Two early calypso albums on Capitol Records – both pretty unique! First
up are some of the first
-ever recordings by Harry Belafonte – material recorded in 1949, with Pete Rugolo backings that are really amazing – as jazzy and modern as anything Rugolo did for other singers of the time, with only a hint of calypso in the rhythms. Belafonte sounds quite different on the sides than in later years – still with those tremendous vocals, but almost more of a jazz singer at points – which is a really surprising discovery! This aspect's supported strongly by the choice
of tunes – which includes "Deep As The River", "Farewell To Arms", "Close Your Eyes", "The Didn't Believe Me", and "I Still Get A Thrill". Next up is a full album of straighter calypso material by Lord Flea & His Calypsonians – but one that also has a bit of a Capitol Records groove! Flea plays acoustic guitar and sings, and percussion is nice and tight – but there's also a fuller sense of space on the record, one that really sets it apart from other 50s efforts of this type – kind of a Capitol clarity that really adds a lot of charm. Titles include "Out De Fire", "Mister Give Me De Rent", "It All Began With Adam & Eve", "Jump In The Line", "Run Run Run", "Love", and "Monkey".