Carlene finds friend in ABBATuesday, September 14, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
ABBA is the hottest name in music these days. The Swedish super group, whose pop anthems like Fernando and Dancing Queen made them internationally-famous during the 1970s, returned to the British charts last weekend.
Don't Shut Me Down, one of the quartet's comeback songs, entered that table at number nine. Ironically, ABBA's biggest song in Jamaica was not sung by them; Carlene Davis' cover of their The Way Old Friends Do, holds that distinction.
Her soulful version, done as Like Old Friends Do, was number one in Jamaica for many weeks in 1983. The original was a live cut from ABBA's Super Trouper album, released in 1980.
Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaica's current entertainment minister, produced Like Old Friends Do for Orange, her label. It was arranged by Willie Lindo, who made his name in the 1970s as a session guitarist at Federal Records.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, he recalls laying tracks for the song at Channel One studio. During that session, he also lay tracks for Black Mother Prays by singer Jimmy Riley, another song done for Orange.
Lindo said it was Grange's idea to cover The Way Old Friends Do with a different arrangement. She was Davis' manager since the late 1970s when both were living in Canada.
They returned to Jamaica in the early 1980s with breaking Davis in Jamaica among Grange's priorities. In 1981, Davis hit the charts with the Lindo-produced Stealing Love on The Side, originally done by American soul singer Paul Kelly.
Stealing Love on The Side was a big launching pad for Davis but it was eclipsed by Like Old Friends Do which stayed number one on Jamaican charts for numerous weeks and remains Davis' biggest hit.
ABBA split in 1982. Jamaican fans warmed to their music for almost 10 years with songs like Knowing Me, Knowing You and Chiquitita.
Don't Shut me Down is one of two new songs they released after a 40-year absence. The other new song, I Still Have Faith In You, debuted on the British chart at number 14.
Both songs are from ABBA Voyage, the group's new album which is scheduled for release in November.