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

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