Wilbert AKA Willie Francis started his career during the rocksteady era, cutting his first track "Warn The People" for the great Prince Buster in 1967. When reggae rolled around, Francis became a bit more prolific and soon after started his own Little Willie's label and scored a couple minor hits including "Motherless Child" for Leslie Kong in 1969, "Oh What A Mini" in 1971 and "Ripe Sour Sop" right around the same time. Today's Spooktacular tune, "I Am Not Afraid" was the b-side to the aforementioned "Motherless Child" originally released in Jamaica on the Tiger label and on Bullet in the UK... a nice soulful, horn-heavy, early reggae shuffler with obviously a seasonally appropriate theme!
Speaking of not being afraid, a couple weeks ago I got into a conversation with a friend about the scariest films we had ever seen. He mentioned The Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and I agreed but when he uttered Silence of the Lambs it got me to thinking... while my current taste in horror tends to favor the "old school" much like my music, at one point in my life I plopped down my hard-earned cash multiple times a month to see all of the newest scary releases. I'm talking about some low budget, gory, FX-heavy, crap fests that I would enjoy immensely while gorging on Twizzlers and popcorn. And my viewing wasn't relegated to the local theaters; I took mental notes on the new release articles in the latest issues of Fangoria and studied the movie listings on the backside of the comics page in the newspapers, tracked them down and drove to wherever in the state of Maryland they were playing. Sure these weren't exactly high-brow Oscar nominated art films and when Silence of the Lambs hit theaters I was reluctant to add it to the list of "must-see" horror films, mainly because of the unsolicited rave reviews I got from anyone who knew me well enough to understand my taste in cinema. It seemed a little too mainstream and regardless of the terrifying claims, I refused to believe the hype. Well fast forward a couple months, Silence of the Lambs had run its course in the full priced theaters and had been retired to the local dollar multiplex and was probably mere days from being pulled before disappearing for a few months and being reborn again on VHS, so I threw down my buck and went to see what everyone was freaking out about. Bottom line... I absolutely hated it and if I remember correctly it was the first time in my life I ever fell asleep in a movie theater! Needless to say, the conversation about our favorite horror films ended abruptly... give me Child's Play, Candyman or I, Madman any day over Silence of the Lambs. I lost a lot of respect for my friend that day.