Thursday, October 08, 2015

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2015 - Track Six - Obeahman

Sam Votsis AKA Sammy Gong is one of the founders and a frequent contributor to the illustrious DC Soundclash.  Aside from digging for vinyl he is an avid fan and collector of comic books, in fact I discovered that Sam and I are what you may call kindred spirits when it comes to horror comics and an appreciation for obscure surf guitar/Halloween music.  Sam was late hopping aboard the Distinctly Jamaican Sounds guest spot train but as I expected he came through for us with his write-up about Clint Eastwood's 7" Obeahman from 1979 on the Bucktown International label.

"A scathing indictment of the Jamaican medical system of the late ‘70s, Obeahman is a rockers track sniffing at the dancehall revolution lurking right around the corner. Deejay Clint Eastwood aka Robert Brammer tells the harrowing tale of depraved lengths he must go in order to get help for a sick friend. While Clint’s style is more chatty than that of his older brother Trinity, who was a master of the dread chanting style popularized in the roots era by Big Youth, Clint’s message is clear: Conventional healthcare is unavailable to the common man, so he takes his friend to an Obeah man, a sorcerer who utilizes magic and medicinal lore smuggled to the New World from Africa during the slave trade. 

 Mostly considered taboo, obeah can be used for good or ill. It seems Brammer and his friend have stumbled onto a less-than-savory practitioner. IN fact, his friend’s skin boils after the Obeah Man’s balm is applied to it. What horror! 

Unfortunately, we don’t know what happened to his friend, whose identity remains unknown. (Does Clint refer to him as “great man?” The strain is obviously taking its toll on his diction!) However, the friend could be his future musical partner, fellow deejay General Saint. 

Teaming up on wax in 1981, the pair were bonafide stars of the rub-a-dub era, recording a number of hits that scored on the UK charts and touring internationally. So, despite a terrible experience with medicine and mysticism, it worked out OK for young Mr. Brammer."

Clint Eastwood - Obeahman - 2015 Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular Track Six

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