Companion CD to a prior Rounder anthology devoted to classic calypso, these 16 cuts present formative songs from 1912-1937. The music is still emerging from a confluence of American dance band sounds, African and Afro-Latin rhythms, plus Caribbean social situations and influences. As carnival became an entrenched celebration within the Caribbean community, the songs composed to be performed during that time came to be known as calypso. The anthology includes early performances by such calypso heroes as Atilla The Hun, Wilmouth Houdini, Phil Madison, Julian Whiterose and Sam Manning. Vocal styles, instrumental backing, lyrics, arrangements and production are quite unsophisticated and uneven on the early cuts, but a sound and unified approach began to appear in the middle section and is quite evident by the final numbers.
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AllMusic Review by Ron Wynn