Note: Notes from Rounder Records release "Calypso At Midnight" read: "This extremely popular calypso was first composed by the Roaring Lion by the American Record Company on March 7, 1934, on his initial trip to New York to make recordings. If 'Stone Cold Dead' is an early statement of feminism, 'Ugly Woman' is the reverse -- a sexist diatribe about how most men favor 'pretty', not 'ugly' women, based on a superficial concept of beauty. The humor comes with the singer's advice to go with the 'ulgy' woman and disregard community (male) standards. It is doubtful that the American audience was aware of the Trinidadian double meaning for 'scratch your head' that is, have sexual intercourse. 'Ugly Woman had been recorded many times and was a minor hit in the United States in the 1950s. The song was performed by Sir Lancelot in the 1943 film 'Happy Go Lucky', starring Mary Martin, Dick Powell, and Rudy Vallee."
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])
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