Boomkat Product Review:
Honest Jon’s vital, flagship series returns with a reminder of the cultural turning point when Caribbean migrants began to make their crucial contribution to UK life Arriving 6 years on from the previous volume, ‘London Is The Place For Me 7 & 8’ rustles a haul of Calypso, Palm-Wine, Mento, Joropo, Steel & Stringband gems that, like the previous volumes, owners will return to over and again, receiving a history lesson and an elegant call to the dance wrapped up in each listen.
“Still deeper forays into the musical landscape of the Windrush generation. A dazzling range of calypso, mento, joropo, steelband, palm-wine and r’n'b. Expert revivals of stringband music, from way back, alongside proto-Afro-funk. An uproarious selection of songs about the H-Bomb and modern phones, prostitution and Haile Selassie, mid-life crisis and the London Underground, racism and solidarity, the Highway Code and a 100% West Indian Royal Wedding.
For example some frantic British-Guianan joropo music-hall about Eatwell Brown from Clapham, who starts out biting off a piece of his mother-in-law’s face at a party, then devours everything in his path… a chunk of Brixton Prison, a Union Jack, a policeman’s uniform. Or Marie Bryant — collaborator of Lester Young and Duke Ellington — taking time off from skewering the South African PM Daniel Malan at her West End revue, to contribute some arch, swinging filth about uber-genitalia.
“The genius of Lord Kitchener has been the mainstay of our series. In this volume devoted to his post-war London recordings, Kitch plays his many roles with signature aplomb and poised subtlety. First there is the hooligan chantwell, up for anything in the hurly-burly of carnival proper; and then the casual reporter, firing off postcards to Trinidad about taxis, flashy booze, fast women and football in Manchester, with homesickness and grievance nestled just behind the optimism, pride and tentative senses of belonging.
There is the bearer of news from home, in detailed accounts of murders, tales of stupid local coppers, and reminiscences about food and particular mango trees; the political thinker, considering racism and Africa; and the diarist, with his vivid tales of infidelity, and disclosure of the break-up of his marriage, and his desire to get away. One foot in the UK, the other in Trinidad; but the man himself somewhere in-between. Kitch In The Jungle, nobody around. A ‘diasporic explorer’; a key twentieth-century witness, alongside such hallowed figures as Samuel Selvon and Edward Kamau Braithwaite. Though in frustration Kitch would sometimes take over double-bass duties himself, the musicianship of Rupert Nurse, Fitzroy Coleman and co is top-notch. The original glorious sound is down to Denys Preston, recording for Melodisc, often at Abbey Road Studios (where we transferred and restored the 78s compiled here).”