Friday, October 05, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 5 - Harry J All-Stars' Jack The Ripper

Okay, this is as gory as I'm gonna get... image wise that is. Mwuhahahahahahaha!!

Quoting from Wikipedia...
"Jack the Ripper is an alias given to an unidentified serial killer (or killers) active in the largely impoverished Whitechapel area and adjacent districts of London, England in the latter half of 1888. The name is taken from a letter to the Central News Agency by someone claiming to be the murderer, published at the time of the killings. The legends surrounding the Ripper murders have become a combination of genuine historical research, conspiracy theory and folklore. The lack of a confirmed identity for the killer has allowed Ripperologists — the term used within the field for the authors, historians and amateur detectives who study the case — to accuse a wide variety of individuals of being the Ripper. Newspapers, whose circulation had been growing during this era, bestowed widespread and enduring notoriety on the killer owing to the savagery of the attacks and the failure of the police in their attempts to capture the Ripper, sometimes missing the murderer at his crime scenes by mere minutes."

Now, you're probably thinking that this musical installment is going to be as gruesome as the series of events across the pond over 100 years ago but it's not. The man Harry Johnson (born in Kingston circa 1945), or Harry J as he became to be known, was a Jamaican record producer from the early reggae era. Harry J first achieved success in 1969 when his session band's track "The Liquidator" hit it big in London. Johnson went on to set up his own recording studio in 1972, where Bob Marley & The Wailers recorded a bunch of their albums from 1973 to 1976, prior to Bob building his own Tuff Gong studio. Harry J went on to produce music for a slew of other reggae including Burning Spear, Augustus Pablo and Ken Boothe to name a few. But back to "Jack The Ripper." This is an upbeat, danceable, organ driven early instrumental reggae track that I borrowed from the Trojan CD Liquidator - The Best Of The Harry J All Stars and without enhancement would seem completely out of place with the subject matter at hand. I enhanced this track with the "Jack The Ripper" cut from my all-time favorite kiddie Halloween record Sounds Of Terror on the Pickwick label from 1974. As you can see from the image below I still own this record even though time hasn't been kind to the sleeve or the vinyl for that matter. Through the marvels of the internet I was able to reconnect with this creepy piece of my childhood last October thanks to Jason over at Scar Stuff. This record scared the hell out of me as a child and I still have fond memories of my Mom buying this for me at Woolworths so we could play it at our Halloween party. I remember shreading the cellophane off the sleeve, dropping the needle and scaring my little sister so bad that she ran out of the room screaming and I turned down the volume so low in hopes that it would somehow deaden the terrifying images that were seeping into my impressionable mind. How this ever got released as a children's record I'll never know... you definitely couldn't get away with this stuff nowadays!

I'll Be back on Monday with another weeks worth of spooky tunes, have a great weekend!

Track 5

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