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Biography: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?

15 Apr 11 - 07:28 PM (#3136053)
Subject: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Does anyone know any concrete information about what Lord Invader's job was when he wasn't singing? Many calypsonians had other jobs as well. Lord Executor, another calypso pioneer, is said to have been a clerk, and King Radio, another calypsonian closely associated with Invader, was a dockworker (though I don't know what he did specifically). I know that Invader (whose music I found on YouTube and who I now consider a great calypsonian and songwriter) travelled to America twice, once in the 1930s and again in the 1940s for a lawsuit over "Rum and Coca-Cola". When he went to America he was able to make money from singing at the Caribbean Club. Some of the older posters here may have known (or be) prominent figures of the American folk revival. I'm wondering if any of those posters, especially those who met or knew Alan Lomax, also met and/or knew Lord Invader, and if he ever told anyone he knew in America about his life in Trinidad before he became a calypsonian.


15 Apr 11 - 09:42 PM (#3136097)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: John on the Sunset Coast

Rupert Grant, Lord Invader, was born in 1914 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
From a boy he began improvising calypsos. He became very adept that he was named Lord Invader, as in invading the calypso world. His first recording, ca. 1937, was a song about Joe Louis losing to Max Schmeling in boxing match. In 1941 he placed second to Destroyer for the title of Calypso King.

He then went to New York where there seems to have bee quite a calypso coterie. As you noted, he won a plagerism suit over Rum and Coca-Cola (which he did not collect on until 1947). Thereafter, he seems to have split his time between New York and Trinidad. He died in NY in 1961.

Judging from the notes (from which the above information is paraphrased), being a singer seems to have been his only occupation; there is no mention of any other means of sustaining himself.

CALYPSO IN NEW YORK-CD40454-Smithsonian Folkways (source of above)

other CDs I have with tracks of Lord Invader
CALYPSO CALALOO-Rounder 1105
BREAKAWAY CALYPSO-Rounder 1054
CALYPSO AFTER MIDNIGHT!-Rounder11661-1841-2 w/ intros by Alan Lomax

Hope this helps you.


15 Apr 11 - 10:02 PM (#3136102)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Thanks for the information (some things about him I didn't know!), but have also read on Google Books, paraphrased: "Despite (Invader and other calypsonians') calypsos lamenting the increase of prostitution brought by the Americans, very few of them acknowledged their own participation in the pre-war exploitation of women". This implies that he was the stereotypical calypsonian, living on the money given to him by various women he was involved with. Is there any way of confirming or denying this? According to the Wikipedia article on him he was born in 1915, so why the discrepancy? When was he actually born?


15 Apr 11 - 10:19 PM (#3136107)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Another interesting piece of information: In the Duke of Iron's recording of "Small Island" originally written and recorded by Invader, found on Juneberry 78s, there are these lines: "Now the Lord Invader is a smart fellow. He tellin people that he famous for Coca-Cola. Run all about and say he make his name, fooling around with the women in Port of Spain."


15 Apr 11 - 11:07 PM (#3136118)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: John on the Sunset Coast

The date given in the bio with the CD is December 13, 1914...barely a discrepancy, but often dates get confused, sometime purposely.

I checked the CD booklet, but found no authorship for the biography therein. You might contact Smithsonian at -folkways@aol.com- to see if you can get additional information.

BTW, I forgot a 1956 LP, Lord Invader Calypso, Audio Fidelity AFLP-1808.

All in all I have 14 CDs and about twice that LPs of calypso, and that doesn't even count my Harry Belafonte collection, which is heavily calypso apart from the three albums dedicated to the genre.

Nice to correspond with someone else who has an affinity to this music.


16 Apr 11 - 12:04 AM (#3136132)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Forgot to say that this thread is also about finding out what he was like as a person. I have a thing about finding out what people were like. I'd really like posts from some of the posters who were actually involved in the early American folk revival who met Lord Invader about what their impressions of him were like.  


16 Apr 11 - 01:18 PM (#3136402)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Rupert Westmore Grant, "Lord Invader," made his impact at the Victory Calypso tent in Trinidad, 1943, where his lyrics "Rum and Coco-Cola was not only popular with Trinidadians but with soldiers passng through.
His claim to the lyrics was supported by a booklet, "Victory Calypsos 1943-Souvenir,." althouth the war prevented him from recording it for his company, Decca.
The melody is mostly by Belasco, "L'Anneee pasee," given to Lord Invader by Cyril Monrose.
From Cariwaksoca.com- I haven't checked to see if this is still on line. I copied notes on the above some time ago.
And from Baron v. Leo Feist, http://library.law.columbia.edu/music_plagiarism/009/009opinion.html

There is a thread on mudcat about the suit, the melody and Morey Amsterdam's stolen words. It may have some more information.

I have not seen anything about Lord Invader's other employment so I can't help with that.

Does anyone have a list of Lord Invader's songs? I haven't checked online yet, that and a discography may be there. I only have the recording mentioned by M E 1.


16 Apr 11 - 01:48 PM (#3136423)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Smithsonian Folkways Biography-
http://www.folkways.si.edu/explore_folkways/lord_invader.aspx

No personal comments other than he was born Dec. 14, 1914, grew up around San Fernando, and began improvising calypsos at a young age.
Labeled 'a country boy by fellow Trinidadians. His tailor gave Grant his moniker "so when you go up to the city you be invadin' the capital."
This reference to a tailor may suggest that Grant's family was not one that required the young man to have another job.


16 Apr 11 - 06:46 PM (#3136582)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Hey guys, am back online again. I know what you are saying, Q, but I believe that in Trinidad, most people's economic status was divided along skin-colour lines. His family may have been richer than the average farmer or labourer, and so able to afford a tailor, but the light-skinned middle class traditionally (according to sources I read on Google Books, and Kevin Burke's "Rum and Coca-Cola Reader" site, had nothing to do with singing calypso and looked down on those with black skin, who had unmixed African ancestry. His family may have made enough money to allow him to not have to hold down another job, but I have also read on Google Books that he may have lived on the money given to him by various women.


16 Apr 11 - 08:05 PM (#3136627)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader's day job?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

My other question is; Anyone here on Mudcat who was part of the folk revival at that time (1950s) personally met or knew Lord Invader? I would love to hear from you if you did :)


17 Apr 11 - 07:04 PM (#3137106)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: beeliner

I imagine that most Americans first heard of Lord Invader when the Kingston Trio mistakenly attributed the song "Zombie Jamboree" to him on their live "hungry i" album. The original recording was actually by Lord Intruder.


17 Apr 11 - 07:28 PM (#3137120)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Yes, but I am looking for posts from those on this board who were first active in the American folk music revival at the same time as Invader was, and who personally met and/or knew him. Does anyone here on the board fit that description?


18 Apr 11 - 01:10 AM (#3137192)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

I read on Google Books that Jean Ritchie, who is a member of this site, met Lord Invader while she was recording for Folkways. Might she be able to share her memory?


18 Apr 11 - 02:39 AM (#3137203)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: Gibb Sahib

It's 2am in the USA.

RELAX.


18 Apr 11 - 02:39 AM (#3137204)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Okay, sorry Gibb.


19 Apr 11 - 03:15 AM (#3137996)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: Joe Offer

Ease off, Morwan. This is a discussion forum, not a chat room. Our discussions move along a lot slower than chat room exchanges. Once you've posted something here, don't post it again. If nobody has posted to the thread for twelve hours, THEN you can post a "refresh" message to bring the thread up to the top of the Forum Menu, but don't go refreshing a thread every hour (or more).
If you have nothing new to day, don't repeat what you said already - just put "refresh" in the body of your message.

Jean Ritchie had a stroke, and has posted here only a couple of times in the last several months.

I'm going to delete most of your repeated messages, so that this can remain a rational discussion.

-Joe-


19 Apr 11 - 03:19 AM (#3137998)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Thanks Joe. Sorry Just really interested in finding out people's memories of Invader. I hope Ms. Ritchie is okay.


19 Apr 11 - 03:37 AM (#3138007)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

And btw Joe did you delete the excess posts? Thanks.


19 Apr 11 - 03:46 AM (#3138012)
Subject: RE: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

in one of Invader's War verses, he sings:
"Yes, my mother dead and my father disown me
What am I to do?
Yes, my mother dead and my father disown me
What am I to do?
Now I'm livin' in this word and I've got nobody,
No brother, no sister, no cousin family."
Did anyone here on this board who was involved in the American folk revival know Invader personally, and did he ever mention anything about his life in Trinidad, especially his childhood?


19 Apr 11 - 04:27 AM (#3138040)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Refresh

    Ah-ah-ah....remember I said TWELVE HOURS before you post a "refresh" notice.....
    -Joe Offer-


19 Apr 11 - 01:28 PM (#3138322)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Most who knew him would be in a care home, have Alzheimers or are nourishing daisies by now. Only calypso-buffs, from a later generation, would know about him, and their interest is in his songs.

PM Jean Ritchie, Kytrad; she may be able to respond. I don't know her current state of health; Joe might.


19 Apr 11 - 05:50 PM (#3138471)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

I PMed Jean Ritchie. According to Joe she has had a stroke, so she may not be able to respond quickly.


19 Apr 11 - 08:45 PM (#3138567)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Sorry again, Joe!


19 Apr 11 - 08:46 PM (#3138569)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Time to let this thread die for a while.


21 Apr 11 - 12:11 AM (#3139433)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

I am going to try again to find out some biographical information about Lord Invader. Could any older Mudcatters who recorded for Folkways tell me if they know anything personal about him?


17 May 11 - 08:28 AM (#3155653)
Subject: RE: Biography: Lord Invader- calypsonian- anyone knew?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1

Sorry for reviving this thread, but in reference to the following verse:
"Yes, my mother dead and my father disown me,
What am I to do?
Yes, my mother dead and my father disown me,
What am I to do?
Now I'm living in this world and I've got nobody,
No brother, no sister, no cousin family."

This is a War verse (improvised verse). Does anyone have an idea on whether the content of this verse could be based on truth?