Various Artists, Calypso Kings and Pink Gin
A wallflowers' view of the goings-on inside a Port of Spain carnival tent, circa 1957.
A solid cross-section of the day's leading calypsonians — King Solomon, the Mighty Cypher, the King Fighter and the improbably-named Chaing-Kai-Sheik — joined Lord Melody, Mighty Sparrow and a shifting array of small bands to record this wallflowers 'view of the goings-on inside a Port of Spain carnival tent, circa 1957. The proceedings are off-the cuff and informal; King Solomon sings to the accompaniment of a single guitar (check out his curt dismissal of Harry Belafonte, which rounds out the album), and the calypsonians alternate between insulting each other — or themselves, as Lord Melody does on "Creature from the Black Lagoon" — and chiming in on one another's choruses. But the album was also a showcase for Emory Cook's engineering skills; it's recorded so well, you can hear the cocktail glasses clinking in the background.