Crossover & Blue-Eyed Calypso




The initial calypso craze, tourism, and periodic revivals of calypso (for steel pan, limbo, etc.) kept the sound of the islands in the public ear for decades. It was believed to threaten rock and roll, and vice versa. Eventually Hollywood updated the lurid voodoo flick of the pre-War era with lush, full-color pictures featuring stories of interracial romance and labor struggle. And where there were movies being made and the wealthy on vacation, there were actors and singers falling in love with island culture.

Some of the "golden throats" who recorded include Robert Mitchum, Marty Robbins, and Mamie Van Doren. West Indian folk crooners, such as Harry Belafonte and Andre Toussaint, interpreted calypso music. Even the man known today as Louis Farrakhan, who counts among the more or less authentic calypsonians recording in New York, got into the act. As the "Calypso Charmer," he would alternate stand-up comedy with calypso in the same performance. His "Is She Is or Is She Ain't" is a hilarious, truly excellent song about a case of transvestism.

In rock, Cadets leader Aaron Collins recorded Calypso, USA on Hollywood's notorious, budget Crown label, which also paired bongo-rocker "Lord" Preston Epps with Louis Polliemon. Gary U.S. Bonds did Calypso Twist, Chubby Checker made two "limbo" albums, and the Ventures recorded "Sloop John B." Some Latin and exotica stars wrote or covered calypso songs. Elvis' "Ipo Eats" is a calypso from one of his Hawaiian-movie soundtracks, but as the Fabulous McClevertys say on one of the best calypso albums, "Don't Blame it on Elvis."



[Partly] Crossover & Blue-Eyed Calypso LPs

Rating
7Cuarteto D'Aida: Evening at the Sans Souci; RCA Victor LPM-1532; 1957 (female vocal quartet w/Chico O'Farrill orchestra; "Matilda" is the only calypso)
8Aki Aleong & the Nobles: Come Surf With Me; Vee Jay SR-1060/VJLP-1060 ("Mary Ann--Come Surf With Me")
3John Arvin Quartet: Calypso Carnival
5Glen Auna & the West Hawaii Revue; Keamo Productions U-80197 (Hawaiian/lounge act/calypso/disco; "Just Hang Loose")
6Pepe Bayard et Son Orchestre: On Tour in Haiti; Ansonia ALP-1442
4Harry Belafonte: Calypso; RCA Victor LPM-1248; 1956
5Harry Belafonte: Calypso in Brass; RCA Victor LSP-3658; 1966
5The Blue Bomber Steel Band & Lord Blackshirt: Night Life Trinidad; EMI/One-Up OU02917; 1973 (4 Lord Blackshirt songs, rest steel-band instrumentals)
4Gary U.S. Bonds: Calypso Twist
2Dave Burgess & his Caribbeans: Calypso in Hi-Fi; Tops L-1565
7Candido: Calypso Dance Party; ABC-178; 1957
2King Caribe & his Steel Bandits; Masterseal 1822; 1957
7The Jimmy Castor Bunch Featuring the Everything Man: Supersound; Atlantic SD-18150; 1975 ("Bom Bom")
6Grace Chang: Hong Kong's Grace Chang; Capitol [of the World] T-10272 ("I Love Calypso")
7Presenting Caprice Chantal; RCA Victor LPM-1552; 1958
5Chubby Checker: Limbo Party; Parkway P-7020; 1962
5Chubby Checker: Let's Limbo Some More; Parkway P-7027; 1962
5Chubby Checker: Beach Party; Parkway P-7030; 1962
6Aaron Collins: Calypso USA; Crown CLP-5028
Xavier Cugat
8Don Cunningham Quartet: Something for Everyone (overrated rarity reissued as Ubiquity LP-038; 2003)
6Johnny Desmond Goes Calypso; Coral 57129 (w/Dick Jacobs; not standards; e.g., 3 by Rod McKuen)
5Al Donahue: Cruising Along with Al Donahue; Bandstand-Bermuda BLP-101 (big band w/island tunes; vocals by Lloyd Simmons)
5Mamie Van Doren: The Girl Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll ("Go Go Calypso"); Rhino RNLP-70819; 1986
3The Fabulous Calypso Bandits; Palace PST-686
7Chico O'Farrill y orquesta: Brisas del Caribe; Orfeon LP-12-168 ("Matilda"; con Girardo Rodriguez y sus Tambores Bata; cantan Romelio Rodriguez, Chico Andrade, Tono Montane, Tono Jimenez)
3John Greenwood & the Islanders: Let's Limbo; United Artists UAS-6289
9Hilo Hattie at the Hawaiian Village; Paradise HH-100 ("Television")
8J.C. Heard: Calypso for Dancing; CBS/Epic LN-3348 (jazz drummer/singer/dancer/actor)
8Martha Jean Claude y su grupo de Calipso Haitiano: Canciones de Haiti/Haiti's Songs; Armada & Rodriguez ARO LP-131 (jacket: Songs of Haiti; Haitian/calypso/calypso-merengue)
7Jeannie Hoffman: The Folk-Type Swinger; Capitol ST-2021 ("Jamaica Farewell")
8Herb Jeffries: Devil is a Woman; Golden Tone C-4066 (also reissued)
5Muir Mathieson: Fire Down Below ST; Decca DL-8597 (title sung by Jeri Southern, Jack Lemmon on harmonica; stars Rita Hayworth & Robert Mitchum)
4The Merrymen: Caribbean Treasure Chest; WIRL 1015
The Merrymen: Beautiful Bermuda; Edmar ELPS-1053; 1966
3The Merrymen: "Caribeat"; Capitol ST-6183; 1966
5Ernesto San Miguel w/Lord Burgess' Calypso Carnivaleers: Calypso Carnival; Tops L-1568
6Ernesto San Miguel w/Lord Russell's Bongo Percussionists: Caribbean Holiday; Al-Fi C-4078
7The M.I.T. Logarhythms Sing More of Your Favorites, Vol. 3 10"; RCA Custom; 1957 (acapella; 3 calypsos)
6Robert Mitchum: Calypso is Like So!; Capitol T-853 (green-label original/black-label promo)
7Enid Mosier & her Trinidad Steel Band: Hi-Fi Calypso, etc.; Columbia CL-928
6Ivy Pete & his Limbomaniacs: Limbo Party; Somerset SF-17600
4The Playmates Visit the West Indies; Forum F-16001
5Louis Polliemon w/"Lord" Preston Epps: Calypso Trinidad; Crown CLP-5031
9Josephine Premice: "Caribe"--Josephine Premice Sings Calypso; Verve MG V-2067
8Josephine Premice Sings Calypso; GNP Crescendo GNP-24 (w/Norman & Armstead Shobey, bongo & conga)
3Marty Robbins: Island Woman; Columbia CS-8976
Edmundo Ros
7Roger Smith: Beach Romance; Warner Bros. WS-1305; 1959 ("77 Sunset Strip" star; golden throat/calypso/exotica/Latin)
4Andre Toussaint: Treasured Moments with; Bahama BR-49; 1965
Ruth Wallis
6Paul Winter: Esoterica for Everyman (jacket: A Winter's Tale--Songs to Make You Thimk(sic)); Offbeat 4010 ("Tired Blood")
7Various: Afro-Drum Carnival; GNP-25 (Josephine Premice's "Tierra va tembla")
7Various: Calypso; Grand Award GA-33-352 (Count of Monte Cristo/Congo Bey, Ink Spots, Monarchs, Pat Mathews, Stu Phillips)
7Various: Calypso--Volume II; Grand Award GA-33-357 (Duke of Iron, Sir Lancelot, Pat Mathews, Count of Monte Cristo/Congo Bey, Monarchs..)
Various: Calypsos from the West Indies; Monogram 834 (w/Louis Farrakhan)
9Various: Don't Touch Me Tomato; Sounds of the Caribbean SLP-727 (w/Louis Farrakhan)
7Various: Fire Down Below--Music with a Calypso Beat; Mercury MG-20287 (Sarah Vaughan, Rusty Draper, Georgia Gibbs, The Diamonds, David Carroll, Louis Jordan, Chuck Miller, Nick Noble, Richard Hayes, Xavier Cugat, The Gaylords, Lola Lee)
5Various: Jamaica [Original Cast]; RCA Victor LOC-1036; 1958/1957 (Lena Horne/Ricardo Montalban vehicle w/3 calypsos by Josephine Premice)
7Various: TransAfrica MusicMakers Vol. 1; Shade FM-005 (UK African/calypso/calypso jazz/Latin; West African Supersonics, OK Jazz Band, West African Rhythm Brothers, Rans Boi, Amrose Campbell, Ali Ganda, Brewster Hughes)
7Various: Waikiki Swings; Hula HS-520 (reissued as Capitol/Tower ST-5101; Don Ho, Kui Lee & Nani Lee, Alvan, Zulu "The Coed Song"--calypso, Sonny Chillinsworth)


Crossover/Blue-Eyed Calypso 45s & EPs

Rating
5Aki Aleong: Trade Winds, Trade Winds/Without Your Love; Reprise R-20,021
7Luis Amando: Calypso Joe/Trinidad-E-O; Encino 1006
6The Barry Sisters: The Door is Open/Big Dilemma; Cadence 1326 (B-side crossover calypso)
7Claude/Christian/Raymond/Jean-Louis: A Night at La Nicoise Restaurant; Mark Custom MC-8923 (lounge act/French/blue-eyed calypso; 7" stereo compact-33 by staff of DC French restaurant; Introduction, L'Amerique, Aux Champs Elysees, Big Bamboo, Dar Lidada)
7Eartha Kitt: Somebody Bad Stole de Wedding Bell; RCA Victor EPA-570; 1954 (w/Henri René; title song calypso)
9Eartha Kitt:Put More Wood on the Fire/I'm a Funny Dame; RCA Victor 47-6267 (A-side calypso w/bongos)
6The Versatones w/Tito Puente: Calypso Blues/Cubana Bay; RCA Victor (single & B-side of Perry Como promo EP 47-6819/DJ-69)


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