Courtney John goes 'Crazy'Thursday, October 14, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
The Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk continues its month-long feature titled 'Cover Me Good'. It will look at songs covered by Jamaican artistes which became hits.
Courtney John remembers sitting in his dentist's office and hearing Paul Davis' I Go Crazy coming through the speakers. It was soothing enough to ease the most painful extraction.
In 2000, John covered the blue-eyed soul classic with a reggae lilt. It was enthusiastically received in Jamaica where he started his music career as Yogie.
“It was the idea of a girlfriend of mine to cover the song. I used to hear the song on the radio so I was very familiar with it,” John recalled in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Two years earlier, he broke through with That Was t hen, an easy-listening rocker that rode local charts. I Go Crazy had a different feel but confirmed the talented singer was no one-hit wonder.
Mississippi-born Davis entered the Billboard Magazine Hot 100 pop chart with the original in the summer of 1977. It stayed in the publication's Top 10 for nine months, a record at the time.
For his version, John recruited drummer Sly Dunbar, keyboardist Steven “Lenky” Marsden, bassist Delroy “Wormbass” Niven and guitarist James McCollum for a subtle chance in mood.
“I changed the melody up a little and made the production more of a reggae ballad,” said John, who was surprised when I Go Crazy took off in Jamaica.
“I never really had any expectations for it. It was my first cover and it was really a favour for my friend. But I was pleased with the response from the Jamaican audience,” he added.
Davis was one of the great exponents of blue-eyed soul. He had several follow-up hits during the early 1980s including Cool Night and 65 Love Affair; he died in 2008 from a heart attack at age 60.
Courtney John — whose favourite reggae cover is Alton Ellis' Willow Tree — has five albums to his credit. His previous set, Ecosystem, was released in 2017.