Kaiso No 17 - January 17, 1999

Greetings again from the Frozen North. Well, the weather is fairly balmy.  It is getting into the Teens and Twenties and while the rest of the country faces snow storms we are really without much snow at all.  So, warm Caribbean thoughts must be making it to Alaska.

Martin Luther King Day

This Monday is Martin Luther King Day and I was assembling a batch of calypsos to feature on my radio show tomorrow.  I am sure there are more but the following are the ones that I have in hand: Stalin's tune is something I try to play each year.  It was one of the songs he took to the finals in 1969 and remains as vivid today in its praise of Martin Luther King Jr.  Regrettably, it is not well known in the United States.  I do what I can to remedy that.
The Message of Martin Luther King (Leroy Castille)

Never lived by a gun, yet he died by one
This man Martin Luther King Senior son
A gentleman of high capability
Who never knew the meaning of the word enemy
But a man who devoted his life to fight
That all American Negroes should have civil rights
His works must be continued although he is dead
So Negroes don't forget the great things that Martin said

"Leave your guns at home, don't walk with weapons
For violence cannot solve the situation
We want the whites to know and believe wholeheartedly
We want them as friends and not as enemy
For as enemy would bring riot in this land
And that won't be good for no American"
Call him a Messiah, a genius or different things
But I say Martin was a King of all Kings

>From Texas to Florida, New York or even Georgia
The entire Negro population
Had Martin Luther King as their Champion
A man who stood tall and had no fear
And give more than 350 speeches a year
But how can we forget this blessed day
In the Civil Rights March listen what he say

"I have a dream, I have a vision
And this is what Martin made them to understand
In this vision this is what he see
One day black and white would be living so happy
Little black children and little white children
One day walking the streets of America as friends
>From the Black Hills of Dakota to Mississippi
Hand in hand in Racial Equality"

A man that all the world considered as wise
A man that was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize
Violence was never his way to fight
But made several prison terms for civil rights
I remember one day in Mississippi
A reporter put a question to he
Why must American Negroes get civil rights
And this was his answer to my delight

Is till their cotton fields to give their pockets wealth
Mind their babies and have them in the best of health
Took part in the Olympics don't care if we die
Just to keep the Stars and Stripes flying high
Uphold democracy in and out this land
From Germany to the foxholes of Vietnam
All this we did for America so faithful and true
So tell me why we can't eat in the same places like you.

Now Martin Luther is dead and gone
But I say that his good works must go on
For his business is now left entirely
In the hands of his wife and Rev.  Abernathy
These two must now fight wholeheartedly
To make Martin's dreams a reality
If not the whole but a part at least
Show the world where black and white could live in peace

So good luck Mrs.  King, good luck I say to you
I say every success in anything you do
Though it may take sometime but you must keep asking
That they must judge a man by his heart and not his skin
Because Martin once said that Time is nothing
But only how one use Time can Time be something
So now in the song of your dear husband "We shall overcome".

The Mirror

The Trinidad Mirror for January 8 printed an article I had written for the next issue of Carl Hall's So Ya Going to Carnival, where it is to appear shortly.  Called Calypso: A Musical Heritage in Need of Preservation it surveys the work that has been done and needs to be done in calypso research.

Delays! Delays!

John Cowley reports that the paperback version of his Carnival, Canboulay, and Calypso is to come out on February 4 in England.   Louis Regis's book on political Calypsos has been delayed again by University Press of Florida.  Currently, the exact release date is not known, at least by the book's author!

Ray Funk

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