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Various Artists: Calypsoul 70: Caribbean Soul and Calypso Crossover 1969-1979

Various Artists: Calypsoul 70: Caribbean Soul and Calypso Crossover 1969-1979

Release Date:2008

By Michaelangelo Matos | Posted 10/22/2008

You might have thought calypso would have become a post-crate-digger vogue by now. But a few things work against it in DJ-discovery terms. For one, as wonderfully groovy as Trinidadian carnival anthems can be, those grooves can be samey, the better to emphasize the topical lyrics that are in many cases the real point. So this collection of mostly instrumental and light-on-lyrics tracks isn't exactly the genre's greatest hits--just the kind of stuff likeliest to hit the sweet spot of a global array of beat junkies, who should make sure that once they get a taste for the classic stuff to check out artists such as Mighty Sparrow, Lord Kitchener, and Roaring Lion. Maybe Strut will make a vocal-heavy sequel.

But no mistake: A lot of gold has been dug here. The grooves tend to slink luxuriously, as with Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Orchestra's cover of "90% of Me Is You," or barrel along with real joy, à la the Hondells' wonderfully bumpy "Raycan" or Sambo's version of Barrabas' breakbeat favorite "Woman." The Checkmates' "Disco Groove" isn't quite what its title claims; the beat's more funk bump than four-on-the-floor, its synthesizer light rather than heavy. And Biosis Now's "Independent Bahamas" features a snaky little congas-and-traps breakdown that goes on for a comfortable while. "Can you feel the drums?" the singer asks; the answer is obvious.

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