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April 28, 2007


Daniel Neely

What a treat to visit and find this album blogged! It's a good one. To add to what you wrote, the author of Maintenance, Joseph Clemendore, was better known as "Cobra Man"; he was originally from Trinidad and came to Jamaica around 1953. In addition to being a singer, he was also a contortionist. In 54 or 55, he was involved in some kind of controversy that involved him mistakenly letting a cricket bat fly out of his hands during a performance (it hit a well-to-do lady in the head).

And a recommendation? The version of "Bloodshot Eyes" on this recording IS really nice, but an absolutely amazing version was recorded by Emory Cook in Jamaica in 1960 on the album "Calypso Jamaica." You can hear it on emusic:
The banjoist, Cecil Mitchell (better known today as "Motherless"), plays a really standout solo.


Also, "Bloodshot Eyes" was originally released by Hank Penny (as a country record in 1951) and Wynonie Harris (as an R&B record in 1951)--the Harris version is one of my favorite recordings ever.

Pinball King

I have another Lord Lebby album with a brown cover. Haven't heard it yet.


Cool stuff, this. You should never underestimate hotel bands. A lot of the best groups to come out of West Africa got their start as hotel bands.

Loving the extra history in the comments above, too. It does seem a bit subversive to be singing a song like "Bloodshot Eyes" to a bunch of sunburned rich people from Europe and North America, much less sending them home with a copy of it. A lot of calypso lyrics are way more extreme than "Maintenance," by the way. It was a more political, confrontational music than it gets credit for.

Lynette Gravesande

We are trying to find out what happened to Joseph Clemendore (cobra Man) - do you know if he is still alive or has living relatives? Please email if you know anything at [email protected]

Doc Reggae

The original version of "Bloodshot Eyes" was a 1951 rock and roll smash hit by US artist Roy Brown, who also composed "Good Rockin' Tonight", another smash later to cross over in a famous Elvis Presley cover version.
Roy Brown, as many early rock and roll artists, was popular on Jamaican dancehalls in the 1950s. He was one of the greatest rockers.

A version of Joseph Clemendores' "Maintenance" was also recorded by mento producer Stanley Motta (artist unknown).

Doc Reggae

Dionne Duncan-Francis

please could you give any information on Joseph Clemendore (Cobra Man) would like to know if he is alive and which contry does he reside in.

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