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Steel Bands from Antigua

Unique 1950 and 1960 recordings of "old style" tuning with traditional tunes which differ considerably from present-day steel bands. 18 pieces, 4 with vocals, 16 recorded in London and two in Antigua. Brute Force rec in 1950 and The Merrymakers, recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1960, include talk by the leader and a scale played on each pan in turn.

1. MERRYMAKER'S RHYTHM (instrumental) - 2'21"

2. THE ALPHABET SONG (with vocal) - 2'28"

3. CARILLON (instrumental) - 2'05"

4. CARNIVAL SYNCOPATION (with talk) - 4'09"

5. THE IRISH WASHERWOMAN (instrumental) - 1'43"

6. ANTIGUA O ANTIGUA (instrumental) - 2'16"

7. HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS (with vocal) - 2'06"

8. THE BELLS OF St MARY'S (instrumental) - 3'59"

9. WHEN THE SAINTS (instrumental) - 2'02"

10. Demonstration of scale & range - 1'45"

Trax 11-17 by THE BRUTE FORCE STEEL BAND, Antigua 1950

11. NOBODY'S BUSINESS (instrumental) - 3'08"

12. DON'T LET THE FIRE FALL ON YOU (with vocal) - 2'35"

13. PETRONELLE (instrumental) - 1'32"

14. JANE DON'T CALL MY NAME (with vocal) - 2'42"

15. CRAZY LOVE (instrumental) - 1'58"

16. ALL MY FRIENDS (instrumental) - 1'56"

17. BELL IN HELL (instrumental) - 2'36"

18. RHUMBA ANTIGUA (instrumental) - 2'55"

19. MARIANNA (instrumental) - 1'50"

Recorded and edited by Peter Kennedy, London 1960 & first published on Folktrax cassettes 1975.

Recording supervised by R.Darcy Best. The leader, Walter Herbert, and the Hughes brothers, Ishmael Henry and Lindy Farasco, have been connected with steel band music ever since it came to Antigua from Trinidad in 1947-8. Mr Herbert formed his first band, THE RED ARMY, in 1949 and in 1950 went on to tour Dominica with the BRUTE FORCE. He came to England in 1956 working as a house-painter and decorater and played with another band in the Harrow Road before setting up his own England-based Merrymakers aka "The Leeward Islands Band".

The Leading Pan has 23 notes, the two Tenors each have 16 and the Double Pan 18 and the 4 Bass pans each have three.

Steel Bands were born in Trinidad about 1940 when Carnival Bands started to use biscuit tins and discovered that one side produced a high note and the other a low one. The first Steel Band to come to Britain was TASPO (Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra) who were invited to the 1951 Festival of Britain. TASPO and the Antigua bands used standard 45 gallon oil drums.

 Pete Seeger's manual STEEL DRUMS was published by Oak (Music Sales) in 1964 and Pete also made a movie with Kim Loy in Trinidad called MUSIC FROM OIL DRUMS.

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