Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Lord Melody – Mama Look a Booboo

If you’ve heard this song before, chances are it’s Harry Belafonte’s 1957 hit version: that’s the first version I ever heard, anyway. I knew Robert Mitchum had recorded some calypso, but it wasn’t till I managed to borrow a vinyl copy of “Calypso – is Like So…” that I realised he’d covered it too. But I finally chanced upon Lord Melody’s original while in the grip of mento* fever, a few years back. The huge international boom in calypso in the mid to late fifties (like Harry Belafonte’s hits) meant that just about all indigenous Caribbean music, including Jamaican mento, was being sold as “calypso”: so inevitably, in the hunt for mento gold, I necessarily had to listen to a fair bit of calypso pyrites: but no, I got to love calypso too, of course.

Shut you mouth! Go away!

Anyway, Lord Melody (born Fitzroy Alexander in 1928; died 1988) was one of the big Trinidadian stars of the fifties Calypso Boom, with this song being a hit in America: he had another international hit in 1962 with “Shame and Scandal” (a song with too complicated a story for this place: wikipedia covers it well).

Here’s Lord Melody’s original 1955 version.


Download Lord Melody – Mama Look a Booboo MP3 (rapidshare)

...and here’s a live version from 1958 (I think):


Download Lord Melody – Booboo Man MP3 (rapidshare)

Bob Mitchum’s Trini accent is a bit ropey here, but he has a pleasant voice, and the band are excellent enough to calm the Original Version Purist Demon that snarls within me.


Download Robert Mitchum – Mama Looka Booboo MP3 (rapidshare)

...and if you wany to here Belafonte’s version, here he is dueting with Nat “King” Cole, via YouTube.

* I don’t have the mental energy for the long, complicated answer that a seemingly simple question like “What is mento?” deserves. Follow the link to Michael Garnice’s exhaustively researched page if you’re interested.


Tim said...

I think the live version is 1956 - in the first track here : Jump Up Carnival. I don't have the album so not 100% but seems to match up w/ text. Either way, thank you!

ron vanvugt said...

I've made the journey from bob marley to the skatelites to mento to calypso. I love mama look a boohoo and perform it regularly but I don't have all the lord melody live lyrics. It's a great call/answer tune. I also like Shame and scandal.