Various Artists

Independence Jump Up Calypso

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Before the rise of ska in the late '50s/early '60s, calypso was the music of choice in Jamaica. Calypso originated in Trinidad, but it had no problem spreading to Jamaica. One Jamaican who easily made the transition from calypso to ska and reggae was a DJ/label owner, Duke Reid, who put out some calypso singles in the '50s before focusing mainly on ska and reggae in the '60s. Reid revisited calypso in 1966, when he celebrated Jamaica's independence from Britain with Independence Jump Up Calypso. (Jamaica had become independent in 1962). Most of the songs on this enjoyable album feature Count Lasher, a talented but little known calypso singer, and other noteworthy contributors to the project include trumpeter Baba Brooks, and singer Count Alert. Lasher's noteworthy contributions to the date range from the exuberant "Jump Independently" and the troubling "Hooligans," to the humorously risque "Mufridite" (which warns against marrying a hermaphrodite). Originally, Independence Jump Up Calypso was a ten-song LP focusing on calypso exclusively; but when the French Jet Set label reissued it in 1998, it became a 14-song CD with four bonus tracks by Brooks -- all of them ska.

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