London Is the Place for Me

COMPOSERS: Lord Beginner,Lord Kitchener
LABELS: Honest Jon’s Records
WORKS: Trinidadian calypso in London, 1950-56
PERFORMER: Lord Kitchener, Lord Beginner
CATALOGUE NO: HJRCD 2

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The Honest Jon’s label is better launched by its collection of Fifties calypsos. Twenty classic tracks by Trinidadian immigrants to London are dominated by the light voices and dry wit of Lord Kitchener and Lord Beginner. Part diary and part social critique, these often hilarious and (in hindsight) often optimistic songs convey a vivid picture of the ‘No Blacks Here’ era. ‘My Landlady’ is understandably one of the most pointed, but ‘No Carnival in Britain’ satirises the glummer side of the native character while attitudes to racial mixing, including those who wanted to pass themselves off as white, are summed up in ‘If you not white, you considered black’.