We're up to the last week of Jamaican Halloween Spooktacularness for 2008 and we're doing it up right by giving you a tune inna Ska-lipso style!
Track 19 in the mix is called "Back To Back" AKA "Jumbie Jamboree" by accomplished mento singer Count Owen and comes from his album Come Let's Go Ska-lipso on the Kentone label.
Count Owen, born Owen Emanuel was born in the parish of St. Mary in 1933 and started out at 19 years old by singing ballads and blues on the RJR Talent Parade Show and the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour. He initially recorded some tracks for Stanley Motta that were released on his MRS label in the 1950's and also for Ken Khouri's Kalypso around the same time.
This album from the early 1960's had Owen doing revamped ska versions of traditional mento and calypso classics and with great success I should add. If you're a fan of the mento and ska eras of Jamaican music this is a very enjoyable slab o'vinyl from start to finish!
The song "Back To Back" is exactly like the countless versions of "Zombie Jamboree," performed by artists such as Lord Jellicoe, Harry Belafonte and even the American folk group the Kingston Trio, except zombie is replaced with jumbie in the lyrics and the feisty ska beat replaces the mento/calypso instrumentation one usually expects! According to Caribbean folklore and legend a Jumbie is a black ghost... Westerner's often associate ghosts and spirits with a misty white form the jumbie is a dark shadowy figure. It should also be noted, that in Jamaica and some other islands in the Caribbean, "duppy" is usually used to denote any ghostly presence and in islands where duppy isn't the common operative word, "jumbie" is usually substituted.