Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oscar Peterson 1925-2007

You wouldn't know it by looking at my blog but I am a fan of jazz and moments ago I just learned of the passing of an all-time great and one of my personal favorites on Sunday... this busy pre-Christmas weekend got in the way of my keeping in touch with the latest news.

Oscar Peterson was an unbelievable talent and a true master...

R.I.P. Oscar Peterson

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Complete Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007

Here it is in its entirety... the complete uncut Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007. With a running time of an hour and twenty five minutes I think you're going to have a hard time fitting it on one CDR but if you listen on your computer or on an MP3 player it shouldn't be an issue.

Best Wishes Everyone! See you in 2008!

The Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007

Just Added!

The Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007 - CD sized mix!

(I had to cut out five tracks but I burned off a couple copies yesterday and I finally got it to fit!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007 - Part 3

I've got 5 additional tunes to add some extra sparkle to your ears this Holiday season. And without a lot of fanfare I present to you the final installment of this years Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix!

Peter Broggs starts off the proceedings with his tune "Twelve Days Of Christmas" from the 1984 various artists album RAS Records Presents A Reggae Christmas. It's a good tune!

Next up is a bit of a ghetto reality check from Barrington Levy and his tune "Christmas Day" from his Junjo Lawes produced album from 1979 Shine Eye Gal on the Burning Sounds label. This song isn't exactly festive considering Levy recounts how he got robbed by some "rude boys" on Christmas Day but he does add an element of hope wishing that Jah may teach those who robbed him the error of their ways.

Up next is a ska-scorcher and one of my all-time favorite Jamaican Christmas tunes! It's the Wailers at Studio One with the song "Sound The Trumpet." This one is available on the 1992 Heartbeat release Reggae Christmas From Studio One and it never fails to put me in a festive mood!

The fourth track is also one of my favorites! Inna rub-a-dub style it's the man Little John and his tune from 1984 called "Save A Little For Christmas" from a 7" on the Junjo label. I'd never heard this song before this November and I was immediately rewarded when I picked up a nice clean copy at a fair price. Usually I'll find a song that I'd like to buy and spend the next year obsessively searching for it so I take it as a bonus that it came so easy! I hope you like it as much as I do!

The fifth and final track in the mix is taken from the King Jammy's Christmas Party album on the Jammy's label and it's by the man Ernest Wilson. A nice succinct way for me to personally express my warm wishes to all those who have been enjoying what I do here. It's called "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and its not the traditional version you'd expect.

Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix - Part 3

I will be upping the entire uncut mix this Friday so that you can try and cram it all on one CDR for your last minute gift giving needs. It does make for a fine Christmas gift and to think you got it here for free! :-)

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, a healthy and prosperous New Year, good tidings, God's blessings and lots of love.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007 - Part 2

Sorry for the delay... I wanted to get part 2 uploaded yesterday but I couldn't find the time. The closer we get to Christmas the more hectic things are getting... can you imagine?!

I hope every one is getting geared up for the Big Day and not blowing their retirement on keeping everyone happy. I've got 2 small kids and thankfully their shopping is done with minimal damage!

Let's get to the music! Starting off this portion of the mix we've got a festive one from Al and the Vibrators called simply "Merry Christmas" and comes to us from the various artists CD called A Jamaican Christmas. I think you'll like this one!

The second track is by the man Lloyd Lovindeer with a tune called "It's Christmas Time Again" from his mid-80's era album Caribbean Christmas Cheer on the TSOJ label. Surprisingly Lovindeer doesn't resort to his usual beloved comedic style anywhere in this track or on this album but nonetheless it's a pretty decent reggae Christmas album.

Next up is the keyboard king himself, Mr. Jackie Mittoo, and a moody piece called "Joy Joy" taken from the Studio One LP Christmas In Jamaica - Greeting From The Leading Stars Of JA. It starts off slow but once the rhythm kicks in you'll be guaranteed of a groovin' tune!

The next song is by the British reggae group The Cimarons and it's called "Holy Christmas." It comes to us from the various artists CD called The Reggae Christmas Collection on the Pulse label. Another smooth tune!

The DJ by the name of Ringo gives us our next Yuletide treat. From the 70's era Dobby Dobson Christmas LP called Sweet Christmas on the Top Ranking label it's a tune called appropriately "Christmas Time." This is also the album that I've been waiting for since mid-November so it's good to see it finally got here!!

Little Kirk is up next inna dancehall style with the tune "Gee Whiz" from the Black Solidarity/Tuff Gong release called Rub-A-Dub Christmas from 1985. A wicked tune with Kirk riding the timeless Taxi riddim. If you've spent any time on my blog you know that I'm a huge rub-a-dub era fan and this one definitely hits the spot!

Up next is one of reggae's finest vocal talents and a huge favorite of mine Half Pint and the song called "Christmas Vibes." This is the title track from another Studio One various artists Christmas release and it doesn't disappoint. Half Pint is voicing over another classic riddim - this time the one called Real Rock! Nice vibes!

Gregory "The Cool Ruler" Isaacs is up next with his take on the Irving Berlin holiday classic "White Christmas." Bing Crosby's 1942 version is probably my all-time favorite non-reggae Christmas song and Gregory's take is pretty high on my list of favorites as well. The song comes from the 1989 Various Artists album called Blue Mountain Christmas Party on the Blue Mountain label.

Following up "White Christmas" is a track that works well with the Christmas season though it isn't specifically a Christmas song. It's called "Winter World Of Love" and comes to us from John Holt's 1977 release on the Trojan label called 3000 Volts Of Holt. I put this song, originally written and sung by Engelbert Humperdinck of all people, in the same category as "Baby It's Cold Outside" and "Winter Wonderland"... romantic and wintry with no real mention of the actual holiday.

Finally we wrap up this portion of the mix with the sweet sounds of Sugar Minott from the aforementioned A Jamaican Christmas compilation and the song called "Christmas Jamboree." The tune was originally released by Coxsone's Studio One as a single in 1977 which I have but doesn't sound too good - so I took the cleaner CD version. The B-side is also pretty wicked but the quality isn't blogable.

Stay tuned for next weeks final 5 tracks - there are some good tunes rounding out this year's mix!

Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007 - Part 2

And as always... comments are appreciated!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007 - Part 1

Here we go again... it's Christmas time and the goose is getting fat and all that jazz. Now it's time to get ready for some festive Jamaican Christmas tunes to liven up your Yuletide season! If you were here last December you'll know what to expect and if you're new I think you'll enjoy what I've put together for you. 10 songs today, 25 in total, that'll add some Caribbean spice to the bland diet of tired holiday tunes that we get force fed every year once December rolls around. I could go on and complain about how the retailers throw Christmas in our faces sooner and sooner each year but I won't... I'm keeping it festive!

So without further ado let's get to the Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix 2007!

We start off this year's festivities with Jacob Miller, not to be confused with Dickens' Jacob Marley, proclaiming his one wish to Santa Claus. I'm not going to tell you what that is but if you know Miller you've probably already guessed. The song is called appropriately, "All I Want For Ismas," and comes from the best reggae Christmas album ever produced Natty Christmas.

We follow that up with Horace Andy and his tune "Christmas Time" which comes to us from a various artists compilation called A Jamaican Christmas.

The third tune is a "mash-up" of sorts - the Aggrovators dub version of Johnny Clarke's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" combined with an early 1960's kiddie record adaptation of the no budget "holiday classic" film Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. I put this together last year and was able to condense the entire 20 minute read-along story into the 3:00 dub track. Definitely wacky but I think you'll dig it.

The fourth track is courtesy of the Kingstonians, a song from 1967 called "Merry Christmas" and taken from the essential Trojan Christmas Box Set - it's a good one.

Following that up we take a turn for the digital and hear a King Jammy's produced tune from Cocoa Tea on the Kuff riddim called, "Please Come For Christmas." This one come from the album Christmas Party from 1989 on the Jammys Records label.

, of all people, follows up Cocoa Tea's pleasant musings with a "grinchy" reality check. His tune is called "Postpone Christmas" and comes from the 1985 various artists album High Times All-Star Explosion on the High Times label. I have been looking for this song for years and thanks to the miracle of the internet I was finally able to track it down at the end of October! The song is not thematically keeping with the rest of the tunes but I think Muta's perspective helps make this mix a little more well-rounded.

Taking a trip to Studio One for the next tune... Brent Dowe gives us "Christmas In Jamaica" from the excellent 1992 CD compilation Reggae Christmas From Studio One on the Heartbeat label.

Up next is a single from 1976 on the Wild Flowers label from the man named Steve Golding and it's called "Strictly Rock Christmas." Golding wasn't known for his vocals but more for his work behind the scenes in the late 70's and throughout the 8o's by providing guitar work for albums by Rita Marley and Peter Tosh, to name a couple.

The ninth song in this mix is by Kashief Lindo and though it's more modern than most the stuff you'll hear on the blog, it's a great rendition of a beautiful song originally recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1967 called "Someday At Christmas." This song always brings tears to my eyes no matter who is singing it and Lindo's take doesn't disappoint. It comes from a 2005 various artists set called The Reggae Christmas Collection on the Pulse label.

Finally the last track, in this part of the mix that is, is a ska tune from 1963 by Frank Cosmo called simply "Merry Christmas." It is also available on the aforementioned Trojan set.

Give part 1 a listen and let me know what you think! Part 2 will follow next week!

Distinctly Jamaican Sound Christmas Mix 2007 Part 1

700 downloads so far and only 6 comments? Come on people show some love... leave a thank you at least.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Is Coming And So Is The Christmas Mix 2007

Don't let the recent scarcity of posts scare you off... I've been hard at work on Ebay, Ernie B's and various other record sellers on the net compiling some new tunes to give your Christmas season a big of "island spice" so to speak. I'm taking the time out today, on my birthday no less, to let everyone know that the mix is in the works and you should expect to see the first chunk of 10 songs sometime next week.

I also wanted to take this space and vent about sellers on Ebay who can't deliver items you've purchased in a reasonable time frame. I won an auction for one album on November 12th and as of 1:00 this afternoon on November 30th, it still hasn't arrived at my door! I bought a couple albums from a guy in Japan a week later and received them earlier this week! This guy is in New York state... I could have walked there and picked them up by the time he gets off his ass and drops it off at the post office! I've been trying to work around the 2 tunes that are enroute but I'm getting pissed that I haven't been able to rip them and cram them into their slots. Oh well, I guess I could pick 2 other songs but I'm holding out hope for a Yuletide miracle with the turtle-paced U.S. Postal Service!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

For those outside North America who are unfamiliar... the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow is probably the purest and heartfelt of all we celebrate. A holiday devoid of outside commercialism and solely intent on serving as a day for us to pause and reflect on the blessings we have in the company of those we love, all the while stuffing ourselves with our traditional Thanksgiving feasts. I on the other hand have got to work again, for the 11th year in a row, but that's another issue that we won't get into today.

I sincerely recognize the blessings in my life and I thank God on a daily basis for what he has given me - a roof over my head, food, a wife and two fantastic kids... I couldn't ask for more, though I sometimes have to stop myself from lusting for things that are out of my reach. I'm working on that.

Outside of gorging on turkey and sweet potato or pumpkin pie... (I prefer the latter though there are those who can actually make a clear distinction between the similar flavors. They will also proclaim their yam based desert as the champion of holiday confections and are perfectly willing to put their lives on the line to defend its honor, but that too is another issue)... Thanksgiving is also the time of year that a lot of good hearted people recognize those who are less fortunate and for me the cyclone in Bangladesh is what's weighing heavily on my mind this year. Now I'm not one to get political or outwardly vocal about social causes but, for Thanksgiving this year I've made a donation to UNICEF because as news headlines have reported, nearly half of those affected by this natural disaster are children with an estimated 400,000 under the age of 5. I have a weak spot for children because of their understandable inability to fend for themselves and their sadly unfortunate vulnerabilities in times of need.

But enough about that... I know you don't stop by here to listen to me plug humanitarian organizations or listen to my preaching, you come here for Jamaican music and that's what you're gonna get today. A mix of songs that recognize the need to give thanks... something we should all take time to do every now and then, no matter where we're from or what we believe.

Here's the simple tracklisting...

1. Jimmy London - Thank The Lord
2. The Skatalites - Give Thanks
3. Little John - Thanks & Praise
4. Jackie Mittoo - Be Thankful
5. The Wailers - Thanks You Lord
6. Brigadier Jerry - Give Thanks And Praise
7. Tony Curtis - Jah I Thank You
8. Delroy Butler - Give Thanks
9. Leroy Smart - Give Thanks & Praise
10. The Silvertones - Be Thankful
11. Barry Brown - Give Thanks And Praise
12. Johnnie Clarke - Give Thanks
13. Prince Buster - Thanksgiving
14. Sylford Walker - Give Thanks And Praise To Jah
15. Gregory Isaacs - Thank You
16. Michael Prophet - Give Thanks
17. Horace Andy - Thank You Lord
18. Rod Taylor - Give Thanks And Praise
19. Garnett Silk - Thank You, Jah
20. Israel Vibration - Give Thanks And Praise

...perfect mellow listening for the 3 to 12 hours in the car, waiting for the holiday traffic to move, on your way to dinner at Grandmother's house.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

General Echo's Cutting Us Some Slack

Now that Halloween is over and I've taken sufficient time off I figured it's about time to get off my lazy ass and get back to blogging and boy do I have a treat for you! We're going to take a slight right turn from the usual roots and culture lyrics I try to present here and get a little slack, or vulgar and or risque to those who are unfamiliar with the term. Today I'm featuring a mix of tunes from one of the most talented DJ's to ever pick up a microphone and though some may find his overt sexual themes a little harsh or inappropriate, his talent in delivering them actually transcends the subject matter.

General Echo AKA Ranking Slackness was born Earl Anthony Robinson on August 12, 1955 and because time is tight today I'll defer to the Guinness Who's Who Of Reggae to provide us with some background... hey c'mon you can't expect me to jump back in with both feet, we've got Christmas coming and I've got my work cut out for me putting together this years Jamaican Christmas Mix 2007! But I digress...

"Echo was one of the first to challenge the predominantly 'cultural' approach of the majority of mid to late 70's DJs, and his influence on the upcoming DJs who made it big in the 80s was profound. He was one of the first DJs to be heard and fully appreciated on yard tapes as he tore up Jamaica on his own Echo Tone Hi-Fi set (he initially made a name for himself by chatting for the Gemini, Stereophonic and Ray Symbolic Sound Systems) and his preference for slack lyrics, particularly his timing and tone of voice, were very popular and widely imitated. Echo felt no compunction about stopping the music altogether if the vibes were right in order to tell a joke or two - a facet which endeared him even more to his followers."

On November 22, 1980 the Kingston police force stopped a car General Echo was riding in and opened fire, killing him and two of his Echo Tone Hi-Fi crew. The cops never offered a decent explanation of why the shooting occurred but because of their, if you'll excuse my language for a word, fucking itchy trigger fingers the world was robbed of a talent who hadn't even begun to fully flourish.

Now this mix isn't quite as long as you've probably come to expect here but it's nearly an hour... besides I wanted to save some of the General Echo for the Culture Versus Slackness or Good Versus Evil rub-a-dub clash that I'm putting together for 2008. Here's what you're gonna hear...

First up in the mix is the song "Titanic" which originally appeared on Echo's 1979 album Rocking & Swing on the Manzie label but comes to us today from the 2007 CD release Teacher Fe Di Class on Steve Barrow's new Equalizer label. I of course went with this version because it's a lot cleaner than the nearly 30 year old vinyl. Second we have the tune "Answer The Telephone" from the aforementioned Rocking and Swing LP... it is also available on the Teacher Fe Di Class release but I didn't to mix it up a little. The third tune is borrowed from a 1980 12" single on the Cha Cha label called "Sister Sue" and features the sweet vocals of the man called Madoo. Next up is "Angelina" from the 1978 LP called People Are You Ready on the Ballistic label. The odd thing about this album is that it is credited to Prince Mohammed on the sleeve and on the label but it only features one song actually performed by the Prince. Now this is where things start to take a turn for the blatantly slack... "Bathroom Sex" from the 1980 Greensleeves LP 12 Inches Of Pleasure produced by my main man Henry "Junjo" Lawes. I'll leave the subject matter to your ears. Echo's AKA Ranking Slackness gives us the sixth tune in our mix. This one is called "Give Me One Of Your Gal Friends" from the Winston Riley production on the Techniques label called simply the Slackest LP. Going back to the Teacher Fe De Class CD for better sound, and also originally appearing on the Rocking and Swing LP is the song "Foxy Mama." I love this tune, Echo's delivery is masterful! "Africa Rocker" from the Prince Mohammed credited LP People Are You Ready is the eighth track in the mix. Up next is a 12" single on the J&M label called "Occupation" followed up by a wicked version that I think you'll dig... I played around with some effects on this so please forgive me if I went overboard. We hop back to the Rocking & Swing LP for tenth track and a tune called "Self Praise." Finally we wrap up the mix with another 12" this one is one of General Echo's biggest tunes, a tribute to martial arts superstar Bruce Lee called "Drunken Master" and the dub version "Round The World" recorded by George Phang on the Island label.

I've always wanted to be a bad ass and use a parental advisory label and now I've got my chance.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Complete Jamaican Halloween Mix 2007

The big day has arrived! I want to thank everyone who gave me all the positive feedback and hopefully now that you've all got the entire mix on your hard drive I'll be hearing more... what's that you say? You missed track 12 & 23? Well no need to despair... here is my little Halloween treat to those who may have missed something or joined us late and due to real life concerns were unable to download each individual track and even to those who'd prefer to hear the Spooktacular in all of its unedited glory...

The Complete Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2007

Last year I was able to put together a five song add-on mix as a final holiday offering but because of the insane demands of my full-time job I wasn't able to get one done this year. So instead... I have upped my Non-Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2007 for your listening pleasure or if you're exclusively a fan of Jamaican music, your displeasure. You'd never know it by reading this blog but I actually do have musical interests outside of the Caribbean and this mix should prove it. The mix is done in the same style as the Jamaican Spooktacular with lots of layered sound effects, movie clips, Halloween record snippets, etc. but aside from 2 tracks it's decidedly Non-Jamaican.

The Complete Non-Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2007

Give it a listen and read on for the tracklisting

1. The Ghastly Ones – Dr. Diablo
2. Big Bee Kornegay – At The House Of Frankenstein
3. Billy Strange – Theme From The Munsters
4. Gein & The Graverobbers – The Haunted House
5. The Surfaris – Jack The Ripper
6. Harvey Midnight - Denny Vs. Disney – Grim Grinning Ghostly Voodoo Dreams
7. Gene Moss & The Monsters – Drac The Knife
8. Big Ray & The Futuras – Horrorscope
9. Griz Green – Jam At The Mortuary
10. The Gravestone Four – Rigor Mortis
11. Southern Culture On The Skids – Werewolf
12. The Upsetters – The Wolfman
13. Fifty Foot Combo – It’s Alive
14. Los Plantronics – Evil Tiki
15. Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos – Hearse With A Curse
16. Bobby “Boris” Pickett – Monster Motion
17. HorrorPops – Walk Like A Zombie
18. The Krontjong Devils – Twilight Zone
19. Cult Of The Psychic Fetus – Zombie Waltz
20. The Gravediggers – The Witch
21. Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Frankenstein Ska
22. Leroy Bowman – Graveyard
23. Zacherle – Happy Halloween

Of note... track six is courtesy of fellow blogger Harvey Midnight and his delightful mash-up of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion and the late great exotica pioneer Martin Denny. One of the best Halloween tracks I've heard in years!

Enjoy! And... Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 22 - The Cool Ghoul Meets The Chuckles

Muhahahahaha! We've reached the end of the line kiddies, prepare to feast your ears on the ghastly, ghoulish delights of the final morbid melody in our Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2007. Your blood will run cold as a celebrated creepshow host rides an equally bone chilling reggae track and I believe it'll wrap up this season pretty succinctly. So listen... if you dare!

The frightening figure you see on the right is John Zacherle AKA The Cool Ghoul (born 1918) one, if not the most, famous of the late night television horror hosts. Zacherle started his career as a stage actor in the early 50's after being discharged from the army after World War II. He eventually began appearing in small bit rolls in television westerns and when Universal Studios announced that it was releasing its classic & b grade horror films of the 30's and 40's for broadcast, which the studio had labeled Shock Theatre, Zacherle auditioned to be the wacky host for the movies on WCAU in Philadelphia.

Quoting from his official website...

Shock Theatre debuted in September of 1957 with Zach appearing as Roland, a crazy character who lived in a crypt. Charlie Vanda, the president of WCAU came up with the name and as Zach is quick to point out, the accent was on the second syllable -- Ro-LAND. Roland had an assistant named Igor, and his wife lived in a coffin. The wife was referred to as "my dear" and occasionally Roland would make her day with a well-placed thrust of a wooden stake. (The stake was actually driven into a bucket of dirt). Other times he would join her in the coffin while watching the evening's film with the audience. Another character was Gasport, Roland's son who hung formlessly from the wall in a burlap bag and moaned...

Roland opened each program by walking down the staircase and then reciting some little bits of info in a ghoulish voice. People who were regular Roland followers have said that Zacherle's performance at WCAU was usually more gory than broadcasts on WABC or WOR. For example, he would occasionally carry a basket down the stairs with him and reveal to the viewers that it contained a severed head complete dripping blood, which was actually, chocolate syrup.

...Originally, the program was aired in the 11:15 late night movie slot on Monday and Tuesday. However, the show was popular not only among adults but among children as well. Therefore, the program was moved to Friday and Saturday and Roland's popularity increased in leaps and bounds. At one point, there were in excess of 800 Roland Fan clubs in Philadelphia and kids could be spotted all over the city wearing large black buttons that said "Roland" or "l like Igor." Zach was even the subject of a feature article in the August 16, 1958, issue of Saturday Evening Post called "T.V.'s Midnight Madness."

... One of the more famous incidents at WCAU was the open house held at the studio, so that, all of Roland's fans could meet their hero. The executives at the station expected 1200-1300 people but realized that as many as 2,000 might show up. In actuality, 14,000 people showed up, stopping traffic throughout Philadelphia and damaging the WCAU facility. Needless to say, WCAU executives vowed to never hold another!"

Well to make a long story short, Zacherley, as he was then known after he left WCAU and went on to work as horror host at WABC, did it all. He appeared in a movie in 1957, recorded crazy horror themed records where he half-sang half-recited the lyrics, wrote introductions for a series of ghost story paperbacks, ran for President (though not seriously), was a radio host... I could go on but I think you get the picture.

The poem featured on this track is called "Happy Halloween" and it's taken from a Halloween various artists CD produced by Rob Zombie and was released by his Zombie A G0-Go Records called Halloween Hootenanny. Zach does two recitations on the album and even teams up with the group Southern Culture On The Skids for a wacky tune called "Sinister Purpose."

The spooky reggae track that the Cool Ghoul is riding is by Keith Hudson's studio band The Chuckles and its called "Darkest Night Version." It comes from the 2004 Trojan double CD set called The Hudson Affair which features music originally recorded and released in the 70's. Sadly, not much is written about the Chuckles so I can't give you any real information about who was in the group but the track speaks for itself. It's the perfect combination of title and sound - it just sound sinister.

So before I spend the rest of the afternoon writing this post I'll just give you the link...

Track 22

Check back tomorrow for one last treat before the ghosts and goblins come out to play.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 21 - Peter Tosh's Vampire

We're nearing the end... the big day is only 2 days away and here we are with the second to last track. This one is "Vampire" and comes from Peter Tosh's final album No Nuclear War on EMI. To be honest with you this wasn't the version of "Vampire" that I wanted to include but I've spent nearly a year searching for the 1977 Intel Diplo single with "Dracula" on the flip side with no avail. It's gotten to be a morning ritual... get up, make the kids breakfast and do an Ebay search for Peter Tosh Vampire, see nothing available, then get back to the rest of my day. I know it was also repressed on the Shock label and that one has been just as illusive. But anyway, this version does hold some significance when it came to my initial idea of compiling a reggae Halloween mix and though Tosh's bloodsucker is also of the real life downpressor variety, the spooky wolf howling, chains and screaming woman opened my eyes nearly 20 years ago that there might be more Jamaican music following a similar scary theme. I have always envisioned "Vampire" playing as the end credits roll in a Caribbean based, good versus evil vampire film, that's yet to be written. I'll get to work on that as soon as I get the time.

We discussed how Peter Tosh had been fighting vampires in the final years of his life last October. You can click here to read my post from October 19th, 2006. There was also an episode where Tosh claimed he was held down by evil spirits and was unable to move and only after he invoked the power of the word "Bumboclaat" was he able to free himself. You see in Jamaica the word Bumboclaat is one of the worst expletives you can mutter... it's along the lines of vulgarities go like mother ----er, which has kind of lost its edge since it's been embraced by a few popular hip-hop artists and used ad nauseam but is still considered highly offensive in other circles. You can hear Tosh recounting how the cuss word saved him from the forces of evil by clicking here... it's a bit of an interview borrowed from the JAD Records CD I Am That I Am.

See you tomorrow!

Track 21

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 20 - Woman Ghost Fool Man Inna Mento Style

We've reached the final Friday in this year's creepy countdown and it's a good one. I still have two songs left in the mix that'll be posted on Monday and Tuesday and on Wednesday, Halloween, a treat for all those who have been sticking around this month. But anyway... we'll get to that when the time comes.

Track 20 is a departure from the reggae sounds we've been hearing rather consistently throughout the mix. This one is called "Woman Ghost Fool Man" and it's a mento tune recorded by Alert Bedasse and Chin's Calypso Sextet, circa 1957 and originally released as a 78 RPM single by Ivan Chin and it makes its way to the mix via the CD Chin's Calypso Sextet CD 5.

Ivan Chin ran a radio repair service out of his shop at 48 Church Street in Kingston and started recording
mento originally as a way to make a little extra money. And to hear the rest of Ivan's story, which is interesting in itself, we defer to his personal recollections which originally appeared when his entire catalog of music was self-released on CD in 2004 and available to read in its entirety from Michael Garnice's superb Mento Music website.

"...the floor was concrete and the ceiling Gypsum. There were no (sound) acoustic rooms. We rehearsed and recorded in a section of the store at nights, after the store was closed.

I discovered Everard Williams and Alert Bedasse in 1955 after they recorded Night Food, I invited them along with their small Quintet to record exclusively for me. I then changed the name from Calypso Quintet to Chin's Calypso Sextet.

My recording machine used a cutting needle to cut groves into 78 RPM 10 inch vinyl resin discs. at that time 45s and LPs were not yet invented. The microphones I used were the large old ribbon types, RCA and Shure, they were very good, in those days there were no cassette, reel to reel, or eight track recorders, ceramic or crystal microphones, available in Jamaica. We were just leaving the gramophone behind, to play a 78 record in those early days on a Gramophone, you had to wind it up with a crank handle, then put a heavy metal head with a steel needle, which you put into it, on to the record.

The band consisted of a rumba box a bamboo saxophone, a Bamboo Flute a Banjo, a guitar, a floor bass guitar with four strings, a maracas and two heavy sticks called clave, which they knock together. All the instruments were made in Jamaica with local wood, bamboo and other things.

Bedasse was the song composer and singer, Williams was the lyrics composer, Williams also played the maracas and sticks as extra duty in the band, the saxophone player played the bamboo sax, and the bamboo flute, Bedasse played his guitar.

Most of my records were sent to Decca in England for mastering and pressing, some were done by the late Ken Khouri of the then Federal Records Ltd., some of my records went to Melodisc and marketed through Kalypso."

"Woman Ghost Fool Man" is the story of a man who does nothing but complain about the women in Kingston. One night he sees a tall, well dressed girl in white and for once instead of griping he hopes to get the chance to meet her so he follows her home... to the cemetery gate. The horrified man suddenly realizes he's been chasing a ghost! Mwuhahahahahahaha! See you Monday - have a great weekend!

Track 20

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 19 - Ghost Dance

Taking the cue from a clip of audio from The Uninvited, one of my favorite haunted house films, we jump right in to the next song in the mix. And though the audio from the movie has very little to do with the music I thought it would serve as a nice segue. Today's terrorific tune comes to us from Cecil Bustamante Campbell... or Prince Buster as he's better known. It's called "Ghost Dance" and is a recitation of his letter to the dead where he ponders the question, "how is the music down there in bone yard?" Now I'm not really a Prince Buster afficianado and I'm not really versed in this era's sound systems so I can't tell if Buster is actually speaking praises to the music men that came before or if he's ridiculing the sound systems his own music "killed." Nonetheless it's a clever song and there is one line that has always alarmed me... "I hear they can't get any Red Stripe beer to sell at the dance at night." Oh the horror!! If that's what it's like in the afterworld then I'm definitely not going!

"Ghost Dance" is taken from a 1993 Prince Buster greatest hits CD called appropriately FABulous Greatest Hits on the Sequel label.

Now this is the space where I usually do a little bio on the artist but, I'm running late today so I won't be able to get to it... work has been kicking my ass this week! See you tomorrow!

Track 19

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 18 - Elroy Bailey's Moving Creatures

Run for your lives! The 18th installment in our spooky series walks among us! Keeping it short today... the next track comes to us from bass player Elroy Bailey, often known as Ras Elroy, and his 1979 release called Red Hot Dub on the Burning Vibrations label. This is the only album Bailey ever released and like "Moving Creatures," which you're about to hear, the rest of the album follows in a similar fashion that makes for some mellow listening. And though "Moving Creatures" does a decent enough job of creating the impression they're in the midst of something horrifying lurking right outside your moonlit window, I have added some appropriate sound effects for accentuation.

On the other hand since I've never seen the film and judging by some of the reviews I've read, The Creature Walks Among Us, is nowhere near as effective as Ras Elroy's tune in eliciting thrills and chills. The third sequel to the classic Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) was released in 1956 and was the only "Creature" film not shown in 3-D. Personally, it sounds like this one might be right up my alley... a wild beast terrorizing and rampaging through the streets of San Francisco leaving destruction in its path kind of like a man-sized Godzilla! It sounds like perfect Halloween viewing so how could it be all bad?

Track 18

How about leaving a comment if you've been diggin' what you've been hearing... it'll make my day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 17 - Doctor Jekyll

We're on to the next tune in our little Spooktacular and this one is straight from the mind of Robert Louis Stevenson and his 1886 novella The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. To quote from Wikipedia, "The work is known for its vivid portrayal of the psychopathology of a split personality; in mainstream culture the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" has come to signify wild or bipolar behavior." The story became so popular that a stage adaptation followed in Boston the next year and went on to London where it ran for the next 20 years. Eventually, when technology caught up that is, 3 films appeared in the silent era alone. Two American versions debuted in 1912 and 1920 and a German film named Der Januskopf, or "The Janus-Head," Janus being a Roman God usually depicted with two faces, also in 1920. The sad thing about Der Januskopf is that the film has been lost and with it the performance of Bela Lugosi, in one of his earliest films, playing the roll of Dr. Jekyll's butler. The poster you see on the right was for director Rouben Mamoulian's 1931 film that many regard as the classic cinematic adaptation of Stevenson's work. I could go on for the next three hours recapping all the movies that followed the storyline but I think I'll stop right there and get to the music.

Dave Barker (born David Crooks, 1948) was raised by his grandparents and uncles in Jamaica when his mother moved to England in 1952. Eventually Barker would hone his voice and start a singing career, at one time serving as a temporary replacement for Pat Kelly when he left the Techniques, that was until he met Lee "Scratch" Perry in 1969. Perry encouraged Barker to abandon his tenor and to exclusively perform using his American-styled radio DJ "shtick" that was garnering him more attention anyway. Barker teamed up with veteran organist Ansel Collins and their 1971 single "Double Barrel" topped the charts in London and miraculously just missed the top 20 in the U.S. Dave and Ansel Collins went on to record an album originally called Heavy Heavy Monsters Sound (and repackaged in the 90's on CD by RAS Records as Double Barrel) which did quite well and to this day remains just as wacky and upbeat as the day it was recorded.

The Doctor Jekyll track we're going to hear today is from the Trojan Mod Reggae Volume 2 CD boxset and features Barker performing in his trademark hyper style alongside vocalist/producer Lloyd Charmers. I have sweetened the tune with even more audio from the previously mentioned Pickwick Sounds Of Terror album and I hope you like it.

Track 17

Monday, October 22, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 16 - The Upsetters' Vampire

Despite the extremely sad news in the world of reggae, the show must go on...

Starting off the third week in the 2007 Halloween Spooktacular with a wicked tune straight outta the legendary Blark Ark. This one is called "Vampire (Horns)" and comes from the excellent 1999 compilation of Lee "Scratch" Perry productions dating from the early to mid 70's called Black Arkives released on the Justice League label.

To serve as a proper introduction to the tune I used a portion of audio from the 1931 Universal Studios adaptation of Dracula starring in my opinion, the real Drac himself Bela Lugosi. I have watched the many retellings and variations of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel and I have enjoyed many of them but Lugosi's portrayal will always be my favorite. He is the epitome of what Dracula is supposed to look and sound like and if you consider that the multitude of Dracula impersonations you see or hear every Halloween season are based on Lugosi's original performance, it makes you realize the importance of this film to Trick Or Treaters and our collective nightmares the world over.

I think you'll dig what I've done with the track... give it a listen!

Track 16

Your Blood Will Run Cold As 2006's Halloween Monster Returns!!

As another holiday offering to those who are following along and patiently waiting for each track to this years Halloween Mix... I have re-upped the complete spooky mix from last year to give you something to enjoy in the meantime.

1. Scientist - Blood On His Lips
2. Lord Kitchener – Love In A Cemetery
3. The Crystalites – Blacula
4. The Wailers – Mr. Brown
5. King Horror – Loch Ness Monster
6. Early B – Ghost Buster
7. Jackie Mittoo & The Soul Brothers – Voodoo Moon
8. Lone Ranger – Annie Palmer (The White Witch Of Rose Hall)
9. Tappa Zukie & The Revolutionaries – Escape From Hell
10. The Flames – Scare Him
11. Lone Ranger – Barnabas Collins
12. Yellowman – Me Kill Barnie
13. Scientist – Night Of The Living Dead
14. The Vulcans – Dracula
15. Peter Tosh – Dracula
16. Bobby Aitken – Vampire
17. The Upsetters – 10 Till 12
18. Lone Ranger – Frankenstein
19. The Aggrolites – Grave Digger
20. Leo Graham – Voodooism
21. The Wailers – Duppy Conqueror

The Complete Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2006

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lucky Dube - 1964-2007

I just received some terrible news. Quoting from the International Herald Tribune article by Michael Wines...

"JOHANNESBURG: A team of gunmen shot and killed Lucky Dube (pronounced Doo-Bay), an international reggae star and one of South Africa's best-known musicians, in an apparent carjacking attempt late Thursday that underscored the continuing peril of violent crime here.

Dube, 43, what shot by three hijackers in Rosettenville, just south of downtown Johannesburg, as he dropped off his teenage son at his brother's house. Another child, a 16-year-old daughter, was in the car at the time, the police said.

The hijackers fled after Dube crashed his car into a tree. He died at the scene.

As the provincial police commissioner appointed seven veteran investigators to chase down the attackers, President Thabo Mbeki called on the nation "to confront this terrible scourge of crime, which has taken the lives of too many of our people, and does so every day."

The principal opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said that "the circumstances surrounding his murder again illustrate that violent crime in South Africa is out of control, and that the government's remedies to address this scourge have failed."

Below you will find the link to a 15 track mix of Lucky Dube's music that I have put together in honor of him. I started playing his music after I got the sad news and it has been a little tough. I've been finding tragic new meanings in Dube's lyrics that I've never contemplated before and I found myself getting choked up on more than one occassion. I hope you'll give this a listen.

1. "Can't Blame You" from the 1991 CD House Of Exile on the Shanachie label
2. "Let Jah Be Praised" from the 1987 CD Slave also on the Shanachie label
3. "False Prophets" from the 1989 Shanachie release Prisoner
4. "On My Own" from his 1988 release Together As One on the South African Gallo label
5. "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" from the 1993 Shanachie CD Victims
6. "Reggae Strong" from 1996's Serious Reggae Business on Shanachie
7. "Crime And Corruption" from 1999's The Way It Is CD again on Shanachie
8. "Victims" the title track from the '93 album
9. "Don't Cry" also from the Prisoner album
10. "Number In The Book" from the 2004 Heartbeat release The Other Side
11. "House Of Exile" the title track from the '91 CD
12. "The Hand That Giveth" from the Slave album
13. "Different Colours/One People" again from the Victims CD
14. "Remember Me" again from the Serious Reggae Business CD
15. "Never Leave You" from his 2007 release Respect on the Australian MSI Music label

Rest in peace Lucky Dube.

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 15 - Oh No! The Duppy Has Come Again!

Here we are on another Friday and this week's final installment of the Spooktacular... racing forward from early reggae sounds to the digital era and the distinctive voice of the man known as Nitty Gritty. Nitty Gritty (born Glen Augustus Holness, August, 1957, Kingston, JA died June 24, 1991, Brooklyn, NY) began his musical career in 1973 with Joe Gibbs singing a song called "Let The Power Fall On I" with Dennis Brown, George Nooks and the Mighty Diamonds. But Nitty Gritty didn't release another record until nearly a decade later and eventually achieved notable success in 1985 when he teamed up with super producer King Jammy. The tune "Hog In A Minty" was his first big hit and hit first album Turbo Charged came soon after. Sadly his life was cut short when he was shot and killed outside the Super Power record shop in New York in 1991.

Today's tune is called "Duppy Come Again" and comes from a 2002 double CD various artists compilation called Ready When You Ready on the Smugg Label. "Duppy Come Again" isn't as much a ghost story as the name would have you believe but in the song Nitty Gritty professes his faith in the Almighty that protects him from the spirits of evil. I hope you like what I've done with it and hey, if you're planning on visiting a real haunted house or a spooky cemetery this Halloween season you might want to take some notes on which biblical psalms and passages he references... that way you can be prepared to protect yourself when the ghostly spirits start running amuck.

See you Monday! We've got seven more tunes to go!

Track 15

Oh, I wanted to mention... Monday I'll be uploading the complete 2006 Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular for your listening pleasure! If you missed it last year you'll now have a chance to hear it in its entirety with no commercial or daily interruptions!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 14 - Dennis Alcapone's Mr. Brown's Coffin

Staying in the cemetery for today's track... or at least on our way there. Today's tune is called "Mr. Brown's Coffin" by Dennis Alcapone (born Dennis Smith, August 6 1947, Clarendon, JA) and comes from the double CD set called Black Magic Reggae on the Castle Pulse label. When I found out about this collection last November I couldn't believe my luck, 40 spooky tunes in one place! To me it validated what I'd been doing in October because themes of the horrific and supernatural reoccur often enough in Jamaican music that it obviously warranted its own compilation! But anyway...

I recounted the story of the crow Mr. Brown two years ago when I presented the Wailers "Mr. Brown." Legend has it that this crow, that somehow picked up the moniker Mr. Brown, was observed riding around Kingston on top of a coffin as it was being taken to the cemetery. Now following with Jamaican superstition it was widely accepted that the event wasn't just coincidental it was actually the duppy (or ghost) of the deceased who had taken the form of the bird. Now a couple days passed until the same crow, dressed in a shirt and tie no less, was seen in a local courtroom. This seemingly unbelievable event convinced the general populace that the evil powers of obeah had been released and the fact that the Daily Gleaner, the local newspaper, had even run an article about it, made the final confirmation and scared the superstitious segment of the population even more. People were afraid to leave their "yard" (or homes) at night thinking they might fall victim to the demonic powers that were running rampant.

Dennis Alcapone started his musical career in 1969 DJing for a soundsystem called the El Paso Hi-Fi. He was the initially inspired to start recording when he witnessed the rising success of U Roy but Alcapone was so good that some of his earliest records began challenging the supremacy of the "Godfather" who he sought to emulate. He started out with producer and late reggae legend Keith Hudson before moving on to record with Duke Reid, Bunny Lee, Coxsone Dodd, Lee Perry, Sir JJ, Winston Riley, Joe Gibbs, Randy's and Prince Buster... to name a few.

But enough history for today... let's get to the music.

Track 14

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 13 - The Reburial

Taking a turn from the corny to the downright creepy... aurally that is. With church bell tolling and a minister preparing for interment we are graveside for the next tune in our Spooktacular. But is the poor soul lying still and cold in his coffin ready to be laid to rest? You'll have to listen to today's chapter to discover the fate of the "deceased."

While we've got that macabre scene playing out in the background we're then treated to the odd juxtaposition of a seemingly upbeat ska number called "Reburial" by the Skatalites. It comes from a 1998 CD release of ska era tracks produced by the relatively unknown Justin Yap called Ska Boo-Da-Ba: Top Sounds From Top Deck, Vol. 3 on the WestSide label. I read elsewhere that unlike Duke Reid or Coxsone Dodd, Yap gave the Skatalites enough time and money to let them get creative and really hone their craft. The same source went on to say that Justin Yap freely allowed ganja smoking in house therefore making the musicians content... but I digress.

Before I used the term "seemingly" when describing "Reburial" because though it has that quick tempo ska trademark it's lacking in a light-hearted melody that many perceive is also mandatory. "Reburial" has a bit of a sinister, uneasy side courtesy of the horn section lead by the legendary Don Drummond. To me the horns just seem to add an urgency that makes the title of the track make complete sense. It's a race against time as the coffin's occupant tries to free himself from his entombment... but wait... I'm giving away the ending to the little spooky yarn I began weaving at the top of the post. Oh well, you probably already knew the fate of the deceased from the get-go. Besides it's getting closer to Halloween would you expect anything less?

I have always had a fear of being buried alive and I know my phobia can be owed to the aforementioned Halloween Sounds Of Terror record I had as a kid. I used the kiddie album's "Buried Alive" track last October to accompany the Aggrolites "Grave Digger" and of all the vignettes on the LP that one always scared me the most. Thanks go out to the seemingly innocent Pickwick Records and their horrific "child friendly" album for scarring me for life! Good job fellas!

Track 13

Oh I wanted to mention... the artwork for this post is by Harry Clarke (1889-1931) and was originally published in 1916 and appeared alongside the Edgar Allen Poe short story "Premature Burial" in a 1919 book called Tales Of Mystery And Imagination. Frightening stuff!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 12 - He's Baaaaaack!!!

For the love of God... he's back!! Just when we thought it was safe to venture back into Collinswood he returns with a vengeance. Last year we all hoped that Barnabas Collins had met his demise at the hands of the fearless vampire killer King Yellowman but he has arisen once more to terrify the readers of this blog with his cheesy style of un-dead, blood sucking horror! Yes, for the third year in a row the DJ Lone Ranger (born Anthony Waldron) is back with the infamous tune that made him notorious.

Last year through first hand accounts we learned what may have inspired Waldron to come up with these lyrics... if you missed it you can revisit my post from October 13th, 2006.

I had forgotten about this Studio One version of "Barnabas Collins" until Heartbeat re-released Lone Ranger - On The Other Side Of Dub this year and I gave my 1991 issue a repeated listen. I immediately decided to include it in the mix considering it has been one of the most requested songs, usually by fans of Dark Shadows, year round. This version rides the Grave Yard Skank riddim that we heard yesterday and in my opinion isn't as good as the GG's version from 1979 but it's perfect for giving fans of the vampire soap opera their Jamaican crossover fix.

So here, by request, is the 12th chapter in our mix... the unstoppable "Barnabas Collins." Now I just need to dig up another version for next Halloween... perhaps a live version?

Track 12

Monday, October 15, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 11 - Skankin' In The Grave Yard

Here we are again with another spooky tune to put you in the Halloween mood... this is in fact the half way point in our creepy countdown and I'm hoping you've been keeping up and enjoying what you've been hearing!

We're keeping it short today because unfortunately real life always has a way of interfering with my blogging time. Today it's a dub track from Studio One produced by the man himself Coxsone Dodd and would have come from the 1977 album called The Lone Ranger - On The Other Side Of Dub, if it had been included, and it's called "Grave Yard Skank." Interestingly enough this song only reappeared when it was digitally revived. My copy comes from the Heartbeat CD reissue from 1991 and it's perfect material for this time of year. I really wouldn't say this is dub as much as a straight forward instrumental since it does lack in any of the echo and wacky effects that one often identifies in dub.

I have embellished this track with a track called "Entering The Graveyard" from a Halloween CD called A Night In A Haunted House/A Night In A Graveyard - Spine-Tingling Tales Of Haunted Houses & Ghostly Graveyards - wow that's a mouthful. I think it turned out pretty cool and I hope you dig it. It'll serve as a nice segue into tomorrow's track as you'll see...

Track 11

Friday, October 12, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 10 - Obeah Man Does Battle With A Duppy

Joseph, the man pictured on the left, is one of the most feared and respected men in Manchester Jamaica and all of its outlying parish. You see, Joseph is an obeah man. What is obeah you may ask? Obeah is a term used in the West Indies to refer to folk magic, sorcery, and religious practices derived from Central African and West African origins. Or as Joseph explains, "I know about obeah, voodoo, Arabic and Kabbalah. White magic is what it is called..."

In an excellent and informative article in the Jamaica Gleaner from June 28th of this year, staff writer Joseph Lalah paid the obeah man a visit and with utmost respect I shall henceforth quote directly from the article... which is available online in its entirety here.

"...I asked Joseph about the services he performs for his clients.

"You name it man. Anything you want done for you I will do it. If you want a visa I have something for that. If you woman leave you I can get her back for you. If you have a court case I will deal with that too," Joseph pounded his fist into his palm as he spoke and his eyes widened with excitement. He explained that $14,000 will get you a visa to any place in the world you'd like to visit and if the love of your life was silly enough to think she could leave you and go cavorting around town with another, he would get her back for you for a measly $7,000.

I asked Joseph how he got into the white magic business in the first place.

"Well, when I was 15 somebody try work science on me. Dem put a powder in my hymn book at church and it make my head feel like it was going to tear off! I was sick bad. I decide that I wouldn't want anybody to have that power over me again so I start to read all kind ofbooks. My father was a great science man himself as well so I learn from him and carry on the tradition. I was the only one of his children who carry on the teaching and the work for him," Joseph said.

He reached behind his bed and pulled out a small, black plastic bag. "These are some of the herbs I use," he said.

Joseph showed us bottles containing liquids that he said could cure cancer and mend broken relationships. "I perform any task the people want. If you sick I have something to heal you. Once you come here and I read you up then I can tell you how to proceed," he said."

Now you may be asking where am I going with this... read on and it'll all start making sense.

"Well you know I will take out duppy and demon out anybody because I am also an exorcist. Well, one day dem tell me that a duppy was in a young boy up the road so I take up my crystal ball and go up there. Well, when I reach I see about 70 people gather around and tell them to move. I look at the boy with the demon and realise that is the duppy of a Indian stillborn baby was in him. Anyway, I chant it out of him and when the people who gather around see what I do dem nearly faint! Dem know dat anybody who conquer a coolie (a Jamaican slang word for East Indians) duppy must powerful!" Joseph said."

Now that you're up to speed on what an obeah man does you'll have a better appreciation of the tenth track in our mix. It's a rocksteady tune, circa 1965, by legendary Jamaican music pioneer Derrick Morgan (born March 1940, Stewarton JA) and its called "Father Killam" from an excellent retrospective compilation on Heartbeat Records called Time Marches On. It is the story of an obeah man who is called on to exorcise a duppy from a woman who has suddenly fallen ill and it's perfect material for this month's theme. Unfortunately for Father Killam when he attempts to hit the duppy with a stick the evil spirit fires back. Killam ends up on the receiving end of a half a brick and to add insult to injury the duppy laughs so hard that he nearly died twice. Maybe he should have used a can of Go Away Evil.

Have a great weekend everybody... see you Monday!

Track 10

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 9 - The Upsetters' Vampire

Lee "Scratch" Perry and the Upsetters are next in the mix... the tune is called "The Vampire" from the Trojan various artists CD Loch Ness Monster. The early organ driven reggae track has always given me a feeling more of lunacy than of actual vampirism. It doesn't hurt that the wacky intro, on the tale end of yesterday's track, involving the conversation between a patient, a doctor and a nurse seems to serve as a segue from reality to the "trippy" after effects of the injection that the delusional patient desperately needs. I have enhanced the track with some maniacal laughter that would seem so appropriate in not just this song but in so many of Perry's later works as well.

Today's image is a still of Max Schreck in the roll of the evil vampire Count Orlok from the 1922 German film Nosferatu. This F.W. Murnau adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula has got to be one of my all-time favorite horror films regardless of its historical significance and artistry. Schreck's ghastly bat-like appearance is the stuff that nightmares are made of and its nice to see that nightmares haven't changed much in eighty five years. Where some casual viewers might complain that the movie is silent and "crudely" made I see pure delight. The creepy images are enhanced by the grainy black & white and the silence helps alleviate the distraction of your other senses while you soak in the visual terror. Put it on, turn down the sound to drown out the added musical accompaniment, turn out the lights and prepare to be horrified... now that I think about it, a Jamaican Halloween mix might make Nosferatu all the better!

Track 9