Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

16 October 2013

Antigua & Barbuda

Calypso was sung throughout the English speaking Caribbean. It was used by the poor as a platform for social & political commentary, using complex metaphors & folkloric references to obscure the meaning to outsiders. Later, beginning in the 1960s, a popularized kind of calypso was developed as entertainment in the growing tourist business. Hotel throughout the West Indies all hired hotel bands. The first truly popular hotel calypso bands were Black Shirt, Skeetch, & Dadian. These vocal stylists were accompanied by a string ensemble usually consisting of two guitars & a bass guitar created out of an oil drum, a wooden pole, & steel strings that were strummed or thumbed.

The Antigua Carnival & the accompanying Antiguan Calypso King competition began in 1957. The Calypso King that year was Styler. This era also saw a growth in patriotic calypsos, focused on an emerging sense of victorious nationalism in the wake of growing autonomy. By the middle of the 1960s two rival calypso practitioners dominated the Antiguan scene, Zemaki & Lord Canary. Their head-to-head conflict carried over to the King Short Shirt versus Swallow rivalry during the 1970s & early 1980s. In the middle of the 1980s, the Burning Flames emerged, winning the road march with "Styley Tight" in 1985.

The group began in the early 80s as Endless Vibration (who played a more rock ‘n’ roll style rather than soca), then changed their name to Burning Flames (for years they backed up popular Montserrat calypso great Arrow, who I just featured in the last post). In 1986 they had become more well known in the pan-Caribbean arena & decided to step out on their own. The band consisted of brothers Clarence “Oungku” Edwards (keyboard & vocals), Toriano “Onyan” Edwards (guitar & vocals), David “Bubb’I or Krokus or Lord Satellite” Edwards (bass & vocals) & Laban “Mente” Edwards (drums - later replaced by Rone “Foxx” Watkins). Onika Bostic was added as female vocalist.

The Burning Flames represented high-energy, multiple-influenced (calypso, reggae, funk, zouk, & just about every other music genre), synthesizer-driven soca. Burning Flames was led by Onyan & Oungku. In 1996 Onyan left the Flames & formed the Baygon band. At that point Krokus took over on lead vocalist along with Oungku.

In 2004 Onika Bostic died in her home country of Trinidad after injuries sustained in a car crash. Also that same year Oungku left the Flames. In their song, "Oungku too Bad-minded" it seemed apparent that Oungku left the band because of some internal conflict or controversy. Oungku has simply stated that the band had outgrown some of its members.

He went on to form his own band, Red Hot Flames, which won the 2006 Antigua road march competition, with the single "Trouble." In 2006 Onyan decided to rejoined Burning Flames. Burning Flames went on to reclaim the 2007 road march title with the single "Papi" off their album De Real Fyah. The Zemaki/Lord Canary - King Short Shirt/Swallow style rivalry between two reigning road march monarchs is once more, but with a crazy twist. The two rivals are really just opposite sides of the same coin, brothers in truth as well as music. Ser Kool!
I have included two Burning Flames tunes as bonus tracks to this slab of Red Hot Flames.

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Tracklist –
Are We Subbum
Slow Dance

Bonus tracks –

Happy Grass – Burning Flames


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