Thursday, 9 April 2015

Shaggy 'Oh Carolina'

Chart Peak: 1 (2 weeks)
Known to his family as Orville Richard Burrell, Shaggy was born in Kingston, Jamaica... 'Oh Carolina was released at the end of last year and finally made it to No. 1 in March 1993.
So here's the track that topped that all-reggae Top 3, and was by my reckoning the first reggae Number One single since Aswad's 'Don't Turn Around' in 1988 (or since 'Dub Be Good To Me' if you really stretch a point). Who would have guessed then that it was only the first of four from Shaggy? I certainly didn't, even though this was among the few hits of the time that were big enough for even me to notice them. 'Oh Carolina' differs slightly from the two songs it was outselling because it's a straight cover version, merely updated to a more modern style. 'Oh Carolina' was originally recorded in 1958 by the Folkes Brothers (though inevitably there were disputes about who wrote it) as a ska track. Shaggy here is really just applying a 1990s production style (and, in the case of the B-side version, some Jamaican obscenities) to the original ska song, and he pretty much gets away with it thanks to his own larger-than-life lascivious performance. Effectively this sets out the stall for his subsequent ten years of success.

Then after a fortnight it was knocked off the top by the re-issue of 'Young At Heart', which was a bit of a contrast.

Also appearing on: Now 31 [with Rayvon], 32, 33 [with Grand Puba], 34 [with Maxi Priest], 48 [with RikRok], 51 [with Ali G]
Available on: Dread Meets Greensleeves - A Westside Revolution

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