as good as the original... almost.

I've added a few effects to a couple "fight scenes" and they have been cracking me up at how well they go with the tune. I think stuck up against Barnabas these make a nice mix in themselves and the "I, Barnabas" sample at the end ties them up together nicely. I'd have to say, I was really pleased at how the Lone Ranger and Yellowman cuts went together and I hope you agree. Oh, the photo is obviously the cover from the Marvel comic "The Tomb Of Dracula" - I originally wanted to find a real photo of Abraham Van Helsing, portrayed by Christopher Lee, staking Dracula and wanted to Photoshop Yellowman's head on his body but my Photoshop skills are lacking and after about 5 hours of trying to get it right I said the hell with it!! Maybe next year!

Of note - We've got nine more tracks to go and I'm planning on wrapping them up by next week - just in time to have your entire "Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular" slapped together a couple days before Halloween!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 11 - Lone Ranger's Barnabas Collins

Barnabas Collins was America's favorite TV bloodsucker from 1966 until 1971, when Dark Shadows aired daily on ABC. Interestingly enough the soap opera began lacking in any supernatural content but when a ghost was written into an episode and proved to be popular the show's producer encouraged the writers to add more spookiness. As the story went, one of the characters was sent into the Collins' crypt in search of treasure and inadvertently unleashed the sleeping Barnabas into the modern world. Anyway, Barnabas discovers his reincarnated long lost love and spends the next four seasons lusting after her, professing his love, traveling back in time and all of the other usual crazy stuff that happens on a daily basis on daytime television.

Now I can't find any definitive written information about Dark Shadows in Jamaica but I "interviewed" my Jamaican friend Ingrid at work and she recalled that Dark Shadows used to air on the JBC late at night throughout the 70's. During this period JBC was the only television station on the island and a lot of their daily airtime was filled with older British and American programs and Ingrid remembered that before the station signed off on Saturday evenings they'd air two episodes of Dark Shadows. Thankfully that information helps explain why this "bizarre" American soap opera became public knowledge in Jamaica.

Anthony Waldron AKA Lone Ranger must have been a real TV fan... firstly because he took his stage name from the legendary Masked Man of black and white television fame and secondly because the song you're going to hear today pays hommage to ol' Barnabas. Regardless, this is probably one of my all-time favorite "rub-a-dub" tunes, bar none! This tune was recorded in 1979 by Alvin "GG" Ranglin and released in Jamaica on the GG label and internationally on Island records where it flew to the top of the reggae charts like a bloodthirsty vampire bat stuck in your hair. With a line like, "Barnie chew your neck like Wrigley's," I'd have been surprised if it hadn't?

Here is part 11 in our mix... complete with spoken word introduction courtesy of Jonathon Frid, who played Barnabas on the show, and borrowed from the track "I, Barnabas" on the Dark Shadow Soundtrack album which was released in 1969 and actually made it into the top 20 of the Billboard album chart. The usual creepy sounds and noises round the track out.

Now I'm leaving you with a real cliffhanger... tune in Monday to hear the exciting conclusion, when Yellowman kills Barnabas in cold blood right in front of your very ears! Now all I need to do is cue the cheesy soap opera organ!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 10 - The Flames "Scare Him"

Short and sweet today! I know this song is called "Scare Him" but when I think of being scared the shower scene from Psycho immediately comes to mind. In my opinion this single frame of film exemplifies what it means to be scared!

Anyway, up next in the mix is the song "Scare Him" courtesy of The Flames (yet another group who I can't find any information about and not to be confused with Winston Jarrett And The Righteous Flames) and it appeared on the Coxsone Dodd produced LP "Boss Reggae" which was released on the Pama label in 1969. This is a great early reggae track and its uptempo tempo helps to lighten the mood a bit after you've escaped from hell!

Now that we're half way through this experiment I need to warn you... you've got to keep up with all parts of this mix or once we're done the finished product is really gonna be outta whack! :-)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 9 - Tappa Zukie & The Revolutionaries Escape From Hell!!!

Time is tight today so I've got to be quick... Tappa Zukie produced the dub album "Escape From Hell" with Sly & Robbie and the Revolutionaries in 1977 and released it on his own Stars label. This is the title track from said LP... I just added the sounds of hell - lots of screaming, flames, rumbling, evil laughter, etc. This is one track that I didn't use an existing background from a Halloween sound effects album - it took about 6 tracks of audio to get it right but I kept it low so it wouldn't be too distracting! It's a great song with lots of horns courtesy of Deadly Headly, Vin Gordon and Bobby Ellis and with hell added I think it works well with this month's theme. Of note - I just discovered a discrepancy with the Trojan boxset "Dub Rarities" - they have this track attributed to the Musical Intimidators and after double checking the Zukie album I realized that this is in fact the same song. I've heard how Trojan has the reputation for changing the titles and artists on their compilations to make buyers feel as if they're getting the chance to hear some long lost tracks when in fact they are buying something that they might already have elsewhere. I originally entitled this post the Musical Intimidators' Escape From Hell but now I'm just a little wiser - glad I looked into it!

Artwork is "Last Judgement" courtesy of Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), a Dutch artist whose religious and biblical artwork achieved a surrealistic feel long before Salvador Dali. A 17th Century Dutch art historian described Bosch's paintings as "wondrous and strange fantasies... often less pleasant than gruesome to look at." You can view more of Bosch's works here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 8 - Lone Ranger And Annie Palmer "The White Witch of Rose Hall"

Instead of trying to paraphrase the story of Annie Palmer I decided to share in its entirety a concise retelling of the tale...

"The frightening tales about Annie Palmer are too numerous to mention and sometimes difficult to imagine.

Born Annie Mae Patterson, to an English mother and an Irish father it is said that her family moved to Haiti to practice witchcraft. Her parents died when she was 10 years old causing her nanny, who was a voodoo priestess, to adopt her and teach her the art of voodoo. Eight years later, her nanny died.

Annie came to Jamaica and met John Palmer, who owned the plantation at the time and they got married. After playing the role of wife for six years, she found out that she was partial owner to all his possessions so she poisoned him and became full owner of the estate.

From there, Annie used her power to her advantage, manipulating every man she admired and luring them into her demanding arms. Whether it was just for one night, or for whatever reason, Annie had countless affairs with slaves and English men.

Slaves were used for various reasons from tilling the soil on the plantation to "warming" Annie in her bedroom. After satisfying her in bed, Annie would show her gratitude by killing them so they could not reveal their affairs.

Slaves that were caught trying to run away from the plantation had their legs severed and they were thrown into pits inside the dungeon that were 16ft deep. There was no medical help offered so they would bleed to death amidst the cold darkness.

These pits are now packed with stones and converted into two washrooms and a gift shop standing between them.

Of all the slaves, Annie was most drawn to Takoo, the "Black Lover" as it is said that he practiced witchcraft. As a result of his skill, he gained freedom before all the other slaves.

Continuing her killing ways, Annie killed her second husband was about to find out about her affairs so she thought the only way to keep him from finding out was to kill him. She stabbed him repeatedly with a knife and poured hot oil in his ear to make sure he was dead.

The third husband was said to have had a drinking problem and he would hit her so one night she went into his room and strangled him.

The bodies of her husbands were then taken underground down to the waterfront where they were buried.

In those days, it wasn't customary for husbands to sleep with their wives so Annie and her husbands didn't share the same room. She killed her husbands in different rooms and blamed it on the common disease yellow fever. At that time, English men were dying like flies due to this sickness so it was easy for the deaths to be overlooked by the authorities.

Annie was accustomed to getting her own way or whatever she wanted. She was in an affair with the plantation's bookkeeper, Robert but he did not love her. His love was for Millicent who was a free native and Takoo's granddaughter.

Realizing that she could not get Robert's love, she decided to get Millicent out of the way so she cast a spell on her and she withered and died in nine days. This made Takoo upset and when the rebellion started on the plantation, he went up to Annie's room, made love to her and strangled her.

Takoo went missing and Ashman, Annie's overseer, found her powerless body when he went to her room to check on her. According to history, he killed Takoo within nine days of finding Annie's body..."
Taken from the article "The White Witch's Cruelty Still Haunts The Greathouse Of Rosehall" which originally appeared on the excellent Go-Local Jamaica website on February 17, 2004.

The eighth track in the Halloween mix is inspired by this famous tale and is called "Annie Palmer" by DJ Lone Ranger. This song appeared on his 1979 album "Barnabas In Collins Wood" which contained a fair amount of spooky content and had the scary cover to go with it. A couple more tracks from this album will also be making their appearance during this project - it is a wicked album! I only added some background effects and I think you'll enjoy it. Have a listen!

And while we're on the topic of Rosehall and ghost stories check out Junior Dub's Irie Reggae Music Page and his account of a ghost hunting expedition to Rosehall, complete with scarrry photos!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 7 - Voodoo Moon By Jackie Mittoo And The Soul Brothers

Straying away from the feel of the last track and almost straying beyond Jamaican music... next up in the mix is a tune by Jackie Mittoo And The Soul Brothers from the album called "Last Train To Skaville" (released on the Soul Jazz label) and as you'll notice it definitely has more of a Jazzy/Latin flavor than a ska feel. The album dates from the period 1965-1967 when the Soul Brothers, who got together in '65 when the Skatalites disbanded, and quickly became the number one band in Jamaica during the period when ska was transforming into rock steady. Original members of the Soul Brothers include not only Mittoo but Roland Alphonso, Johnny Moore and Lloyd Brevitt. Eventually the Soul Brothers would become the Soul Vendors in 1967 and aside from the Skatalites this would be the band that Mittoo would most often be associated with.

I've taken the cool, congo drum-driven, jazzy instrumental track "Voodoo Moon" and embellished it with a couple random pieces of zombie-related audio I've got floating around my hard drive. Hope you like it because I had a lot of fun putting this track together! The picture is that of a Haitian voodoo ritual and I think it works with the song. Don't get me wrong, I like gory horror movies as much as the next guy but the zombie pic I found on the net and was planning on using for this track was just a little too much for a mild-mannered reggae blog. :-)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 6 - Early B Ain't 'Fraid Of No Ghost!

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, the logo you see above should be instantly recognizable and just as familiar as the Nike swoosh or the Volkswagen beetle. Okay I might be exaggerating a little…but when Ghostbusters hit theatres in the summer of ’84 this little guy was everywhere. Yes, I’m sure a lot of us remember the blockbuster comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and one multi-story tall Marshmallow Man and I’ll admit that I even went trick or treating as a Ghostbuster for Halloween that year. Unfortunately what really dated the movie and spoiled a lot of young viewers memories of the film was the God awful theme song performed by Ray Parker Jr (I wouldn’t say he wrote it because I vaguely remember something about him getting sued for stealing the melody from Huey Lewis but this isn’t the forum for discussing that)… I’ll even admit I had the 45 but hey, I was only 13. Now the very prospect of ever having to hear that annoying call and response, "Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!" turns my stomach. If only Ivan Reitman had recruited DJ Doctor Earlando "Early B" Neil to perform the title song for the movie it might still be bearable today. Besides, the tale Early B weaves in this song is far superior than Parker’s, "An invisible man sleeping in your bed. Ow! Who you gonna call." With only a couple haunted house effects added I offer the sixth chapter.

Halloween Mix Part 5 - King Horror's Loch Ness Monster

Little is known about the artist who called himself King Horror. I have done extensive research online and in the stack of reggae reference books I've got on my bookshelf at home and I have yet to find anything even remotely resembling a biography. But I did come across a piece of information regarding King Horror in relation to Cuban born ska pioneer and producer Laurel Aitken. The information came from the 2003 book called "Young Gifted And Black - The Story Of Trojan Records" by Michael de Koningh and Laurence Cane-Honeysett and it says...

"On King Horror Koningh writes: "Horror was actually Laurel on some sides but not others (it largely depended on which company he was leasing the material to and who was around in the studio at the time)."

Wow, that makes the matter that much more intriguing. You can check out the complete article about Laurel Aitken by following this link. Nonetheless, the next track in the mix is "Loch Ness Monster" by King Horror and it is without a doubt one of my favorite tracks so far and the bloodcurdling screams Horror/Aitken provides are some of the best shrieks ever. Crank this one up in the car and you'll definitely have people next to you at the red light staring at you in horror/disbelief. I did little to sweeten this track except provide the Alfred Hitchcock introduction (from his album called "Music To Be Murdered By") and background sea monster sound effects. If you've never heard it before get ready for some scary reggae at its best! Oh, I almost forgot, the awesome Loch Ness Monster painting is by fantasy artist Boris Vallejo - check his stuff out here!

Part 5 Download

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 4 - The Wailers' Wanna Know Who... Is Mr. Brown

Quoting directly from Distinctly Jamaican Sounds October 25th, 2005...

"In 1969 or ’70 the Wailers who were working with Lee Perry at the time, caught wind of a strange story involving a crow. This crow was somehow given the name “Mr. Brown” and the story went that he had been observed traveling around Kingston on a coffin on its way to the cemetery. Days later the same crow, wearing a shirt and tie, was seen in a courtroom. The general populace was scared stiff thinking that the evil powers of obeah had been unleashed and had even gotten to the point that many were afraid to leave their houses at night. The story was even reported in the Jamaican newspaper the Daily Gleaner and added more fuel to the fire. The lyrics were mostly written by Glen Adams, the keyboard player in Aston “Familyman” Barrett’s Hippy Boys. Max Romeo of “Wet Dream” and “War Inna Babylon” fame was the Hippy Boys’ vocalist but I digress… The Wailers thought the subject matter would be appropriate material under Lee Perry’s slightly psychedelic control and recorded it. It was originally released on 7” single and because Lee Perry sold the rights to all the material the Wailers recorded over that 2 year period it’s available on hundreds of Bob Marley “Greatest Hits” cassettes and CDs you can pick up at a local gas station near you."

Damn that is some fine writing! Here is part four complete with crow calls and all...

Part 4 Download

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 3 - "Rising From the Echoing Corridors of Hell...

...An Awesome Being of the Supernatural - With Satanic Power of Sheer Dread. Chained Forever to a Slavery More Vile Than Any Before Endured..."

Do I even need to say anything else? Wow, what a tagline!

Coming up next in the mix is the 1973 tune "Blacula" performed by Derrick Harriott's studio band, the Crystalites. I can't find any information on which musicians made up the Crystalites but this is an absolutely wicked track! The spoken intro is creepy as it stands and I had little to add to make it any better. Besides, once the rhythm kicks in you're too busy diggin' the bass line to notice much else!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 2 - Lord Kitchener's Love In A Cemetery

I know Lord Kitchener (1922-2000) is Trinidadian and that this song is definitely classified as Calypso but its influence on Jamaican artists is evident if you take a listen to the track "Talk About Run" from Clint Eastwood & General Saint's 1981 album "Two Bad DJ." Eastwood and Saint borrowed many of the lyrics that Kitchener used decades before. Besides, this is such a fun tune I couldn't pass up using it.

Kitchener who was regarded as the "Grandmaster of Calypso" began performing in Trinidad in the 1930's. In 1948 he moved to England where he released a great wealth of material on the Parlophone, Melodisc and Lyragon labels, most of which was exported back to the Caribbean and even to West Africa where he had a considerable following. In 1963 he returned to Trinidad for Carnival and began a program to help hone the skills of up and coming Calypsonians.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Halloween Mix Part 1 - Scientist And Boris Karloff Inna Combination Style

Okay... here we go!! Starting off the mix we've got an awesome track "Blood On His Lips" by boy wonder/dub virtuoso Hopeton "Scientist" Brown from the album "Scientist Rids The World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampire." An all together Halloween appropriate album, you'll be hearing a couple more from this album but you've probably never heard Scientist alongside legendary screen scary man Boris Karloff. The Karloff track is from a ghost story album called "Tales Of The Frightened." Combined they make for a good introduction to this project... Enjoy!!

Part 1 Download