Kaiso No. 1

Greetings!  I have decided to issue a weekly newsletter on calypso research.  Anyone who doesn't want to receive these tell me and I'll delete you from the mailing list.  Anyone you think would like to be added to the list tell me and I will add them.  

This is an easy format to send a weekly message that I wish someone was sending me with news on the calypso front, concerts, reissues, lyrics, etc.  Anyone want to add stuff then send it on and I'll incorporate it.  The purpose is to get out the latest news, ask questions, find things I don't know, etc.  Hopefully this will encourage all of you to e-mail me more often.  My new job as a district court judge keeps me very tied to Fairbanks and I need more messages from the outside world.  So send me calypso mail!!!

Herskovitz recordings:

Don Hill is producing a series of exciting reissues for Rounder of the 1939 field recordings of Melvin J and Frances S Herskovitz in Toco in Northeast Trinidad.  The first of these, Peter was a Fisherman, just came out.  A total of around ten volumes are planned and Rounder has been excited about it enough to try to work from the original discs at Indiana University.  Not only calypso, they also the earliest body of extensive field recordings that survive from Trinidad.

Who's Who:

John Child and I are beginning the work on a calypso who's who.  I plan to add as a regular feature of the Kaiso newsletter to submit draft listings for various artists.  Additions, corrections, etc sought.  Here is Allrounder:

All Rounder (Anthony R Hendrickson, born 17.10.39, Trinidad)

Calypso is a Hendrickson family affair with wife Wilma composing and managing and two of his four daughters, Dianne (Lady Wonder) and Shirlane, doing background singing as well as pursuing their own solo careers.  His day job is as a fish vendor in Port of Spain's George Street.  "I pass through three great schools of calypso," All Rounder told T&T Sunday Guardian in Feb.  '93, "the first was the Growling Tiger, the second was the Lord Kitchener, and the third was the Mighty Sparrow.  I learn melody and lyrics from the masters".  Noted for upholding the tradition of humorous kaiso: "calypsonians are getting lazy," he said in '89, "that is why you see a (jam and wine) calypso using one word 95 times.  Humour is a lot of work."

Also renowned for his outrageous presentations, for example, he dressed as a women to perform All Men Not So (1988) in reply to Singing Sandra's Die With My Dignity (1987).  Says he made his tent debut at 9.50 am on 6 Jan.  '67, in position five, introduced by Lord Melody at Kitchener's Calypso Revue belting out My Little Brother Charlie with "mih knees bucklin' and mih belly jumpin' up and down," to four encores; issued debut single of the calypso backed by Tribute to Sir Frank on Telco that year.  Remained with Revue until '72; sang Independence and Watch the Law in '72 Independence competition; switched to Veterans tent '73, while there reached Calypso Monarch semi-final and won Buy Local crown with Woman Stronger and Foreigners Love We Local.  Moved to Calypso Theatre tent '74-5 managed by Syl Taylor (Sparrow's manager at the time); returned to Monarch semi-final'74 and placed third in Buy Local contest '74 with Key to Success.  To Sparrow's Original Young Brigade tent '76-8; won North Calypso crown '76; sang Rabby Win '77 and achieved reserve status in that year's Monarch final; in '78 performed Jaitoon and reached Monarch semi-final.

Went on his first foreign tour with Sparrow late '70s accompanied by Lady Wonder, who'd made her pro debut as a chorus singer with Sparrow's tent '76.  From '79 spent a decade with CDC and NCC tents Calypso Theatre and New Wave Theatre; considered the "father of the NCC tent", he says he likes being among the newcomers and getting the opportunity to some pass on tips; won Calypso King of the World title in St.  Thomas '83-4.  Placed fourth in Monarch final '84 with The Miracle Baby and top ten hit Keep Fit Man (written by Wilma), giving an amusing spin on the aerobics craze, which was issued as a 12" on Ibis and in the UK anthology This Is Soca '84 on Oval; sang Vision of Cypher and Clean If Yuh Cleanin' in '85 Monarch semis and participated in Calypso for Africa recording that year; selections Don't Sing About That and All Men Not So took him to '88 Monarch semi-final; also a finalist in the national Extempo contest '88.  Witty Innocent Jimmy (a Wilma and Shirlane co-composition included in the mini-album Whey Going On! '89 on Crosby's and anthologies Calypso Season '89 on London and Heat In De Place '90 on Rounder), about disgraced US charismatic TV preacher Jimmy Swaggart, was a big hit during '89 Carnival season; helped him reach Monarch semi-final and won the Arima Road March.  

He and Lady Wonder made UK debut at Socalypso '89.  Sang in Mecca tent and qualified for semis '90; in cast of NCC's Kaiso House '93 singing I'm Not Happy and My Ting (both included in album with Lady Wonder Here to Stay '93 on Straker's); placed sixth in first National Soca Monarch contest '93.  Spent three seasons with Kitch's Revue '94-6.  Had soca parang hit Laramania during '95 Christmas season, cheekily linking the popularity of the Trini cricket superstar Brian Lara with the veteran Lara Brothers parang group; issued in 12" format on Crosby's and compiled on CD Trini Christmas is the Best on Carotte.  1996 selections Respect the Anthem and Trinbago Babu included in various artists collections on JW Productions and JMC.  Returned to Kaiso House '97, there performed Yuh Lie and Burglar Proof Yuh Bum Bum included in CD Klub Karnival: Carnival '97 Hits Volume 2.  Suffered a mild heart attack '97; recovered for a successful '98 season with Kaiso House culminating in twelfth position in Monarch final with Why Me and The Slap.

Lyrics Section:

I am working hard on getting as many lyrics as possible for calypsoes on my computer database.  I need help! I am happy to receive xeroxes of printed lyrics, transcribed ones, etc.  Here is one that appears to not be recorded but one wonders if Shadow ever heard the first verse!

Small Island Pride - As Time Hard I Goin' In For Farmin'
(1952).  Text in Guardian, 23 January 1952, p. 3

Next year ah done with calypso singin'
Ah changing up me plans, ah goin' in for farmin'
Ah want two old forks, a spade and a hoe,
Two ole khaki pants an is fete for so;
And I rentin' piece of lawn up in Tabaquite
And I plantin from provision right back to meat.

Chorus: Because I fritten of this food situation
Like Britain want to kill us out with starvation

Ah hear they talkin' about black market,
Let me food bare you goin' hear the racket
First thing ah billin is a ole jupa,
To hide me food from the food controller,
An I sending for a hound dog quite in Jamaica,
One must name Lion and one must be Growler
And I setting couple man-traps aroun' the place,
Let dem controllers peep in me place.

Well if de war over let them controller go,
And let me live on me dasheen and ochro
Well if the war over let them controller go,
And I going get me rice right to me door.
Ah tired me people with water in their eyes,
Bawling how the high cost of living gone up sky high.
And these controllers ain't got nothin' to say,
But B.  G.  threatening to take our rice away,
And they so bold face to say that in all,
Jus now we ain going get no dam milk at all.

A stevedore fellow was explaining me,
About the food situation of this country
He said he pan so much salt beer in this island,
Don't talk about potatoes and some fat onion,
De poor wife walk till she foot catch gall
And up to now she ain' taste de salt beef at all.

Well to control foodstuff in this island
De control board must be run by calypsonian,
As King Iere blin' I'll make him food controller
An as Radio can't see he'll be bookkeeper.
And as Terror eyes bad I wouldn't work him hard.
I'll make him chief inspector of the custom guard.
And as Spoiler done like he rum,
I'll put him in charge of our rum bond.

Discographic Research:

One of the record labels that I am in need of more information is Antillana.  I am interested in all releases regardless of whether calypso, steelband, combo, etc.  I am not sure where they started, ended or who ran it.  As you can see I am missing info on lots of releases.

Antillana label - Singles:

Internet News:

Caribbean Beat, the inflight magazine for BWIA has its David Tindall article from Jan/Feb 98 issue on Kitchener with photos at: www.readcaribbean.com/sample/kitchener.html

Questions, questions:

I am filed with questions as I sit in Fairbanks trying to understand calypso.

Lion and the Pope - Lion sang for the Pope when he visited Trinidad and issued a twelve inch single at the time in '85.  I need full info on it and a tape if possible.  The lyrics are in Lion's book.

Postage Stamps - Trinidad issued a Kitchener postage stamp in 199? and in 1995 Grenada issued stamps of both Ajamu and Sparrow.  I have copies of the Kitch and Ajamu stamps but not of the Sparrow.  Have there been any others?

Ray Funk

Top of page Articles Home Page Reviews News Editorial