Various Artists

Black Music Britain, Early Fifties, Vol. 1 Port of Spain Shuffle

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Migration of colonial West Indians to Great Britain began in the early part of the 20th century, but really took off in the immediate post-war years. Workers from Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica, and even Guyana poured into London, transferring their culture in food and music. Calypso from Trinidad dominated, forming the backbone for a mix of New Orleans jazz and a variety of rhythmic and harmonic elements from around the Caribbean and even Venezuela. Two of the music's biggest stars, Lord Beginner and Lord Kitchener, maintained the fame they first forged in Trinidad by becoming star attractions in England. Typical of the Calypso style, both singers kick off this collection of expatriate recordings with topical tunes taking in everything in from the London Underground to the Pound's exchange rate. Other vocalists like the Lion and Bill Rogers delight with wry and buoyant vocal musing of their own. Providing the superb musical backdrops are groups like Cyril Blake's Calypso Band and Grant-Lyttelton Paseo Jazz Band (the former throwing in some Afro-Cuban percussion into the mix and the latter reeling of some King Oliver-era Creole jazz instrumentals). A satisfying collection for fans of vintage Caribbean music.

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