Ethan Crenson @ 78rpm : O Calypsonian

78rpm enthusiast Ethan Crenson presents a selection of Calypso tracks, all played directly from original shellac pressings.
"Calypso music arose from the island of Trinidad. The music was topical, competitive and lively. Popular singers of Calypso erected their own thatch-roofed tents during Carnival season and charged admission. When a singer visited his competitor's tent, there was often a "war". Two singers in a cutting contest, extemporizing rhyming couplets often based on the news of the day, the people assembled in the crowd, or on descriptions of the singer's own prowess. "For veteran Calypsonians are known to be, Men who can sing on anything instantaneously", a singer is quoted rhyming in the liner notes to an album of Calypso 78s from the 1940s.

In the 40s Calypso invaded the US, and more to the point, New York City. Calypso performers took stage at the Village Vanguard. Sir Lancelot performed there in his signature tuxedo. Duke of Iron played engagements there for a full 10 months. In December of 1946 Alan Lomax organized 2 "Calypso at Midnight" concerts at New York's Town Hall. And there were recording sessions.

Among the artists, Trinidadians include: Sir Lancelot (Lancelot Victor Edward Pinard), Lord Beginner (Egbert Moore), Duke of Iron (Cecil Anderson), Lord Invader (Rupert Westmore Grant), Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts), Macbeth the Great (Patrick McDonald), and The Lion (Hubert Raphael Charles). But Calypso also took hold in other locations. From Bermuda came Sidney Bean and the Talbot Brothers. And from the U.S. a dancer at the Cotton Club, Murial Gaines became a popular Calypso singer. There is also the "Calypso Jazz" amalgam represented here by the little known Jack Sneed.

A final offering is not Calypso at all, but it is island music. The Orchestre De La Boule Blanche played Biguines from the French island of Martinique in the early 1930s."

1) Sir Lancelot - Atomic Energy [charter 102] {1947}

2) Lord Beginner (Egbert Moore) w/Felix and his Internationals - Norah the War is Over [disc New York 5008] {1946}

3) Duke of Iron et. al. - Jam Session (Duke of Iron, quatro; Victor Pacheco, Violin; Gregory Felix, clarinet; Modesto Calderon, bass) [Stinson 105-2] {?date}

4) Muriel Gaines the Enchantress with Sam Manning's Serenaders - You Got To Have Power [national Records 8001] {1945}

5) Lord Invader (Rupert Grant) Felix and his Internationals - Yankee Dollar - Disc New York 5008 {1946}

6) Lord Kitchener acc. by St. Vincent Street Six - Too Late Kitch [lyragon 720] {1953}

7) Jack Sneed and his Sneezers - West Indian Blues [decca 7566] {1939}

8) Lord Invader (Rupert Grant) Felix and his Internationals - New York Subway - [disc new york 5009] {1946}

9) Sidney Bean and his Trio - Collegian Invasion [bermuda 2003] {?date}

10) Archie Talbot - The Gombey Dance [bermuda talbot brothers T5] {?date}

11) Roy Talbot - The Coronation Story [bermuda talbot brothers T5] {?date}

12) MacBeth the Great with Gerald Clark and his Original Calypsos - Rufus Hold Me Tight - Guild 136 {1945?}

13) The Lion with Gerald Clark and his Original Calypsos - Excursion [guild 136] {1945?}

14) Sir Lancelot - Old Woman With a Rollin' Pin [charter 102] {1947}

15) Sir Lancelot with Gerald Clark's Caribbean Serenaders - Trinidad is Changing [keynote 549] {?date}

16) Orchestre De La Boule Blanche (sous la Direction de Charlery Banguio) - Maladie D'Amou - [columbia DF 428] {1931}

17) Orchestre De La Boule Blanche (sous la Direction de Charlery Banguio) - C'est Biguine - [columbia DF 428] {1931}

*Note to audophiles: The absurdity of transferring 78rpms to mp3s does not elude us any more than the absurdity of "capturing" an audio moment in flux and presenting it frozen as a rare artifact foreverafter.
We reflect upon both the desire for audiofidelity and presenting the state of these artifacts. The turntable used is a Esoteric Sound Ramses II turntable which appears to be a modified shell of a Technics 1200 though instead of direct drive it employs a belt-driven system.
No noise reduction and only slight EQ adjustments were made in the transfer. Enjoy the surface noise! -r.r.