"Calypso Is Like So"
Capitol Records LP (1957)
Reissued on CD by Scamp and Revola
Jean And Dinah
From A Logical Point Of View
Tic, Tic, Tic
Beauty Is Only Skin Deep
I Learn A Merengue, Mama
Take Me Down To Lover's Row
Mama, Looka Boo Boo
They Dance All Night
Whats This Generation Coming To?
his Hollywood music biz pals in the island sound. Capitol Records, impressed by Mitchum's "authentic
flavor, beat and vitality" (and perhaps also impressed by the way he refused to squeal on fellow
Hollywood pot-puffers), insisted that he record the songs himself. It didn't hurt that at the time, Harry
Belafonte ruled the record charts, Trader Vic's was doing a booming business in phosphorescent rum
drinks served in plastic coconut shells, and Americans seemed willing to buy anything with bongos on it.
So, how good does Robby Mitchum do de calypso, mon? Well, he's a more authentic calypso singer than
Vanilla Ice was a rapper. He does a decent job on the tongue-twisting lyrics, especially on the up-tempo
"What's This Generation Coming To?" a lament about how da crazy teenagers got da nation in a state of
con-fyoo-shun wit' dere rockin' 'n' rollin'. A Capitol trade paper ad breathlessly declared that this cut, b/w
"Mama, Looka Boo Boo," had been "RUSH-released" as a single "because of its powerful hit potential." It
wasn't a hit, although it is kinda catchy.
On other tunes, his vocals (sorry, his "virile pipes") aren't as powerful as his fists, but as Johnny Mercer
once said, if Mitchum can't reach a high note, "he can act his way through it." And if that doesn't work...
well, who's gonna tell him?
Excerpt from Hollywood Hi-Fi...
All material copyright 1995-2007 by Pat Reeder & George Gimarc. All rights reserved.
...The helpful liner notes attempt to assuage our shock:
"Surprised that Robert Mitchum sings calypso? It would be
stranger if he couldn't!"
...The notes inform us that Mitchum developed a love for calypso
while filming "Fire Down Below" in Trinidad and tried to interest
We can truthfully say that if you are aching to hear Robert Mitchum sing calypso
songs, this is definitely the LP to own. That's because sales were so tepid,
Mitchum never recorded another calypso album. However, back in 1948, he sang
several western-folk style tunes in the movie "Rachel And The Stranger," for which
a 78 rpm album was released. That's out of print, of course, but you can see it in
our video review and you can hear the songs by simply watching the movie.
Then, in 1958, Mitchum finally hit the musical jackpot when he co-wrote and
recorded the immensely popular "Ballad of Thunder Road" (available on a 1967
LP and a 1995 CD compilation, both titled That Man Robert Mitchum...Sings).
"Thunder Road" in turn inspired one of the best songs of Bruce Springsteen's
Early Non-Whiny Period. We shudder to think what The Boss might sound like
today had he purchased Calypso Is Like So instead.
Tramps like us, baby, we were born to limbo!!!