San Francisco (California), USA – The Rough Guide to Calypso Gold (RGNET1213CD) is now available. The anthology of the best Calypso from Trinidad from rare early recordings up to the zenith of the 1950s calypso craze. From the 1920s legendary string orchestras through the forties with the emergence of King Radio, to the worldwide recognition of Calypso in the fifties with Lord Pretender, and the legends Lord Kitchener and The Mighty Bomber, The Rough Guide to Calypso Gold delivers a taste of real Calypso.
Amongst the legendary line-up this compilation features Sam Manning, one of the earliest Calypsonians to achieve international acclaim. His recording career was launched in 1924 with the release of ‘Amba Cay La’. The melody of the song comes from an ancient stick song from the ‘Canboulay Era’ (1870—1890). ‘Rum & Coca Cola’ is probably the most loved and widely recorded calypso, and has been covered by numerous artists worldwide, including Barry White and Julio Iglesias, just to mention a few. Performing the track here is the uncontested ‘Calypso Queen of the World’ Calypso Rose.
Lion was always impeccably dressed and known for his lion-headed cane. He sung and composed of all the major types of calypso. Lion also wrote ‘Nora’, sung by Relator. This calypso, recorded in the UK and dealing with homesickness, is reputed to have been the most famous calypso of 1950s, its popularity stretching from the Caribbean all the way to West Africa. Lion and Atilla, worked occasionally alongside Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee whilst residing in New York. Atilla, Tiger, and Beginner also recorded under the title of The Kiskedee Trio. Atilla is also featured on this CD on ‘La Reine Maribone’ (‘Queen Wasp/Bee’), recorded in 1936, and Tiger with ‘The Gold In Africa’, also from 1936. This song dealt with Benito Mussolini’s Italian army invasion of Ethiopia the year before Emperor Haile Selassie was forced into exile in the UK. Tiger suggested that Mussolini was after the Emperor’s wife. Tiger’s 1979 album Knockdown Calypsos was nominated for a Grammy award.
Caresser’s recording career was launched with the immensely successful and popular ‘Edward The VIII’, based on King Edward’s abdication of the throne for his true love, Mrs Simpson. Legendary King Radio is known far and wide for his ‘bouncy’ tunes. ‘Man Smart Woman Smarter’ still remains popular among listeners and recording artists, among whom The Carpenters recorded a version in the 1970s. ‘Mathilda’ is his most popular kaiso of all time, released in 1938.
Lord Pretender was a master of improvisation and, if given a topic, he could immediately provide and sing choruses and several verses without preparation. Considered the ‘last of the golden age singers’, Pretender is represented on this CD with ‘Human Race’. Lord Kitchener’s other nicknames were no less than ‘The Boss’, ‘Genius’, and ‘Master’. In 1947 he sang his popular ‘Green Fig’ for US President Harry Truman. ‘Ah Bernice’ aka ‘Kitch, Come Go To Bed’, created such an impression on Princess Margaret that it is rumored that she went out and bought a hundred copies of the lyrics.
A pioneer in disseminating calypso outside Trinidad, Lionel Belasco’s first records were made in 1914. He subsequently made numerous other recordings in the US and in Britain. Belasco and his band recorded at least 278 songs under his own name between 1914 and 1945. Belasco is part of this CD with ‘Blow Wind Blow’. Houdini heralds in what is considered the second phase of recorded calypso, and is featured with three songs: ‘Caroline’, ‘Uncle Jo’ Gimme Mo’’ and ‘Blow Wind Blow’ He provided the vocals on the latter with Belasco’s Orchestra.
Also featured in this compilation are Duke of Iron, Sir Lancelot, The Mighty Bomber and Cyril Monrose with his Monrose’s String Orchestra.
The CD contains a data track that includes music and travel from the Rough Guide books.
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Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central