If you are a copyright owner and believe that your copyrighted works have been used in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, here is our DMCA Notice.

« Bill Thompson: King of Wimps | Main | Out Of Context Cinema: 5 Minutes To Live »

May 20, 2007


Max Sparber

Thank you for this. Calypso seems at risk of falling exclusively into the hands of collectors, when it used to be a hipster party staple in the United States, which is why a movie star who really enjoyed a laid-back good time, such a Robert Mitchum, might record an entire album of authentic Trinidadian music, seemingly for his own amusement.

That being said, what Bob Mitchum would never be able to do is improvise song lyrics, something true calypsonians were quite proud of. I have several songs in which they boast of their improvisational rhyming skills, and one, in particular, where the singer distinguishes between calypso singers from Trinidad and the pretenders from nearby Jamaica. Jamaicans, he tells us in no uncertain terms, cannot rhyme extemporaneously.


Pls keep the calypso posts coming. On top of everything that's great about calypso, it's great to hear it with New Orleans polyphony. Don't think you can ask for more. <- it's all in russian, but the mp3s are all worth downloading. Esp Lord Kitchener's Bebop Calypso, which I guess goes with this post, but on the other end of the spectrum.

Clevil James

Hi Bob,

I enjoyed reading this piece on calypsonian Houdini.
I am a collector and fan of calypso music, especially those of the earlier times.
Pne of my favorite Houdini songs is "Arima Tonight".

We have a forum, listed in the URL above, where we discuss and share information on calypso, its origins, its history, its future. It would be an honour to have you as a member.
If you choose to become member, please contact me at the email address above, or visit the site and request membership.

Clevil James


my family and myself lived on Tobago for several years while dad worked on hotel plannng on construction [late 1950s]

most casual fans of Calypso forever connect it with majestic cruise "party" boats and such, however this was the music of the local townships-just as folk music is part of the Appalachians and serial gamalen music is part of the Indonesian experience

over the years, Calypso music has been dilluted by US Disco and Rock and soul and recently with Rap - there are still a handful of bands who do Calypso the real, "old-fashioned" way

we mustn't forget the large influence of steel drum (pan) bands on the music of Trinidad and Tobago - this acoustic music came about in the late 1920s and is about as addictive as any ever created by humans - thanks - harry


You may want to visit my blog
I have a lot of Calypso downloads available there--Duke of Iron, Lord Kitchener, Wilmoth Houdini, Sparrow, etc. If anything needs to be re-posted, please leave a comment and I will take care of it. We need to get this great music to a wider audience!


Thank you Clevil for the link to the yahoo group,

And to Ange for your great Calypso blog,

Quick note, also here on WFMU, Irwin Chusid devotes the last hour of his weekly program (Wednesdays at 2pm-3pm Eastern) to Calypso and Soca,


I'm far from an expert on Jamaican music (I am fairly knowledgeable however about Trad Jazz and Dixieland). Are you sure that's a Dixieland band and not a Mento band? I've got a couple of old Mento sides, and that band (especially the reeds) sounds more like Mento than any Dixieland I've ever heard.

The comments to this entry are closed.