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Oh, get this if you get anything I’ve posted in months. This is the most music has made me smile in a long time. -Ian!

Musically, this is the real stuff–calypso music recorded on location in Trinidad by Emory Cook in the mid-1950s. It is vibrant, exciting music, reminiscent of early jazz. Although the lyircs to these pieces often critique very real social and political problems at the times (“Federation” and “No, Doctor, No”), others are bursting with humor (“Booboo Man”). Still, I find that this CD always puts me in a good mood. It’s a great disc to pull out on a dull rainy day to spice things up a bit.

Technically, this CD is nothing short of amazing. These are not your typical historical field recordings. Emory Cook founded his own label, Cook Records (under which these titles were originally released) to show off his technical expertise in sound recording. These recordings are the ultimate in hi-fi! And, they are among the earliest stereo recordings. Long before it was possible to capture a stereo signal in one groove on records, Cook developed a type of record that required a double tonearm to track two separate grooves on different parts of the record. Each groove contained one channel of musical information, so when played simultaneously on a properly modified turntable, they provided the listener a true stereo recording-this in the early 1950s. The folks at Smithsonian Folkways (which acquired the Cook label in the early 1990s) have done an outstanding job remastering these stereo recordings for CD, and the result is a very enjoyable listening experience.

-some guy on

Various Artists-CALYPSO AWAKENINGS (SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS) (1966 / 2000 reissue)


One Comment

  1. Many thanks indeed. — Murf

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