Note: Notes from Rounder Records release "Calypso At Midnight" read: "Lord Invader was the only songster at this concert with extensive experience in the tents in Trinidad. As such, he continued in the line of 'crossover' calypsonians that included Wilmoth Houdini and the Roaring Lion before him. Lord Invader's big wartime success was 'Rum and Coca-Cola' (1943) which he sang often for appreciative audiences of Gis and Trinidadians. The song was heard by Morey Amsterdam who happened to be putting on shows in Trinidad as a part of a USO tour. Amsterdam took 'Rum and Coca-Cola' to New York and copyrighted the lyrics and tune with Paul Baron and Jerry Sullivan (1944). It became an enormous hit soon after, as recorded by the Andrews Sisters -- the most popular singing group in the United States during the war (Decca 18636). Cut following Decca's agreement with the American Federation of Musicians that signaled an end to a crippling strike, 'Rum and Coca-Cola' helped pull the recording industry out of its wartime slump."
About the session: A live recording of "Calypso At Midnight," a concert held at Town Hall, New York City, on December 21, 1946. Learning that Town Hall could be rented cheaply after regular theater hours, Alan Lomax produced a late-night concert series called The Midnight Special, which was thematically organized as "Blues At Midnight," "Ballads At Midnight," etc., and sponsored by the People's Songs Collective. The calypso concert recordings, made at Lomax's request and later found by chance in a closet by Bess Lomax Hawes, may be the only extant documents of this series. "This concert is a fascinating document of an American presentation of Trinidadian calypso at a time when interest in the genre was spreading from New York City into the mainstream of popular music in the United States" (Donald R. Hill and John H. Cowley, Calypso At Midnight [Rounder CD 1860])
The rights to the audio, photographic, and video materials contained within the Lomax Digital Archive are administered by various publishers, record labels, collectors, estates, and other rights holders. Any uses, commercial or not, must be cleared by the specific rights holders. For questions regarding the use of any material on the LDA, please contact Permissions.
Do you have something to add, or do you see an error in this record? We'd love to
hear from you.