Lif up yuh leg an trample

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Honest Jon’s
PERFORMER: Various artists
CATALOGUE NO: HJRCD 9

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Lif up yuh leg an trample is a Trinidad carnival album, packed with what you’d hear around the sound systems on the streets. It’s a compilation, but the best sort, propagating recent releases that would be hard to find without good connections to the diaspora.

It has the best sort of content too – local progressive ‘soca’ with a frantic pace and singers of character. The short opening burst of percussion, with a boozy chorus in the background, suggests a traditional ambience that is not totally blasted away by the contemporary successors.

One element of soca descends from calypso, and the older style’s satirical edge bounces back here and there. ‘Food Fight’ moves from a witty ham-or-lamb scenario (‘He want them eat Spam when he check for Saddam’) to oil politics, and another number about wrongful arrest is called ‘Soca Taliban’.

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Otherwise, it’s dance, sex and energy, mostly male. There’s a surprising lack of information about performers, recordings and even the countries of origin – not all Trinidad. As the label is backed by singer and song-writer Damon Albarn, you’d expect more respect for the musicians.