I don't know why I punish myself by doing this every year but Thursday marks the beginning of October and my yearly countdown of spooky themed Jamaican tunes... a little mix I like to call the Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular. Now if you're new to the blog I should probably fill you in how I go about doing this... I post an individual song every weekday in the month complete with scary sound effects and soundbites from old Halloween records, movie trailers and other creepy stuff I accumulate throughout the year... you download each tune individually then reassemble them in order on your Itunes or on a CDR and you'll have the complete Halloween mix and a nice sampling of the haunted sounds of Jamaican music!
"Haunted sounds of Jamaican music?" you may ask. Yes, just like any mainstream genre of music, Jamaican musicians and artists, ranging from calypso styled mento of the 1950's to ska to rocksteady to reggae and all of its various incarnations in between until today, are capable of recording material that explores themes and subject matters outside the stereotypical notions of what a lot of people think reggae "is about." Over the last 5 years I have researched and sought recordings in any of the aforementioned subgenres of Jamaican music that explore subjects and use titles that would be best suited for late night horror movies.
Yes, I know many will find this hard to believe but there is a dark side to this music and though it doesn't begin to compare in intensity to death metal, slasher films or any other genres that people closely associate with black eyeliner and body piercings, I believe it holds its own with the rock and roll styled Halloween novelty music everyone knows and loves.
I should probably back up a bit and let you know why I've been doing this for the past 4 years... Aside from my 20+ year obsession with Jamaican music, I love Halloween, horror movies, EC horror comics, monsters and all that scary shit that goes bump in the night and I have ever since I was a kid. I mean I grew up in the safe confines of suburban America in the late 70's and early 80's... watching the same Saturday morning cartoons while eating the same Count Chocula, listening to the same Top 40 Music and being your typical American kid.
I initially got into reggae music when I was about 15 and there was that teen stage where I tried to identify with the patchouli/hippy crowd that many associated with reggae but I just didn't fit in. Sure I had the long hair and the goatee but my love of this music went far beyond trying to look hip and working to be a part of a scene. I completely immersed myself in discovering 50 years of Jamaican music instead... all in between skateboarding, watching horror films, making horror movies about my murderous elderly neighbors, driving my 1951 Ford and getting my ass in gear to prepare for community college ... now that I think about it... maybe I should have devoted more of that time to experimenting with drugs and getting laid but that's probably something I need to discuss at length with a therapist (lol). I have very clear recollections of a long awaited box of records from RAS Records arriving on Halloween and my friend Nick and I listening to them before gearing up for whatever Halloween festivities followed that evening. I guess the long and short of it is that I don't see anything odd about the peaceful coexistence of reggae and Halloween... to me they've been that way for as long as I can remember.
So please, give the Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular a chance. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you hear! Keep tabs on the blog throughout the month of October and whatever you do please leave some feedback.
If you're into Halloween, like I am, you're gonna have a fun month ahead... and be sure to check out the gargantuan listing of blogs and sites that'll also be doing Halloween countdowns of their own!