Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shelter Records: Duppy Conquerer

Day three of our look at Shelter Records takes us to the island of Jamaica where Shelter picked up the rights to release Bob Marley and the Wailers’ first American single release. The single was released in October 1971 and was given the wrong title on the singles. “Duppy Conqueror” was inadvertently released in the US as “Doppy Conquer.” It was Marley’s only release on Shelter and the incorrect title may have deterred Marley from further distribution of his records by the label.

The term “duppy” is found throughout the Caribbean and it refers to a legend that if precautions in burial are not taken, a spirit of the recently departed haunts the earth for three days and then ascends to heaven. When one has power over a “duppy,” he becomes a “duppy conqueror.” It is said this tradition entered the Caribbean from West Africa.

Not only was the single the first American release by Marley, it may be one of the few or even the only single that was not an original Shelter production.

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