Calypso Awakening Original recording remastered
Our product to treat is a regular product. There is not the imitation. From Japan by the surface mail because is sent out, take it until arrival as 7-14 day. Thank you for you seeing it.
During the late 1950s, calypso music in Trinidad was undergoing changes that reflected the island's political ferment. During that fertile period, Emory Cook, one of the pioneers of high-fidelity recording, was producing a sizeable and varied collection that he released on his labels. Cook was quite enamored of calypso, at least partly for its improvisational qualities, and he went out of his way to record more or less spontaneous musical and vocal interactions in their natural settings. The 21 tracks on this release draw from nine Cook Records albums to present some wonderfully uninhibited performances. Included here are rousing performances by Mighty Sparrow and Lord Melody, both individually and as a duo singing picong melodies (consisting of friendly impromptu insults, otherwise known as versifying). There are also humorous and ribald songs, as well as Commander's masterpiece of irony called "No Crime, No Law." -Paul-Emile Comeau --
Top Customer Reviews
The sleeve insert is extremely informative and the whole album gives great insight into the Caribbean and its people at the time.
If you're looking to experiment with Calypso - this is a must - buy it now!
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Musically, this is the real stuff--calypso music recorded on location in Trinidad by Emory Cook in the mid-1950s. It is vibrant, exciting music, reminiscent of early jazz. Although the lyircs to these pieces often critique very real social and political problems at the times ("Federation" and "No, Doctor, No"), others are bursting with humor ("Booboo Man"). Still, I find that this CD always puts me in a good mood. It's a great disc to pull out on a dull rainy day to spice things up a bit.
Technically, this CD is nothing short of amazing. These are not your typical historical field recordings. Emory Cook founded his own label, Cook Records (under which these titles were originally released) to show off his technical expertise in sound recording. These recordings are the ultimate in hi-fi! And, they are among the earliest stereo recordings. Long before it was possible to capture a stereo signal in one groove on records, Cook developed a type of record that required a double tonearm to track two separate grooves on different parts of the record. Each groove contained one channel of musical information, so when played simultaneously on a properly modified turntable, they provided the listener a true stereo recording-this in the early 1950s. The folks at Smithsonian Folkways (which acquired the Cook label in the early 1990s) have done an outstanding job remastering these stereo recordings for CD, and the result is a very enjoyable listening experience.
The accompanying booklet is also excellent, with extensive notes about the musicians and selections, printed lyrics, and photographs. Definitely recommended.
But we can easily forget that Calypso originated as a music to accompany stick fighting. Bongo Man (Bongo Night) by Wrangler might remind us of this with its frantic beat. But the lyrics on two of these songs is noteworthy. In Carnival Celebration, Small Island Pride makes himself out to be a Carnival hoodlum "To show you I aim for trouble, on mih right hand is mih steel knuckle." He goes on to tell us he's got an icepick in his left pocket and a fighting stick under his jacket. This guy is armed to the teeth and by the end of the song, he declares his willingness to die. In fact, he says, "I done pay off mih lawyer, so he could pay off mih undertaker."
Indeed, there were such characters stalking the Carnival back then and we find more and more of them the further we go back into Carnival's rebellious past. We can trace fighting songs all the way back to Africa but they have never occurred in such great profusion as in corporate Hip Hop.
The other unfriendly, but side-splitting, tune on here is the Picong Duel between Sparrow and his then boss, Melody, who ran the Tent that Sparrow sang in. The extemporaneous insults fly and you can decide who wins. Here's another pan African trend that's shown up in today's Hip Hop. The parallel is heightened further by the fact that this is not quite a friendly duel.
Because Sparrow would eventually leave Melody's employ and over the next few years would release a string of insulting tunes about Melody, among them Madame Dracula about Melody's wife. Check that one out on Mighty Sparrow volume 4. On that same CD, the last verse in Simpson (the Funeral Agency Man) also takes a potshot at Melody's ugliness.
No, the beef between these two guys, from all I've heard as a boy in Trinidad, was quite real. But no one ever got physically hurt.
Anyway, I was very happy to receive the CD, and enjoy listening to it. The exceptional quality of the sound recording in a "live" situation transports the listener in time and space, and you can imagine yourself as part of the audience in a calypso tent in Trinidad in the 1950s. The 30-page accompanying booklet is also very informative, including bibliography, discography, and the words to all the songs. Altogether an excellent product, of the quality one expects from the Smithsonian Institution.
The remastered sound quality of the recordings is excellent, easily the best I've heard. Buy this album by all means, but be prepared to discover that you've developed an insatiable addiction which will keep you shopping for more.
This album blew me away. It is a masterpiece. It brings you to the birth of Calypso in the 50's and 60's. It is fascinating to hear its roots of jazz and swing and how Calypso has influenced the development of modern day music. It is also a lesson in Calypsonian traditions and culture. You learn how important these talented artists were (and are), standing at the center of these peoples' culture and in being news messengers and social commentators. Although the recording quality is excellent, it is not perfect, which only adds to the feeling of being there and being brought back in time to hear history. Props to Emory Cook here.
All this aside, the album is just simply fun. The music is great, the stories even greater. I laughed out loud at some parts (particularly the song "Taxi Driver," which is entirely about a guy trying to register and then fix his car). The duels played out over several songs between Lord Melody and Mighty Sparrow are wonderful and represent the precursor of rap "contests" (or whatever they're called) of today.
This is raw, virgin, unadulterated, real, early Calypso. It is not the commercial calypso of Harry Belafonte or tourist calypso. If you simply love music (regardless if you're travelling to the Caribbean!), I can't more highly recommend this album.
(PS, I was so taken by this album that I bought the DVD, "Calypso Dreams," which is a relatively unknown documentary of Calypso music. There are terrific interviews with the greats, including Sparrow, Lord Melody, and many of the other greats.)