1. London Is the Place for Me 2; Calypso & Kwela, Highlife & Jazz from Young Black London
|(Honest Jon's, 2005)|
Just found this, and have to lead with it: a fan's recent stopmotion animation of the epochal title track of the first installment of this compilation series.
I love this, ventriloquism of Lord Kitchener's just-off-the-Windrush voice through a "white" figure and all. (Creator "gamebundle" notes in the comments that "...the brown clay is harder to keep intact....If I could do it again, I would.")
As for v. 2 -- it's inevitably less of a revelation than the first, which was also pretty carefully cherry-picked, but still pretty great. Standouts are Kitch’s “My Wife’s Nightie,” in which a young lady with whom dallies while his wife is away steals said item, and Mona Baptiste’s “Calypso Blues” especially given that the previous volume included no female artists. Also intriguing are two calypsos that take stands pro (King Timothy) and con (Young Tiger) bebop, apparently a hotly debated topic in the black British musical community c. '53.
[Sidebar: These also extend “Kitch’s Bebop Calypso” from the first volume – which is itself performed by Lord Flea in the bizarre 1957 exploitation flick Bop Girl Goes Calypso (link is to the trailer, it's worth a glance), though the cast otherwise consists of the likes of Bobby Troup (wrote “Route 66,” married Julie London after Jack Webb) and Judy Tyler (Elvis’ costar in Jailhouse Rock, who died the same year both movies were released; she was actually a Rogers and Hammerstein discovery, and performs the styles relevant to this movie as unconvincingly and offensively as any musical-theater type I have ever seen.) Note to self: Read this Carribean studies paper that opens w/ a discussion of the movie.]
Disc is filled out by instrumental tracks, which are swinging and in some cases edifying (I, at least, know very little about kwela). Oh - great cover, too.
[And yes, this is very much on the long side of what I'm intending to do.]