TONY McKAY, The Island Hog Pt.1+Pt.2, 1969Posted: December 10, 2009
Some years ago I found a whole bunch of Northern Soul/Funk 45´s in a thrift store in my street. I don´t know how they ended up in that store but those were my biggest finds ever, at least when it comes to US 45´s : ANDRE WILLIAMS It´s Gonna Be Fine In ´69/Do the Popcorn on Checker, VERNON GARRETT & MARIE FRANKLIN Second to None/Without You on Venture, ESTHER WILLIAMS He Don´t Appreciate it/Mama on Flying Dutchman and many more. Most of them DJ/white label copies in very good condition with company sleeves. I was virtually able to start dj-ing Northern Soul sets with that small collection I bought on that day in my little street.
This particular record was one of them and it turned out to be quite interesting. From listening to it I couldn´t quite put a label on it. It´s not Soul, not Rock´n´Roll, not Rhythm & Blues but what a racket! IT IS WILD!
Then I did a little research and found out that Tony McKay is really Exuma.
It made more sense when I read what Wikipedia said:
Exuma was known for his almost unclassifiable music; a strong mixture of carnival, junkanoo, calypso and ballad.
Mac Farlane Gregory Anthony Myckey, who recorded as Exuma, was born February 15, 1941 on Cat Island (Bahamas) to Ms. Daisy Mackie and died in Nassau in the Bahamas on January 25, 1997.
In his early days in New York’s Greenwich Village, Tony McKay (his self-given name) performed in small clubs and bars. Later, along with his then-partner and lifelong friend, Sally O’Brien, and several musician friends, Tony launched EXUMA – a 7-person group that toured and recorded albums, starting with Exuma: The Obeah Man in 1970 and ending with Rude Boy in 1986.
So this is Exuma as an even wilder young man in New York where he recorded another earlier version of Island Hog in 1967 for the Josie Label. On these two Brunswick sides from 1969 he´s wailin´and screamin´like all the Isley Brothers put together but with a Caribbean twist (and Shout, Pt.1 and Pt.2)…
Now, everybodde, let´s do the HOG, ISLAND HOG! Like ROCK´N´ROLL!!! OINK,OINK,OINK!!! EVERYBODY OINK OINK!!! SCREEEEEAm BABY!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaHHh!!!
For those who like the song I pieced Pt.1 and Pt.2 together for one long screamin´ Island Hog-a-thon…
One more thing I found about a possible reason for the name of the song:
Paradise Island is currently the most expensive place to stay in the Bahamas. The small island was not always so glamorous, however. Paradise Island in the Bahamas was once known as Hog Island and was a major site for farming in the Bahamas. Paradise Island in the Bahamas is situated near New Providence, and the two islands are connected by a bridge between Paradise Island and Nassau Harbor.
Hog Island first became Paradise Island in the Bahamas when the island was purchased by Huntington Hartford in 1959. Huntington was the A&P Supermarket Heir and paid more then $11 million for the island. Huntington was the first entrepreneur to begin developing Bahamas Paradise Island and built the first major hotel on the site. Huntington changed the name of the area from Hog to Paradise Island, and was also responsible for obtaining a gambling license for Bahamas Paradise Island. His opening of Paradise Island in 1962 was covered in Newsweek and Time magazines.
Paradise Island was purchased in the 1980s by Donald Trump for $79 million, then sold to Merv Griffin for $400 million. It was last sold for $125 million to the current owner, Sol Kerzner. The current estimated value of the island is about $2 billion USD.
Both the Beatles´Help! and James Bond´s Thunderball were partially filmed on Paradise Island.
Exuma named himself after a district of the Bahamas consisting of 360 little islands. He must have heard of Hog Island becoming Paradise Island too. That could have inspired his song. And could have been a possible reason for a little voodoo spell…