Lord Burgess

Calypso Go Go

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Precisely why Buddah Records released this album -- which combines new recordings circa 1967 with material dating back a dozen years from the RCA Victor library -- in the early '70s is anyone's guess; someone in the company obviously thought it would sell given the respect accorded the artist, Lord Burgess. But whatever the thinking behind the decision, Calypso Go Go stands as one of the most delightful records in the whole Buddah/Kama-Sutra library. Lord Burgess (aka Irving Burgie) may not have Harry Belafonte's charismatic delivery, but he has a gloriously expressive voice, and in a sympathetic setting with spot-on accompaniment, he can do no wrong. And that's exactly the case with this album, which includes material dating from the mid-'50s (including songs that Burgie wrote for the film Island in the Sun). The combination of melody, humor, topicality, and lyricism is beguiling in the extreme, and shows all of Lord Burgess' strengths as a composer as well as a performer. And one of the new songs, "Lena Horne," is worth the price of admission by itself. Needless to say, this album -- released in 1968 -- hadn't a hope of achieving any massive popularity, and sold in none of the numbers that it deserved based on its musical merits. If any part of Buddah's catalog should have been reissued when the label was reactivated in the late '90s, it was this album -- but it wasn't. So it's worth tracking down as an LP in the 21st century.

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