Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Orchestra - Oye Como Va

I'm almost always up for an old steel drum LP, especially when the selections will break away from the norm of 'Yellow Bird' and such. I love it when there's steel arrangements of classical music, and I dig it even more when they do inspired versions of pop tunes.

There's two of those here;
Tito Puente's tune, made immortal by Santana, and that groovy creeper first recorded by Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

Released on the Calypan label, this album was recorded in August of 1973 at the RCA studios in Montreal, while the band was in the midst of a
well-received U.S. tour.


Listen to: Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Orchestra - Oye Como Va (click for audio)

Listen to: Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Orchestra - Time Is Tight (click for audio)

ADDENDUM, 1.13.09: There's still a dearth of information readily available about this band, but the text below adds just a little bit to their background story.

(Excerpted from the liner notes to the 'Calypsoul 70' CD, released in '08 by Strut Records)

From the 1950s, as the sound of the pan gained international currency and the tourist trade secured itself as the central plank of Caribbean economies, it became increasingly common for large companies, including oil giants and airlines, to sponsor steel band ensembles.
Shell, Esso, Pan Am, Coca-Cola, Angostura and many other companies all had steel bands on their books, providing money for pans, uniforms, floats and other essentials.
Sponsorship also encouraged the panmen to give up the organized violence that went along with the pan clashes.

The Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Orchestra was supported by successful (and still running) Trinidadian travel agency Amral's.

Pan LPs typically featured covers of recent international hits as well as Caribbean standards and popular calypsos. The Cavaliers' unusual track selection serves as a good gauge of the kind of U.S. sounds that were reaching Trinidad, whether through imports and radio, or tourism and economic migration.

1 comment:

JohnnyGerms said...

Awesome! I love 'Oye Como Va'. Thanks for posting it.

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