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


CP said...

Thanks for the great mixes & commentary -- and for re-posting the 2006 scare-tacular. One track that might be in your final promised two tunes for 2007 is King Horror's "Dracula, Prince of Darkness." I was listening to the comp "Joe the Boss: Joe Mansano Productions" today and when that King Horror song came on I thought, "I have to rush & tell the dude from Dist. Jam. before his mix is finished!"

Reggaexx said...

I love King Horror's "Dracula, Prince Of Darkness" but unfortunately it didn't make the playlist... I gotta save something good for next Halloween! :-)