Friday, October 24, 2008

Evol Yenoh - the Burt Walters story

Burt Walters was discovered by upcoming reggae producer Lee ´Scratch´ Perry when singing barefoot on the streets of East Kingston, Jamaica. Not much is known about him, although he is said to have been somewhat unstable mentally. In ´68 Perry produced two tracks by Walters and released them on his brand new Upsetter label. The Drifters cover Honey Love is ok but nothing to write home about really, but flipside Evol Yenoh provides a stunning example of Scratch´s budding revolutionary genius. By simply playing the entire vocal track backwards over the same rhythm, Perry creates something very special. It´s bizarre but it works, and I´ve never heard anything even remotely like it. Walters sounds like he´s singing in tongues, or has just been flown in from some faraway planet. Burt phone home: very spooky indeed. It´s funny to note that where Honey Love is credited to McPhatter/Wexler, and rightly so, Perry claims the writing credits for the B-side for himself...

To complete the Burt Walters story: Perry later released one more track by Walters, on the flip of his own People Funny Boy hit. His take on Blowing In The Wind must be one of the funniest Dylan covers ever. The wind doesn´t blow, it howls like a hurricane in the background. I bet you a bottle of Red Stripe that Scratch had just discovered the wind effects button there... As far as I know, Walters drifted straight back into obscurity after this outing, never to record another note. Find these tracks - together with many more early Perry gems - on the People Funny Boy compilation (Trojan records).

Burt Walters - Honey Love MP3
Burt Walters - Evol Yenoh MP3
Burt Walters - Blowing In The Wind MP3

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