Johnny Chester: Melbourne singer, guitarist and songwriter who started out with the Chessmen in the late 50s, performing at dances he organised in the northern suburbs. Signed to Melbourne's W&G label, he had a number of Top 10 hits in Melbourne from 1961: see, for example, Shakin' All Over, one of his early hits (1962, #4 Melbourne).
Chester – "Chess" to his fans – became a disc jockey with Top 40 station 3UZ in 1966. He has also hosted TV shows and broadcast on Radio Australia. He built a successful national career in country music from the 1970s: he was Male Vocalist of The Year for three years in a row in the Country Music Awards (The Golden Guitars) 1981-1983. More recently he wrote Rebound: The Musical for the stage.
Further reading: Johnny Chester biography at JohnnyChester.com.
As discusion threads at Mud Cat Cafe show, the theme of the song is an old one, and there are many songs that tell a similar story. In a nutshell:
There was a mamma and a papa with one child alone
Who wanted to be married, have a wife of his own,
So he went to the papa, the papa said: "No,
The gal is your sister but your mama don't know.
[Lord Melody's version, 1962]
This page was written in consultation with researchers honeydhont and Joop Jansen.
Sung by Sir Lancelot in the 1943 movie I Walked With A Zombie. In the screenplay the song is referred to as The Fort Holland Calypso Song:
Ah, woe! Ah, me!
Shame and sorrow for the family!
The co-writer is presumably Ardel Wray, one of the writers of I Walked With A Zombie.
Also released by Sir Lancelot on Keynote label (see above).
Sir Lancelot was Lancelot Victor Edward Pinard (1902/3-2001), a calypso singer and actor born in Trinidad who worked in the USA from the early 40s.
The song has been recorded and reworked by numerous artists, with various titles and composer credits.
See the song's history at The Originals which lists many other versions.
Caribbean calypso singer, real name Fitzroy Alexander, active in the USA from the late 50s. He rewrote Scandal In The Family using the title Wau Wau, although the song has usually been known as Shame And Scandal In The Family.
Year of release? Sources differ:
c.1942: Craig Martin Gibbs in Calypso and Other Music of Trinidad, 1912-1962: An Annotated Discography [Google Books].
1946: Arnold Rypens at the Originals.
78 rpm record on Keynote label, #548, a studio recording of the song introduced in the film I Walked With a Zombie. Later released on Mercury c.1949 after Mercury acquired the catalogue of Keynote which closed in 1948.
The song comes off very different from its film incarnation, with a much more extroverted treatment and arrangement here. – Bruce Eder at All Music.
Single on Parlophone by British comedian (1933-2015).
It seems likely that this minor UK hit was the immediate influence on Johnny Chester's recording. (Thanks to Jon Stratton).
Charting single by perpetually reuniting British ska-style band that had a series of hits in the first half of the 80s, notably It Must Be Love, House Of Fun and Our House. On the album The Dangerman Sessions Vol. 1.
Thanks to Jon Stratton for version alert.
Single on Roulette by New York singer (1937-2016) better known later as a film and TV actor. Produced by Hugo & Luigi, the major producer-songwriters Hugo Peretti & Luigi Creatore who had a financial interest in Roulette Records and later co-founded the Avco label.
According to Bruce Eder, writing at All Music Guide, this was an influential version:
Peter Tosh and the Wailers, as well as the Blues Busters, copied Elliot's arrangement in preparing their own respective covers of the song.
A version by Dalida, Scandale dans la famille, charted #10 in France at the same time as Shawn Elliott's run on the charts there (July-August 1965). These French lyrics by Maurice Tézé were also recorded by Les Surfs and by Sacha Distel. The Wikipedia entry on the song lists versions in several other European languages.
Thanks to Erik Alm for chart research and version alert.
On live album Back In Town, recorded at famous folk venue The Hungry i, San Francisco.
Possibly influential version by pioneer Jamaican R&B-ska duo, Lloyd Campbell and Phillip James, formed late 50s, often working in the US with legendary reggae producer and promoter Byron Lee.
Reference: Blues Busters bio at All Music.
On early album Sings Ballads And Blues (1956) by major African-American folk artist, full name Odetta Gordon (b.1930).
Further reading: Odetta biography by Philip Van Vleck at All Music.
Early single on Island by important reggae artist Peter Tosh (1944-1987) and The Wailers, formed in early 60s Kingston with Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston.
Further reading: Peter Tosh bio by Jo-Ann Greene at All Music Guide