I haven’t written a Trini music post in more than a minute, so excuse me while I get back to my island roots.

Living in the U.S and A, I find myself listening to much more hip hop, R&B, rock, and soul than ever before. But I was raised on a diet of calypso and reggae, thanks to my dad’s impressive record collection. Now that I am no longer at home, I honestly don’t listen to calypso or soca as much as I did. Sometimes I feel out of touch with my own culture, especially when it comes to knowing the hottest tunes for Carnival every year. I might not be up to date with all the new stuff, but I definitely keep the old stuff in regular rotation. I might sound like a cantankerous old Trini when I say this, but they really don’t make ’em like they used to. Classic calypso endures with me because it takes me back to growing up. If I put on the right song, it can mentally revert me to being eleven years old, watching my daddy select what disc to slide on the turntable next at our annual Old Year’s Night party. Good old days.

I remember moments like that whenever I listen to one of my favorite calypsonians of all time — Lord Nelson, AKA Nello, AKA the Disco Daddy. See this album cover here?

We had this in my house growing up. And never once did it occur to me, this man has a striking resemblance to The Penguin.

How could I have missed that for all these years? I mean, down to the monocle and all!

Lord Nelson is considered one of the architects of soca music — his songs have always been fun and vibrant — party music. On this list of the 100 top calypsos of the 20th century, they ranked La La at number 30, but one of my favorites, King Liar at # 58. King Liar is a great example of classic calypso music — it’s a slow pace and focuses on lyrics and the Trini art of picong. I think that’s where I got my love for songs that tell a story — old time calypso music was all about storytelling. This is one of the funniest ever and just about any Trini will probably agree… but when I play this stuff for my husband and he understands roughly a third of the lyrics. So he doesn’t fully appreciate the humor, but you can click here to listen for yourself.

What made Nelson a legend, was his ability to blend genres. Disco Daddy obviously was soca’s take on the Seventies — click here to watch Nello being raunchy as ever at age 77, performing that hit. In 1998 he did a remake of his Eighties hit We Like It, with Machel Montano. That song is available on Machel’s album Charge, which is unfortunately unavailable on Amazon. That is frequently the most frustrating thing about writing about the music I grew up with — it isn’t on the internet! The only available CD I could find of Lord Nelson is this Best Of collection, which isn’t being sold through any of the traditional online stores. If you like what you’re hearing, check it out.

Lord Nelson holds weight with some of the longstanding calypso legends — men like Lord Kitchener (who Lily Allen sampled for LDN), and The Mighty Sparrow.

The song that inspired me to write a whole Throwback Thursday post about a relatively obscure Caribbean music legend? Mih Lover. This is my American husband’s favorite calypso by far, which says quite a bit to me — this is a song that crosses cultural boundaries. The lyrics are clear, the pace is perfect. It makes you want to dance even if you’re not familiar with island music. And the chorus can make a whole party raise their drinks and sing along, “Oh, let’s have a good, good time.” If I had to make a soundtrack of my life, this song would definitely have to be on it. I know my island music posts hardly ever get comments… but this feels like such a part of me, I just had to share it with all of you.

Mih lover – Lord Nelson

Click here to add it to your musical library, and when your friends compliment you on your eclectic world music taste you can just smile coyly and say, thank you. I’m worldly like that.

And on that note, I’m goin to Chicago to “have a good good time” of my own! I’ll be back with freshness come Monday. Have a fabulous weekend, each and every one of you!

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Enigma says:
July 24, 2008, 10:35 am
Like you said before if I see you in Chicago I'll say hi. Lots of things to do here especially it being summer time. Have lots of fun. But I understand what you are talking about feeling out of touch with my culture. My mother plays outdated calypso cds in her car constantly and I enjoy because it takes me back to a very very simple time in life. I don't know how it is in Trini but in Barbados they have become so Americanize that the radio stations doesn't sound like you are on an island but no matter what we love our calypso!
Seymone says:
July 24, 2008, 11:12 am
I know I liked for some special reason.. Hey my fellow Trini.. LOL. Thanks for this post.
Christiana says:
July 24, 2008, 2:20 pm
Hi - to stay up to date with the latest calypsoes I subscribe to the "Izatrini" podcast. The stuff is hot!! enjoy ; )
b. says:
July 24, 2008, 2:46 pm
Ah, picong. So I gather it's the same as "playing the dozens" or what I always called "pickin'". So funny how that's found all over (so it seems to me); I'm from NC.
pets says:
July 24, 2008, 5:12 pm
King Liar! yes that one is really great..Lord Nelson is a very good performer & does not let age keep him back...thanks for the memories..
Ash says:
July 24, 2008, 8:47 pm
Nice! I dibble and dabble in all genres of music so it was nice to see/listen to something not so familiar to me. Ah yes, America. Land of no true culture (in my eyes). What is even more interesting is that "commercially mass produced music" of today is shallow in all cultures. My Trini, hispanic, asian, black, middle eastern and white friends' parents all say the same thing..."music just isnt the way it used to be." I agree! There's nothing better than "the oldies." Thanks for the post.
Dad says:
July 24, 2008, 9:13 pm
Great post, great music. The story goes that Nelson was enjoying himself at a night club in the States when he heard someone singing calypoes by the Mighty Sparrow. Unimpressed, he went on stage and voiced his disapproval, claiming that it was not the way Sparrow sings . He then did a good imitation of Sparrow only to find out that it was inded Sparrow on stage singing his own calypsoes. Anyway, they soon became fast friends and ''Nello'' became a fixture at Sparrow's annual calypso tent in Trinidad. Nello is a great performer, whose music (and here I must add that most of his tunes were composed by Kelvin Pope, the Mighty Duke, another great calypsonian)compels you to listen and dance. Although he was born in Tobago, being an American citizen caused him a lot of problems whenever he returned home, If you listen to ''Foreigner'' you will get the story. I am glad that you still appreciate classic calypsoes and that you could still remember the ''ole time days'' in Trinidad. I hope that your other readers will take the time to listen to the tunes you selected. Look, I think I am going now and play the whole damn CD. Love always, Dad
Dad and Mom says:
July 24, 2008, 9:57 pm
Hi this is Mom. I throughly enjoyed and related to your post.It touched a cord in my heart; It reassures me that you have not forgotten your roots.GOOD FOR YOU. Love, Mom
conflicted says:
July 24, 2008, 10:00 pm
Thank you Thank you Afrobella for bringin back Lord Nello. I personally cannot wait until I get married one day. For Mih Lover is the ultimate wedding song. More than electric slide or corny tiny winey. I have always said that this will be the first "breakaway" song of my reception. Oh thanks for the "memories" of the future. LOL. ...Meh lover, A good relation is a relation based on trust....Meh lover whoa, let's have a good good time!
zee says:
July 24, 2008, 11:43 pm
Alright now...dont go ragging on Tiney Winey. That is a classic LOL. Thanks for posting this Bella! You know who I used to love? Baron. My parents still have his records tucked away somewhere. Baron is awesome.
zee says:
July 24, 2008, 11:46 pm
And may I add that I love when your parents respond to your posts. Its the sweetest thing :)
Marc Lewis says:
July 25, 2008, 4:05 am
Big big tune!!! This song brings back memories of being on the dance floor with my parents at the first big house party they threw. I was doin' my little two-step looking up at them dancing and thinking "That's what Love looks like"
Patrick Jnr. says:
July 25, 2008, 8:03 am
Lil sis thanks for the beautiful post! You know how I always harass you about calypso!! I was just listening to King liar here in the office, counting down until I can escape work and go lime! It warms my heart to see the responses, I hope you can turn on more of your readers! I'll take a drink for you later at my usual spot, love yah!
Starr says:
July 25, 2008, 11:09 am
The album art is cheesetastically awesome lol. But anyway, thanks for posted this. I love music history and tidbits. Plus, you made my day a little better. Work's been rough but calypso, soca and reggae make me think of where I tend to be the happiest--in the caribbean. So thanks for that. I work at a hip-hop mag but I think I'll be blasting this today while telling my co-workers to bug off as I imagine lying underneath a palm tree on the beach in [St. Martin], sipping rum from a coconut. gangstarrgirl.blogspot.com
InnerDiva says:
July 25, 2008, 1:50 pm
Fellow Trini! I grew up listening to Sparrow and WLIB radio. I remember going to see David Rudder at South Street Seaport when I was about 15, and I just saw Sparrow last summer in concert with Morgan Heritage and Machel Montano. My boyfriend plays Baron in the car constantly. I agree, soca and calypso now sound nothing like what we were raised with. Have you heard Sparrow's McDonald's commercials? Like he really eats egg Mcmuffin for breakfast...Maybe if it has some saltfish in it. Oh, and I listen to all the new music on www.torontolime.com. If it wasn't for them I would have been lost at DC carnival. By the way, Sparrow and Machel have a song out called "Congo Man."
Dad and Mom says:
July 25, 2008, 1:51 pm
Me again; I am glad someone mentioned Baron, who has some of the swetest melodies in calypso. His ''Soca Man'' is a must at every fete and is as much in demand as ''Mih Lover''. You must give your readers a taste of Baron soon. They will love him. D
clivia says:
July 26, 2008, 10:27 pm
This is one of my favorites too...him and Roaring Lion's Netty Netty
AlooFar says:
July 28, 2008, 3:58 am
This is definitely a blog after my own heart ;) Hi
MissGina says:
July 28, 2008, 9:45 pm
I grew up on soca and calypso too. My mom is Trini (Dad is from Grenada) but I love some Kitch and Sparrow. I will ask my Mom why she didn't play more Nelson. I agree with your Dad about Baron. I also understand your frustration about not being able to get more classic soca/calypso cd's from places like Amazon and even iTunes.
Dovefly says:
August 1, 2008, 9:02 pm
Yess bwass!! tune dey thanks post some more like this nah :)
RPJS says:
August 3, 2008, 2:27 pm
Great post Afrobella! I like Trini music, Jamaican though I am! See my post on "A ale of Two Socas: J'ouvert and SOS!" (rawpoliticsjamaicastyle.wordpress.com). Would love to hear your thoughts in relation to how you guys play mas and wuk up, as the Bajans would say! Laterz!
The Connoisseur says:
December 2, 2008, 11:27 am
Ok, I know I am late...LOL But you always serve up the great old tunes girl. Keep them coming! I agree with your mom, since I don't remember seeing one - do a page on Baron nuh gul? :)
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