The Best and the Worst in Calypso Culture

Peter Ray Blood (The Guardian) recently published a controversial list of the best and the worst in the Trinidadian musical sphere, knowing that it would spark debate, “especially among calypso lovers.” Here is a partial list (of “best evers” and “most evers”) with Blood’s explanatory paragraph:

For some time I’ve had a list of the Best (and Worst) Ever Musicians, Calypsonians, Bandleaders, Entertainers, etc, compiled by cultural researcher Dr Kwame Nantambu, with assistance from Dr Hollis Liverpool (Chalkdust).

Best ever calypso arranger: Bertram Inniss

Best ever calypso producers: Leston Paul, Rawlston Charles, Straker Granville

Best ever ethnically-mixed calypso monarch of all time: Dougla

Best ever calypso at a Dimanche Gras final of all time: Federation by Sparrow

Best ever and longest skit at a Dimanche Gras final: Denyse Plummer’s Nah leaving

Most ever Dimanche Gras finalist of all time: Chalkdust

Most ever recipient of calypso monarch title of all time: Sparrow

Best ever longest (unbroken) reign as calypso monarch: Duke (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971)

Best radio/television personalities: Don Proudfoot, Bob Gittens, June Gonzales, Frank Prado, Bobby Thomas, Ken Gordon, Russell Winston, Ed Fung, Trevor Mc Donald, Peter Minshall, Hazel Ward

Best ever female radio MC of all time: Auntie Kay

Best ever popular calypso of all time: Education by Sparrow

Best ever Road March of all time: Jean and Dinah by Sparrow

Best smut calypso of all time: Bang, Bang Lu Lu by Sparrow

Best ever love calypso of all time: Rose by Sparrow

Best ever calypso to dance to of all time: Only a Fool by Sparrow

Best ever drunken calypsonians: Jaguar, Spoiler, Cristo, Dougla

Best ever humorous calypsonians of all time: Spoiler, Funny

Best ever humorist calypsoes of all time: Magistrate Try Himself by Spoiler; and, Farmer Brown by Funny

Best ever political calypsoes of all time: PAYE, Leave meh damn doctor, Federation by Sparrow; Sinking Ship by Gypsy; Eric Williams Dead and De Driver Cannot Drive by Chalkdust

Best philosophical calypsoes of all time: Who Will Guard De Guards and Progress by King Austin; Dan Is De Man In De Van, Old Man And De Donkey, Survival by Sparrow; Life Is A Stage by Bro Valentino; Never Ever Worry by Pretender; Nature’s Plan Johnny King; and, Black Is Beautiful by Duke

Best ever horn calypso of all time: Yuh Looking for Horn by Shadow

Best ex tempo calypsonians of all time: Unknown, Pretender, Executor, Relator, Gypsy

Best ever female name in calypso of all time: Maria

Best ever female calypsonian of all time: Rose

Best ever matured entertainer: Machel Montano

Best ever improved calypsonian of all time: Karene Asche

Best ever Africa conscious calypsonian of all time: Ella Andall.

Best ever insult at a Calypso Fiesta show: Denyse Plummer—nuff said.

Best ever dressed calypsonians of all time: Spitfire, Terror, Duke

Best ever dance/theatre personality of all time: Beryl Mc Burnie

Best ever choreographer of all time: Aubrey Adams

Best ever calypsonian/R&B singer: Sparrow

Best ever calypsonian to sing in a foreign language: Sparrow

Best ever calypsoes re: New York: Sparrow Come Back Home, Wabeen & Grogg and Labour Day in Brooklyn by Sparrow; Mas in Madison Square Garden by Kitchener; and, Lorraine by Explainer

Best ever internationally-known calypsoes of all time: Rum and Coca Cola by Andrew Sisters (1944); and, Hot, hot, hot by Arrow

Best ever teacher calypsonians of all time: Chalkdust and Luta

Best ever poem/calypso of all time: Ten To One Is Murder by Sparrow.

Best ever calypso composer/writer of all time: Reginald Joseph (Piggy)

Best ever calypso re: daily life in T&T of all time: Old Lady Walk Ah Mile And Ah Half And She Tay-Lay-Lay by Kitchener

Best ever calypso against Euro-colonialism of all time: London Bridge by Sparrow

Best ever calypsoes on cricket: Victory Test Match by Beginner; and, Cricket Champions by Kitchener

Best calypso on race relations: If you’re not Black, White by Kitchener

Best ever patriotic calypsoes of all time: Portrait of Trinidad by Sniper; Model Nation by Sparrow; and, Trini to de bone by David Rudder

Best ever family calypso of all time: Boo Boo Man by Melody

Best ever uplifting-conscious calypsoes of all time: High Mas by David Rudder; and, Missing Generation by Ella Andall

Best ever picong calypsoes re: female (wife) of all time: Madam Dracula by Sparrow versus Belmont Jackass by Melody

Best ever calypsoes re: visitors to T&T of all time: Ms Tourist by Kitchener; and Stranger by Shadow

Best ever calypsoes re: Africa of all time: Dey Ent See Africa Yet by Chalkdust; How many more must die by Duke; Shaka, Shaka by Bally; Ganges & The Nile by David Rudder;
Birth Of Ghana by Kitchener; and Stay Up Zimbabwe by Bro Valentino

Best ever Shango calypso: Bongo Man by Wrangler

Best ever Orisha/African conscious songs of all time: Sango, Bring Down the Power, Song For The People, Rhythm of the people and Alado ye by Ella Andall

Best ever innovative calypsonian of all time: Lord Shorty’s Endless Vibrations (1971 LP that invented soca music)

Best ever trend-setting calypsonian of all time: Super Blue’s Get Something and Wave.

Best ever reggae calypsoes: Ras Mas and Rasta Chick by Explainer

For full article, see http://guardian.co.tt/features/entertainment/2010/10/15/best-and-worst-culture

Photo of Dr Hollis Liverpool (Chalkdust) from http://guardian.co.tt/features/entertainment/2009/01/18/chalkie-plans-save-calypso

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