One of the pioneers of the ska era and internationally recognised for their hit song, Oh Carolina, The Folkes Brothers have finally released their first album.
The Folkes Brothers (John, Mico and Junior Folkes) got international recognition with Oh Carolina which was recorded by Prince Buster in 1959. In 1994, the song was covered by Shaggy on his Pure Pleasure album.
Looking back, Mico Folkes said the group did not get much financial rewards. However, he said it was rewarding in the sense that they did music alongside other artistes like Alton Ellis and Derrick Morgan. He said they had no idea “it would have reached that plateau but in those days it was just for fun”.
Decades later, the group released its debut album, Don’t Leave Me Darling. In addition to Oh Carolina, the album also has songs like Motion In the Ocean, The First Time, A Sweet Girl Like You, Don’t Forsake Me and The Rain Is Falling.
Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner, Mico Folkes also explained that the group was just now doing an album partly because they went in separate directions after the success of Oh Carolina.
He said he got a scholarship to attend a bible college in the United States, while his brother John Folkes went on to get his PhD at the University of the West Indies and is now a professor in Canada. However, his younger brother, Junior Folkes, “never left the music industry,” he said.
“We always sing together like we never left Jamaica. We always sing and write songs. Junior Folkes, he was the one trying to bring us back together, always wanting us to get some songs together. John is not in the group at this time,” Mico Folkes said, noting that the album was done by himself, Junior Folkes and Jah D, who was the engineer and made all the music.
Enough songs for 6 albums
With the number of songs they have done over the years, Mico Folkes said they could have done about five or six albums.
“We pursued different careers at the time but we were always singing. My brother in Jamaica, he is the glue. That’s why we are together. It’s a physical album there but it’s not like we have stopped. We have always been singing but we never put it down physically on an album but we have never lost our touch or creativity,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.
With the variety on the album, which he describes as smooth and soft, Mico Folkes said the group will be successful as it will be bringing back authentic reggae to the fore.
“I think this album is going to be very successful. We have lost some of our roots sounds in the reggae market because hip hop has swallowed up Jamaica’s beat,” he said.
“That’s why we have to bring it back and draw from the source of what we are all about. We are original and we are going to stay that way.”
Source: Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter. Jamaica- Gleaner