Sings Calypso, The Fly
Wilmouth Houdini may have been the first major star of calypso to record extensively in the U.S., but the Duke of Iron became the leading exponent of calypso just as high-fidelity recording became commonplace. His particular combination of authenticity amd popular appeal both modernized and improved the sound of calypso at a crucial time. Other calypsonians of great originality, such as fellow New Yorker the Mighty Sparrow, owed him a huge debt. Born Cecil Anderson in Trinidad, the Duke of Iron learned music from his famous father and others. (His brother performed under the name Count of Monte Cristo.) Cecil came to the United States and made New York City his new home in 1923.
In 1940 he began playing professionally at the Village Vanguard, and after ten months he headed west, touring until a triumphant return to New York in 1943. From then on he was King of Calypso and toured college campuses for some time until returning to Trinidad. There, he formed a new band and headed to Europe for a tour. He returned to New York at the height of the calypso craze (1956, the year Belafonte's debut eclipsed Elvis') to begin a long stint as headliner of the Jamaican Room.
On the LP Jungle Calypso, the Duke is accompanied by Modesto Calderon (bass player), Gregory Feliz, and Victor Pacheco. The latter two take turns at drums, violin, and clarinet. By the time of his Jamaican Room engagement, the Duke was playing quattro (four-stringed guitar) with a drummer, bassist, pianist, and two others doubling on sax and clarinet. He recorded for Victor as well as the jazz label Prestige (Limbo, Limbo, Limbo), which despite the name features strong original material and excellent recording by the peerless Rudy Van Gelder. His LPs typically include one or two steel-band instrumentals, but that should not pose no obstacle to their appreciation. LINK Youtube Extra