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The Folkes Brothers

The three brothers Folkes, Michael, John and Eric together with Count Ossie and his drummers, Owen Gray (piano) and extra vocalist Skitter went to Prince Buster’s studio and recorded a classic of Jamaican music. To be labelled a one-hit-wonder is generally something of an insult, but to be a one-record-wonder is an accolade. The Jamaican artists who have made one perfect recording and then vanished, leaving a reputation forever untarnished by later lapses, could be counted on the fingers of one hand. The Folkes Brothers are among that number: in 1961 or early 1962 they recorded ‘Oh Carolina’, a unique and perfect single, and never appeared again. The record has Count Ossie’s Rastafarian drummers thundering out complex African cross-rhythms, Gray’s contrastingly American-styled on piano, and the Brothers, with a soulful lead singer Skitter and two lighter-voiced male accompanists, delivering the song. In 1993 an updated version of ‘Oh Carolina’ reached number 1 in the UK charts for ragga singer Shaggy.
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