Saturday, 11 October 2014

Saturday Scratch #40 - Burt Walters

Even in the often confusing world of Lee Perry's huge supporting cast of characters, the contribution of Burt Walters would surely be seen as a minor one, were it not for a typically inspired slice of Upsetter madness. Discovered while singing barefoot on a street corner in early 1968, Walters was quickly whisked into the studio to voice a couple of covers with Scratch at the controls. A re-written 'Blowin' in the Wind' (credited to Bob Dillon), complete with low budget sound effects, eventually appeared on the flip of Perry's own classic, 'People Funny Boy'.

The only single to be issued under Burt Walters' own name was a cover of the 1954 Drifters hit, 'Honey Love', which initially released as a Jamaican only white label 7". It's pleasant enough, I'm sure you'll agree.

At this point, though, either the money ran out or perhaps Scratch just lost faith in Burt's abilities, because instead of recording another tune to put on the flip-side of 'Honey Love', Perry simply plucked the original vocal out of the mix, reversed it and laid it back onto the rhythm, titling it 'Evol Yenoh'. This straight forward act transformed a sweet little pop song into an unhinged thing of disturbing weirdness, featuring Walters appearing to speak in tongues. Unsurprisingly, Trojan in the UK passed on 'Evol Yenoh', only allowing 'Honey Love' to sneak out as the b-side to an unrelated instrumental cut, 'Thunderstorm', by King Cannon Ball in December 1968.


Anonymous said...

It has to be said that there is something inspired about each of these tracks. The cover of 'BITW' is the best I've heard and Burt even manages to improve the lyrics. 'Honey Love' is lovely and 'Evol Yenoh' (amazing what a reversal of two words can do) is either brilliant or crap. Probably both. Thank you for sharing - I must find these.

The Swede said...

The first time I heard 'Evol Yenoh' it was one of those moments that literally stopped me in my tracks. This is 1968 - pre-Black Ark. Incredible. I think it could easily have sounded bloody awful, but it somehow works brilliantly, in a demented, chilling way. Freaks me out a little bit every time.

Ramone666 said...

Yenoh and Blowin' still make me smile every time I hear 'em. Bizarre Scratch genius at work.

Old Pa's Corner said...

great stuff indeed first time I have heard EY and it is just fabulous too

Greatest Hits