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Calypso Awakening Original recording remastered

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Oct. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • ASIN: B00004X0L2
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 536,717 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Saturday Night Blowout - John Buddy Williams Band
  2. Carnival Celebration - Small Island Pride
  3. Booboo Man - Lord Melody
  4. Federation - Small Island Pride
  5. No, Doctor, No - Mighty Sparrow
  6. Taxi Driver - Small Island Pride
  7. Tuning Of A Pingpong - Various Artists
  8. Yankees Gone - Steel Band Procession
  9. Yankees Gone - Mighty Sparrow
  10. Picong Duel - Mighty Sparrow
  11. Cowboy Sparrow - Lord Melody
  12. Reply To Melody - Mighty Sparrow
  13. Carnival Proclamation - Lord Melody
  14. Paye - Mighty Sparrow
  15. Turn Back, Melody - Lord Melody
  16. Teresa - Mighty Sparrow
  17. Come Go Calcutta - Lord Melody
  18. No Crime, No Law - Commander
  19. He No Dead Yet - King Fighter
  20. Bongo Man - Wrangler
  21. Neighbor Jacqueline - Wrangler

Product Description

Product Description

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 --

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Having been a Ska fan for many years, I wanted to expand outwards from Ska and started with this album. It is incredible and has led to many more purchases across the whole calypso age.
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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Format: Audio CD
There are so many great calypsoes released by Cook Records in this golden age of calypso. I'm very pleased that this CD now is available, but I really can't understand why exactly these tunes are chosen. They are OK but we're missing the cream from this period - I feel that they've chosen the wrong songs! I'm missing Sugar Pie, Antiguan Girls, Si Señor, Wau Wau (Shame and Scandal in de Family and many others by Lord Melody. And Bands like Johnny Gomez Orch., John Buddy Williams Orch. and Clarence Curvan Orch. recorded so many great instrumentals that should've been represented - tunes like Rip VanWinkle, Pa Deupe de Moin, Royal Jail, Skokiaan, Train Calypso and so. Nevertheless it's a great CD but please, make a volume 2 & 3 with the best recordings - there a plenty to choose from. This CD is concentrating on the boring side of Sparrow and Melody. - Peter Krog
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8debd4a4) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d26a240) out of 5 stars Full of energy! 17 Dec. 2003
By "Gimpy" Peach Johnson - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a remarkable achievement, both musically and technically.
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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8dbce5f4) out of 5 stars Gangsta Calypso 26 July 2003
By Lawrence Waldron - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This commercial release from the Smithsonian vaults a la the Cook Collection is a treasurehouse of some of the 50's hottest. There is a good sense of the spontaneous Calypso Tent experience, which as the magazine blurb above points out, was Cook's recording forte.
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d4e2e88) out of 5 stars A journey in time and space 7 Sept. 2005
By Mr. B. M. Woy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I ordered this CD after hearing a BBC Radio 4 documentary about the pioneering sound recording engineer Emory Cook earlier this year. The extract played was of Lord Melody singing "Boo boo man" in a calypso tent in 1956. I had never heard any recorded version of the song before as far as I knew, but I recognized it straight away and was overcome by a wave of nostalgia, because my mother used to make me and my sister laugh by singing it when we were children in the 1950s. I suppose she had heard the Harry Belafonte version on the radio.

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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d6cfe10) out of 5 stars An Ear-Opening Album 10 Jan. 2004
By CMG - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Be warned: before I purchased this album I had little interest in calypso. Afterward, I was a complete convert, and have been amassing a collection of historical calypso albums ever since. This isn't the somewhat sanitized Harry Belafonte calypso you may associate with the genre -- it's gritty, political, filled with social commentary ... a rich expression of Trinidadian life and culture.
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d6cda98) out of 5 stars Listening to the birth of Calypso 11 Mar. 2009
By A. Shamim - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I stumbled across this album only because I wanted to listen to some "island" music while on a recent vacation in the Caribbean. Like most people, my exposure to "Calypso" music had been limited to top 40 hits being played on steel drums at pool side bars.

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.)
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