Collection : Calypso Craze : 1956-57 and beyond

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Calypso Craze : 1956-57 and beyond
Document status
6 CDs + 1 DVD + livre 175 p. (texte en anglais)

Coordonné par Ray Funk et Michael Eldridge
Recording period
1934 - 2002
Year published
Access type

Geographic and cultural informations

States / nations
Populations / social groups

Legal notices

Booklet author
Ray Funk et Michael Eldridge
Legal rights
Restreint (enregistrement édité)

Archiving data

Mode of acquisition
Copy type
Related documentation
Livre (texte en anglais, 175 p.)
Collection status
From late 1956 through mid-1957, calypso was everywhere: not just on the Hit Parade, but on the dance floor and the TV, in movie theaters and magazines, in college student unions and high school glee clubs. There were calypso card games, clothing lines, and children's toys. Calypso was the stuff of commercials and comedy routines, news reports and detective novels. Nightclubs across the country hastily tacked up fishnets and palm fronds and remade themselves as calypso rooms. Singers donned straw hats and tattered trousers and affected mock-West Indian 'ahk-cents.' And it was Harry Belafonte -- not Elvis Presley -- who with his 1956 album 'Calypso' had the first million-selling LP in the history of the record industry. No wonder reporters and marketers joined the trade journals and fanzines in declaring a 'Calypso Craze.' In fact, by the time 'Variety' announced "Hot Trend: Trinidado Tunes" (on the cover of its December 26, 1956 issue), the Craze was already well underway. How calypso came from Trinidad to America and found such celebrity, vying seriously (if only fleetingly) with rock 'n' roll for the affections of the nation's youth, is one of the stranger tales of modern popular music. This collection offers an overview of calypso's
slow rise, heady prominence, and precipitous fall in America and beyond in the period surrounding the Calypso Craze of 1956-57.

The set comprises six CDs, covering the following topics:
Before The Craze: Calypso Hits Of The 1930s, 40s, And Early 50s
Belafonte And Calypso -- Before And After Calypso
Calypso Goes Pop (...and R&B, Rock 'N' Roll, Folk, Country, Comedy,
And Jazz)
Calypso On Stage And Screen
Calypso 'Across The Pond': The Calypso Craze In England
Mondo Calypso: The Calypso Craze In The Circum-Caribbean And
Around The World
Performers include such surprises as:
Louis Farrakhan, Maya Angelou, Robert Mitchum, and Fess Parker
Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong, and Hazel Scott
Nat 'King' Cole, Eartha Kitt, Rosemary Clooney, and Fred Astaire
Hank Snow, Tito Puente, Stan Freberg, and the Norman Luboff Choir
and 'blue-eyed calypsos' written by Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, and
Harold Arlen
Also represented are:
Trinidadian calypsonians Lion, Atilla, Radio, and Caresser; Beginner,
Invader, and Kitchener; Terror, Cristo and Panther
Trinidadian expatriates Wilmoth Houdini, Duke of Iron, Sir Lancelot, and
MacBeth the Great
Other West Indians (and Bermudians) such as Lloyd Thomas, Lord Flea,
Lord Foodoos, Mighty Zebra, The Talbot Brothers, Sidney Bean, Hubert
Smith, Blind Blake, Enid Mosier, The Eloise Trio, Edric Connor, George
Browne, and Frank Holder
Folksingers The Tarriers, Terry Gilkyson and The Easy Riders, Stan Wilson,
and The Kingston Trio
Bonus DVD:
Unseen in over 55 years -- a 'Calypso Craze' feature-length film never
before issued on video or broadcast on television: 'Calypso Joe' (Allied
Artists, 1957), starring Herb Jeffries and Angie Dickinson, and featuring
Duke of Iron and The Easy Riders
Four short 'soundies' from the 1940s and 50s, with Sam Manning and 'Belle
Rosette' (Beryl McBurnie), Broadway and big-band singer Gracie Barrie
covering Stone Cold Dead In The Market, and Lord Cristo and the March Of Dimes Quartet
Last modification
July 4, 2016, 10:22 a.m.
Items finished
Conservation site
CREM : phonothèque

Technical data

Media type
Audio et vidéo
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Jaquette du coffret
Consulté le 01.07.2016
Enchainement d'extraits
Consulté le 01.07.2016


Title Digitized Recordist Location Year of recording Code
[A renseigner] Trinité-et-Tobago CNRSMH_E_2016_033_001_001