Monday, May 17, 2021

VA - Calypsoul 70 Caribbean Soul & Calypso Crossover 1969-1979 [2008]


VA - Calypsoul 70 Caribbean Soul & Calypso Crossover 1969-1979 [2008]

Calypso music, best represented by Lord Kitchener and in pop circles by Harry Belafonte, was quite a force in the Caribbean islands during the 1950's. In the '60s and '70s, it had fused with various other nearby Latin musics, rhythm & blues dance forms, disco, and the CTI funky jazz sound. The upbeat African music of Fela Kuti, U.S. groups like Tower of Power and Stuff, and the JB Horns backup section of the James Brown bands ran parallel to these styles. You can clearly hear a healthy sharing of dialects in all of these ensembles, threaded through the fibers of this potent, happy, positive music. There are 20 different groups represented here, giving you a decade's worth of soul sounds done with a Latin flavor, and beefed up by dramatic horn charts that shout to the sky in a liberated mindset, proud to be alive and living in sun-drenched, oceanic tropical climates. 

The best of the best include Boris Gardiner's 6/8 beat on "Negril" done Manu Dibango style, the sonorous "90% of Me Is You" by Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Orchestra, the furious "Guanavaco" by French-Caribbean star Marius Cultier forged by strong montuno piano, and a hot horn section shouting to the rafters on the jazz-oriented instrumental "Calypsoul" by Clarence Curvan & His Mod Sounds. Running as close seconds are the funky jazz-laced "Blackness of Darkness" by Cedric Im Brooks, the 6/8 soca sound infused by flutes and a sidereal organ sound during "We See Jah" by the Antiguan reggae band Wadadli Experience, and the legendary Cuban group Los Van Van led by Juan Formell doing the flute-driven dance party tune "A Ver Que Sale." Of historical importance is the "rapso" spoken word tune "Yo Tink It Sorf?" by Lancelot Layne, Biosis Now doing "Independence Now" from the solidarity film soundtrack A Nation Is Born, Gardiner's tune from the movie Every Nigger Is a Star, and the teaming of Guyana pianist Dennis De Souza with the Goretti Group featuring Maria Alonzo's singers on the sweet soul-gospel piece "Of My Hands." Also notable are the cover of the Barrabas song "Woman" by Sambo, the great singer Duke (formerly Mighty Duke) on the deeply resonant and hip "Freedom in Africa," the Herbie Hancock "Chameleon"-based slow funk "Magic Fever" by the Magic Circle Express, the rocksteady reggae of Tyrone Taylor on "Move Up Blackman," the cadence-lypso on the slow-burn music of Ophelia during the evocative "Red Light Lady," and the Fela-like horn-fired doobity-doo-refrained "It's a Feeling" by St. Maarten's the Rolling Tones. While calypso is not as extant as the multitude of other influences on this collection, it gives a broad picture of how those off-islander world elements changed the face of Caribbean popular music forever. (AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos)

This is excellent. Wonderfully compiled. Highly recommended. 



Track list

01 Revolution of St. Vincent The Little You Say 3:43

02 St. Maarten’s the Rolling Tones It’s a Feeling 4:35

03 Juan Formell & Los Van Van A Ver Que Sale 3:02

04 Clarence Curvan & His Mod Sounds Calypsoul 3:28

05 Lancelot Layne Yo Tink it Sorf ? 3:23

06 Boris Gardiner Negril 2:54

07 Magic Circle Express Magic Fever 3:27

08 Checkmates Disco Groove 3:53

09 Biosis Now Independent Bahamas 7:29

10 Tyrone Taylor Move Up Black Man 3:25

11 Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Orchestra 90 % of Me is You 3:31

12 Hondells Raycan 3:39

13 Marius Cultier Guanavaco 2:56

14 Gemini Brass You Don't Love Me 3:03

15 Sambo Woman 3:36

16 Wadadli Experience We See Jah 5:50

17 Duke Freedom in Africa 5:14

18 Cedric 'im' Brooks Blackness of Darkness 5:23

19 Ophelia Red Light Lady 3:51

20 Goretti Group With Dennis De Souza Trio Of My Hands 3:08



  1. Thanks for this wonderful calypso comp!
    It's alwaus rewarding listening new styles.