I'm starting to notice a pattern here as the Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular's have evolved over the last four year... the first year was pretty easy writing biographical information about the artists involved because by reggae standards they were all pretty mainstream. Now I'm four years in, the artists are more obscure and thusly I'm unable to give any real background on the singers or DJs involved.
Case in point... today's tune is from the man Windew (sometimes Windel) Haye. I've explored all of my resources and the best I can come up with is this... Windew/Windel Haye recorded two songs for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One in 1979. The first was the "Flood Victim," with another unknown DJ by the name of Captain Morgan, riding the Real Rock riddim and was located on the B-Side of Johnny Osbourne's "Water More Than Flour" The second is the tune you're going to hear today, "Haunted House," on the My Conversation riddim and served as the flip side to Cornell Campbell's cover of the Uniques "My Conversation."
The thing is, if you've spend other Halloween's here with me, the rhythm is going to seem very familiar. Barnabas Collins, the television vampire who wouldn't stay dead here on the Spooktacular even after Yellowman had seemingly killed him back in 2007, and who was immortalized in the classic Jamaican Halloween tune Barnabas Collins by the DJ Lone Ranger, rides this riddim as well. I was kind of disappointed I couldn't come up with another obscure version of Barnabas Collins to continue the yearly tradition but "Haunted House" is pretty damn close.
Windew Haye pays tribute to ol' Barnie in the lyrics by proclaiming that "Barnabas live inna haunted house." He even steals a couple lines of Lone Ranger's lyrics elsewhere in the tune and since I can't confirm anything because there is no recorded history on this topic we'll have to take a stab at hypothesis. Here's my rub... Coxsone was floored by the popularity of Lone Ranger's tune and took the unknown DJ Windew Haye into the studio to have him recreate a Studio One version of the song with the same riddim and a different bunch of different lyrics that still followed the same spooky theme. It's quite possible... because years later Coxsone re-recorded Lone Ranger doing "Barnabas Collins" at Studio One but was dropped from the vinyl release of On The Other Side Of Dub most likely because of limited space. It really released until 1991 when Heartbeat records re-issued the album on CD and included the lost track.
The photo you see of Ideal's Haunted House is probably familiar to a lot of us... I didn't have Tomy's Haunted House when I was a kid... since it was released in 1962, nine years before I was born, I missed out. But... my older cousins did! With that distinctive and amazingly illustrated box how could I forget! If you want to read more about the Haunted House game follow this link to HauntedHouseParts.com... I'll leave the discussion of the board game to people who know more than I do about such topics! Add this to the list of things to buy when that Megamillions money starts rolling in! See you all tomorrow!
Spooktacular Track Five