Neville Marcano: The Growling Tiger of Calypso

(
Rounder Records
)

Recorded in 1962 by Alan Lomax
Notes by Matthew Barton and Steve Shapiro

The Growling Tiger (1915–1993) was one of the great artists of the 1930s golden age of calypso. He was first a boxer, but began performing calypso in tents in 1935 and caught on quickly, recording for Decca in New York that same year. A fearless social and political critic, Tiger was best known for his “Money is King” (on economic inequality) and “The Gold in Africa” (about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia). On this album, accompanied by a neighborhood-style string band in Trinidad in 1962, Tiger makes “war” on fellow calypsonians, singing the witty commentaries that made him famous, and gently satirizing love, global politics, economic colonization, and Trinidadian life.

“Without the slightest bit of reservation, I recommend this CD most highly.” —Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange