Sir Lancelot

Trinidad Is Changing

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Those who remember Sir Lancelot as either an actor or singer, or who love calypso music in general, will probably have to own this vintage collection of classic sides recorded between 1942 and the early '50s. On the early sides, featuring the singer backed by Gerald Clark's Caribbean Serenaders -- a group that knew its swing music as well as its island music -- Lancelot's voice is even sweeter and more melodious than one remembers it from his film appearances, and also a lot more powerful, as he doesn't hold back the way he did in the movies. The result is a much more emphatic and unbridled brand of calypso music than one remembers from his film appearances, even as he does one of the songs from those films, "Scandal in the Family" from Val Lewton's production of I Walked With a Zombie" -- the song comes off very different from its film incarnation, with a much more extroverted treatment and arrangement here. Several of the other songs are highly topical and even political, the CD opening with the patriotic and idealistic song "The Century of the Common Man." The audio quality ranges from good to excellent, with rich detail in the tone and nuances of the playing and singing, and a minimum of noise. The annotation is also extremely thorough and enlightening, though since it was written some more of Lancelot's music has surfaced on CD.

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