Folkes Brothers version
|Single by Folkes Brothers|
|B-side||"I Met a Man"|
|Format||7 inch single|
|Recorded||1960, RJR Studios, Kingston|
|Label||Buster Wild Bells|
The original version of the song was recorded by Jamaican vocal trio the Folkes Brothers (John, Mico, and Junior Folkes), and was produced by Prince Buster at RJR studios in Kingston. The song was written by John Folkes in 1958 about his girlfriend (who was actually named Noelena). The group had met Buster while auditioning at Duke Reid's liquor store and Buster decided that he wanted to record the song. According to the brothers, Buster paid them £60 for the recording (Buster claims £100).
Buster travelled to the Wareika Hills to find a Niyabinghi group to play on a recording session, and brought Count Ossie and his group of drummers (Count Ossie's Afro-Combo) back to the studio, where they played on "Oh Carolina". "Oh Carolina" was a landmark single in the development of Jamaican modern music (ska, rocksteady and reggae) specially for the incorporation of African-influenced Niyabinghi-style drumming and chanting, and for the exposure it gave to the Rastas, who at the time were marginalized in Jamaican society. The track's piano riff was performed by Owen Gray. The single was licenced to Blue Beat Records for release in the UK in 1961.
The two tracks on the single (The B-side was "I Met a Man") were the only songs recorded by The Folkes Brothers as a trio. Mico and Junior Folkes re-recorded the song without John for the 2011 album Don't Leave Me Darling, the first release credited to the Folkes Brothers since the early 1960s. "Oh Carolina" was later reissued on the Prince Buster label. The song was also recorded in 1973 by Count Ossie, on his album Grounation.
- Original release
A: "Oh Carolina"
B: "I Met a Man"
- 'Prince Buster' label reissue
A: "Oh Carolina"
B: "Chubby" - Prince Buster and the All Stars
- Other releases
"Oh Carolina" was also issued as the B-side to Prince Buster's "Madness" on a 1961 single on the Fab label, and was included on a 1978 12-inch single of "Big Five".
|Single by Shaggy|
|from the album Pure Pleasure|
|B-side||"Bow Wow Wow"|
|Released||March 22, 1993|
|Genre||Reggae, reggae fusion|
|Label||Virgin, Greensleeves Records|
|Writer(s)||Henry Mancini, John Folkes|
|Shaggy singles chronology|
"Oh Carolina" was covered by Jamaican musician Shaggy, released as the lead single from his 1993 debut album, Pure Pleasure. Produced by Sting International, it became an international hit. It was the first of Shaggy's four UK number one singles, spending two weeks at the top in March 1993. The song fared less well in the U.S., peaking at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song received major crossover airplay on American alternative rock radio, and as a result the song peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Charts and sales
End of year charts
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
|UK number-one single
March 20, 1993 – March 27, 1993 (2 weeks)
"Young at Heart" by The Bluebells
|Irish IRMA number-one single
April 4, 1993 (1 week)
Following the success of Shaggy's version of the song, John Folkes was involved in a legal dispute with Prince Buster over the authorship. As was common with Jamaican releases of the era, the song was credited on the label to the producer, in this case 'C. Campbell' (Prince Buster), and Buster claimed that he had written the song about a former girlfriend. Folkes' claim was upheld in the UK high court in 1994.
Other cover versions
- Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 197, 328
- Alleyne, Mike (2012) The Encyclopedia of Reggae, Sterling, ISBN 978-1-4027-8583-2, p. 84
- Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4, p. 23
- Jason Toynbee, Bob Marley, Polity Press, 2007, pp. 121-22.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 491. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
- "Oh Carolina", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved April 3, 2008)
- Belgian peak
- Canada Top Singles peak
- Canada Dance peak
- "Shaggy singles, German Singles Chart" (in German). musicline. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
- Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved April 3, 2008)
- "Single top 100 over 1993" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
- UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved April 3, 2008)
- 1993 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
- 1993 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
- 1993 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Oh+Carolina')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved September 3, 2008.
- "UK certifications, database". Bpi. Retrieved 3 September 2008.