Fall Of Man
Calypsos on the Human Condition
For something that fits on a single CD, this is almost overwhelming. Twenty-five calypsos, sung by Trinidad tent superstars, backed by Gerald Clark and his Caribbean Serenaders and recorded in New York, from 1935-1941. It may sound exotic to the extreme, but it really isn’t, and that’s really the stranger part. The music on here is well on par with other recordings from the time — not exactly hi-fi, but better than you might expect. I’m sure a lot of that is a result of digital signal processing technology (thank you ones and zeros!). The music is tropical in a big band way, but the singers are Islands all the way — you might need to consult the extensive lyrics and liner notes every once in a while to fully catch a lyric. The uniting theme of these songs, as pointed out by the title, is the “human condition.” Some highly analytical prose in the liner notes explains it better than I could, but I’ll summarize: the lyrics of these songs reveal that people are pretty much all the same, whether in the US at the millennial cusp, or in a sugar plantation in Trinidad before the War. A jolly good time!
Rounder Records, 1 Camp St., Cambridge, MA 02140; http://www.rounder.com