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#TrackoftheDay: “Zombie Jamboree”

Calypso Carnival feat. King Flash
? (1956)

Zombie Jamboree by Calypso Carnival feat. King Flash (I think)

Just like tonight’s movie, tonight’s 32 Days of Halloween/#TrackoftheDay crossover has had me scrambling around feeling like I’m even more insane than I actually am. Let me tell you the story of this particular rabbit hole.

So I was going to pick Harry Belafonte’s version of the song. You know, this one:

That’s a cover version, which is not surprising. A lot of calypso tunes have multiple, multiple covers. So I tried to go back and find the original. It was apparently written by an artist named Lord Intruder and is believed to have been first performed by him in 1953. It was released as a B-side to his single, “Disaster With the Police.” Apparently in the intro to the version released by The Kingston Trio in 1958, they jokingly credit the song to “Lord Invader and his Twelve Penetrators.” Which has unfortunately been taken seriously by many, because there is an actual calypsonian named Lord Invader. And the two artists are now inextricably confused with each other.

Now comes the weird bit: I can’t find the original version (which was called “Jumbie Jamboree” by the way–a jumbie is a kind of demon or spirit, apparently) anywhere. Not on eBay. Not on Discogs. What sort of thing isn’t on Discogs?

Okay, so fine: it’s just a very rare recording. But I can’t find Lord Intruder on Discogs. Nor does there seem to be a picture online of him anywhere. It’s at this point I’m beginning to think somebody is just trying to fuck with me. But wait, there’s more.

So I decide I’ll go with the next one in the list. Who covered it first? According to Wikipedia (which is always right), it was The Charmer with the Johnny McCleverty Calypso Boys in 1954. Showing here:

I decided not to go with this one because the song here is titled “Back to Back, Belly to Belly,” which doesn’t sound very Halloweenish at all. And by the way, you might know The Charmer better by the name he currently uses: Louis Farrakhan. No, really.

Okay, fine. The next one is by Calypso Carnival feat. King Flash. And again, stuff gets weird. What country are they from? No idea. Who is the group Calypso Carnival? Not a clue. In fact, you’ll notice on the cover art it says the song is “From the album ‘Calypso Carnival’.” I have seen Calypso Carnival treated as the name of the group and I’ve also seen it treated as the name of the record–which seems to be a compilation record, and not that a group called Calypso Carnival has released a self-titled album. But there are actual pressings of albums that treat Calypso Carnival as a band, so a band we will call it.

And as for a picture of Calypso Carnival and King Flash? Can’t find a one. I mean…those three people in the cover art could be them…or they could be the 1950s equivalent of stock photos. No clue.

So if anybody has more information, yell at me. Because this is going to gnaw on my brain (ha, no pun intended) until I find out more. And especially hear the original.

Now, where we were? Right. The actual #TrackoftheDay: