Short and sweet today. Partially because, as hard as it may be to believe, I'm kind of pressed on time with real life obligations outside the blogging world and partially because I can't find any real biographical information about the artists responsible for the scary song we're going to hear today.
Track 17 in the Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular is by Blue Rivers And The Maroons and it's called "Witchcraft Man." I took it from 1992's The History Of Ska, Blue Beat & Reggae Vol.1 CD on the Lagoon label. Here's what I do know... Blue Rivers, who was a "star artist and prolific composer," or so I've read without further alliteration... recorded three tracks for London based record producer Siggy Jackson and his fledgling Blue Beat label sometime between 1966-1968. The story goes that Jackson was so impressed with the new "Jamaican Blues" which immigrating Jamaicans were bringing with them to England around the time that he decided that he wanted to take a part in forwarding and promoting this new genre of music to English ears. These records were often played alongside soul music and added a new and important component to the emerging skinhead and Mod cultures of the 1960's.
The three songs Blue Rivers initially recorded, "Guns Of Navarone," "Seven Steps To Power," and of course in keeping with the frightening festivities, today's tune "Witchcraft Man," on a Phillips 3-track recorder! Thunderstorm embellishments are kept to a minimal on this one and when you listen I defy you to keep your feet still. I need to warn you, this is a super "dance-able" tune and as a public service to those who may be so inclined to get up and do so, I've provided a couple fairly concise diagrams illustrating the proper technique for doing "The Ska." Because if you're gonna do it, you gotta do it right!