Kaiso No 2

Greetings and welcome to Kaiso No 2 - and though I did not get a lot of response, what I did was positive and I will try to keep this going at a roughly weekly level.  I am not sure how that will go but you all need to understand that this is rough and excuse typos, etc.


Herskovitz recordings - Don Hill is hard at work on the second volume set of the Herskovitz recordings.  This one is entirely Spiritual Baptist recordings from Toco in 1939.  I want to put him in touch with Mervyn Williams - anyone have his address, phone and, if he has one, e-mail address?

Raw Kaiso Two - Michael Goodwin reports that he has sent off all the materials for a Second volume of Raw Kaiso from Rounder, this one featuring a Brigo and Rio concert.


New Beacon Books in England reissued Errol Hill's Trinidad Carnival not long ago.  A classic that everyone must have!

Meanwhile Keith Warner's Kaiso will be back in print soon from ??, the successor to Three Continent Press.

Louis Regis's book on political calypso in Trinidad is due out this fall from Univ of Florida Press.


This lyric is from the calypso booklet famous for the Rum and Coca Cola court battle and goes out to K Warner who is looking for all the calypsos that discuss films - this one several film songs.  Coming soon a list of film appearances by calypsonians.  I am working on Lion lyrics this month and have a working text of maybe half from various printed sources and now doing some.
1942.  Text in 1943 Victory calypsos

Of all the modern songs we have heard I know
They can hardly cope with some of those from long ago
Take climb upon my knees Sonny boy
That's one of the songs that filled my heart with joy
But the one who made this song should be in paradise
And the six feet of earth made us all of one size

Now I'll mention few of them without delay
As when the blue of the night meets of the day
Appearing was the number, dawn of tomorrow
And pack up all your cares and woe
Remember all alone by the telephone
And even show me the way to go home.

In the big broadcast, Bing Crosby crooned this song with ease
Oh please, lend a listening ear to my plea
Swanee River and Old Black Joe we can't forget
And put on your Easter bonnet
Every race have got a flag, we know was deemed first class
And you can't burn the candle at both ends to last
Then we had the Ten Commandments, Mother McCray, The Rosary and
On the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond

You remember shipmates stand together forever
And I did not train my boy to be a soldier
And by every one this song was eulogized
Its creole baby walk along with rhythm in her eyes
Vivacious was this number and a real good swing
T'was when the red red robin came bob bob bobbing

A space in this cavalcade we must allow
For I wonder who's kissing her now
And I love to whistle, whistling makes me happy
Especially when you're near me
Those how about the shades of an old oak tree
And carry me back to old Virginy.

Who's Who:

I put in a call to Almanac and have started to get a better impression of his career and put together a compilation tape of his recordings that I have largely from radio broadcasts of the tents.

Almanac (Anthony Francis, born 20.8.42, St Lucia)

Veteran blind calypsonian who was a regular in the tents from the '60s to the '90s, although he has only released a couple singles.  Born in St Lucia, he moved to Trinidad as a child and is a Trinidadian citizen.  He started singing when only 15 years old.  He had his first break in 1960 when he auditioned with Sparrow for a funding raising concert for victims of Hurricane Donna.  Sparrow encouraged Almanac, saying he had potential and that started him on the road to a lengthy career in calypso.  He first appeared at the Independence Tent in 1962 singing Almanac's Dream and Wabeen Government.  In 1963, returned to the Independence Tent singing Keep Your Business to Yourself.  He appeared on television on Scouting for Talent and also had a regular night club spot in St James at the Pepper Pot for several months.

While he continued to compose, he did not return to the tents until 1968 when he began a nine year run at Kitch's Revue.  In 1968 he sang Irresponsible Mothers and Carnival '68.  He returned in 1969 with Carnival Pan and Love for Money.  In 1970, it was his risqué Leather Haunting and Grandfather's Advice.  For '71, it was No Ways Different.  And in '72 Facts of Life.  In 73 he participated in the Buy Local competition singing The Buy Local Argument and False Prophets.  For '74, he sang Unfair Treatment and Disenchanted Youth.  He sang Carnival Controversy and Do You Approve in '75, and ended his run at the Revue in '76 with Build a Better World and No Man Works Alone.  He joined Stalin's Calypso Court in 1977 and sang Save the Children.  He returned in '78 to the new Kingdom of the Wizard tent where he sang four songs, reprising Save the Children and singing Bow Wow Wow and his Tribute to Maestro.   He was again at the Kingdom of the Wizards in 1979 with Sweet Exotic Soca Music which was later recorded in 1980 and released as a single in 1981.

Though he continued to compose, he did not perform in the tents again until 1983.  That year he was at Sparrow Young Brigade for the next six years and made it to the monarchy semifinals with Will I and Best Republic.  In '84 it was What is Macho and Find a Way.   For '85, he sang West Indian Girls and Mr Society.  In '86, he did PCC Affairs on the City Council scandal.  He wrote two songs that were sung by Ailene Ligar(sp?) who won the award for most promising female with ??, In the Name of Democracy and Tableau of Lottery Ticket.  Regrettably, she never lived up to that promise.  She sang Until in 1987 and Smart Cashier in 1988.  He did not perform in '89 or '90 but returned in 1991 to the Vintage Calypso Tent to sing Question Is.  He did not perform in '92 or '93.  His last year to date in the tents was 1994 when he performed at Kaiso House singing Save the Family, If It was Me about Kitch's refusal of the Cachonia Gold medal and Why You Sit.  He was to put out his first album, Simply Classy, cassette only, in 1994 but finances prevented its completion.  He celebrated his 23rd annual concert at the Mas Camp Pub on July 17, 1998.


Last week's question - Both John Child and Don Hill had the Lion 12 inch for the Pope.  But nobody offered info on the Sparrow stamps. New questions - Is there a registry of death certificates in Trinidad so that I can get info on birth and death dates?

On the Web:

While looking for a piece on Haitian music, I came up with the connection to the Miami based New Times the weekly entertainment magazine which is a chain and this interesting piece though it takes lots of patience to read down all dozen web pages to read the full story.


Write me!!!

The key to this is to send me info, lyrics, support, tapes to trade, etc!!!! Still looking for others who would be interested in getting this.

Ray Funk

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