Neville Marcano

The Growling Tiger of Calypso - The Alan Lomax Portait Series

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Most of this was recorded by Alan Lomax in Trinidad in 1962, with a traditional-styled band backing Marcano with flute, fiddle, guitar, bass, and percussion. It's pretty well-recorded, Marcano is in good vocal form, and the band has a fine loose, informal vibe. This largely sticks to songs about romance and gently moralistic tales, getting into more serious territory with "War" (sung with Lord Iere and Indian Prince), with its references to the atomic bomb. The tunes have Marcano's trademark minor-key melodies, yet they're sung and played in a jovial style that makes them rather uplifting. Two tracks recorded at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival -- Marcano talking at length about calypso music, and an a cappella "Atomic Energy Calypso" -- are tough to enjoy because of the mediocre fidelity and dry unaccompanied vocals.

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