CD liner notes:|
McCartha Lewis, sobriquet Calypso Rose is the
undisputed Calypso Queen of the World. To acquire a double CD of her
works is a privilege that calypso lovers should cherish. To say it is a
“must have” is an understatement when one considers the achievements of
this superstar and ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago.
Rose was born in Bethel, Tobago. She was the fifth child of eleven
children, her father being a spiritual Baptist leader. At age nine, she
moved to Barataria, in Trinidad. In 1955 she composed her first Calypso
after witnessing a man stealing the spectacles off of a lady’s face in
the Croisée, San Juan. In the calypso she advised Tobagonians to stay at
home, because Trinidad was no place for them. She first called herself
“Crusoe Kid” but the late Spoiler, and tent members Piggy and Spike
changed her name to “Calypso Rose – the Mother of all Flowers”.
In 1963, she traveled outside of Trinidad and Tobago for the first
time. She covered the islands from Grenada to St. Thomas. Little known
is the fact that she won the Calypso King contest and the Roadmarch in
St. Thomas singing “Cooperation”, her first recording. In 1965 she wrote
“Fire In Meh Wire”, her trademark song (which is included on the double
CD). The first verse was written in St. Croix, the second verse in
Barbados and the final verse in Trinidad. In 1967 she recorded it on
Sparrow’s National :abel and competed with it for the Calypso Crown in
1968. Although Kitchener won the Roadmarch that year with “Miss
Tourist”, it was “Fire In Meh Wire” that carried revelers through the
streets that year and the year after.
She followed up with “Palet” and “The Bicycle” in 1968. Two years
later she released “Rose Making a Baby” and “Engagement Ring”, both of
which are featured in a medley on Disc 1. Rose then migrated to New York
in 1974 and bounced back with the hot “Do Dem Back” in 1975 to be the
runner-up behind Kitchener for the Roadmarch. She also placed third in
the Calypso finals, but more importantly the song won her a Gold Record
in New York.
Finally in 1977 she officially won her first Roadmarch with “Tempo”.
This was a significant achievement, making her the first female to win
the coveted title. On a personal note, she did the double in 1978,
winning both the Roadmarch with “Come Leh We Jam” and the National
Monarch Title singing “Her Majesty” and “I Thank Thee”. “Her Majesty”
also placed second in the Roadmarch race, a unique feat. “Come Leh We
Jam” came from a dream she had while in Tortola. In her dream she saw a
tall Afraican lady chanting. She then saw a blackboard with letters on
it. She woke and wrote the tune without stopping.
It should also be recorded that she won the Calypso Queen titles from
1974-1978. Now that she had ensured that the Calypso Final would never
be referred to as the Calypso King Contest again, she chose to stay out
of competition, having achieved the highest calypso pinnacle. She
continued however to produce a variety of hits, many of which are
featured on this production. They include “Gun Play In De Parkway”, “We
Rockin For Carnival”, “Soca Tempo” and “Balance Wheel”. In 1982 she
became an auxiliary Policewoman in New York.
[Alvin C. Daniell]