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Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Nassau Island - Duke Errol



Nassau Island
Duke Errol And His Lords
Studio Engineer: Mack Emerson
Master Lacquers: Mel Tanner
Tropical Recording Co. CLP-2418

Duke Errol - Vocal and Rhythm
Lord Charlie - Congo Drums
Lord Roy - Guitar
Lord Fred - Bass

From the back cover: True calypso tells a story. The story may be sentimental or humorous or naughty. Traditionally calypso deals with topics that are universal in appeal – love of family, love of home and above all, love. Consequently the lyrics of a calypso are as important as the music.

The true calypsonian will often improvise and compose his own lyrics. This album's title "Nassau Island" taken from the calypso of the same name, is a case in point. The lyrics were written by Duke Errol in 1964 although the melody was composed some many years ago in Jamaica.

Calypso originated in Trinidad in the last century but it is now firmly established throughout the West Indies and the Bahamas. The Bahamas, as well as other parts of the world, have been swept by various forms of music from Bee Bop to Mambo. But the music that survives is the island - bred calypso.

In this album Duke Errol And His Lords play and sing calypsos that cover the whole spectrum of sentiment, from sad to funny. Here is a calypso for every mood. You may want to dance to it or just listen. Either way, we hope you like it.

A Word About Duke Errol

Duke Errol (in private life Errol Strachan) was born in Acklins Island Bahamas, the oldest of 13 children and one of 137 grandchildren.

He came to Nassau, New Providence, as a child where many of his numerous family had settled. He always sought out those members of the family that were musicians and having a good voice and a natural talent for music was encouraged to sing. But Errol did not become a professional musician at first.

After World War II Nassau was being "discovered" by wealthy foreigners. Many came with they own automobiles and car rental companies were doing a brisk business as well as taxi companies. There was a dire shortage of good mechanics and Errol thought he say an opportunity of making a good livelihood as a mechanic instead of becoming a sometime employed calypsonian. His reasoning was sound. He was so successful that soon he branched out and started a taxi cab business. Before long he had a small fleet of cabs.

But the lure to sing was ever present. Thus when the Cat 'n Fiddle Night Club held a public singing contest for amateurs and professionals in 1955. Errol entered – and won 1st prize.  The resultant publicity led to a job offer by his cousin "King" Eric, an established calypso band leader.

Errol had to make a choice between a successful business with with an assured future and an uncertain future as a calypsonian. Having made his decision he now devoted his full time to music. Never having had a music lesson in his life he was going to make up for it. Working nights, he spent his days taking lessons in music theory and learning to play various musical instruments as well. Today Errol plays a competent piano and saxophone. At the moment he is studying trumpet, composition, and is experimenting with American ballads and style.

The preoccupation with style, the true mark of the calypsonian, decided Errol to form his own group. His first appearance as a leader was in 1960 at a popular night club on Bay Street. He also played many of the smaller clubs on Bay Street until his first big break came. Errol and his band, now dubbed Duke Errol And His Lords, got an engagement at a major resort hotel. There, one Colonial (pictured in the background on the reverse side of the album) engaged him to play in their Britannia Bar where he can be heard nightly.

We hope that you will come to Nassau and visit with Errol. You might want to talk cars or calypso with him but if you talk dogs be careful – you might buy a pooch. Yes, the Duke has a new hobby – raising pedigree dogs. – Phillip Grey

Mary Lane
I Do Adore Her
Land Of Sea And Sun
Blowin' In The Wind
Island In The Sun
Going Down Jordan
Big Bamboo
Hold 'Em Joe
Woman's Smarter
Yellow Bird
Jamaica Farewell
Nassau Island
Scarlet Ribbon

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