Lord Kitchener and Friends - London Is The Place For Me

Long before the Mobo's became a regular fix in the musical calendar and 50 years before UK Garage became the voice of Black Britain - the voice of Urban Britain was Calypso music - a genre unknown to much of today's youth and even to a certain extent their parents generation. "London Is The Place For Me" is the 2nd release on Honest Jons, following Damon Albarns Mali Music release, and is the perfect introduction to calypso music of the 1950s.

Looking backward from 2002 its easy to trace the musical and cultural legacy through from UK Garage and Hip-hop back through ska and reggae and then end up back in 1948 where much of these artists were first travelling over to these shores. While the faces may have changed there's still the common threads of coming to a new country where you're desperate to fit in and explore new culture, but the problems that many immigrants face today from the right-wing aspects of the media and the government were very much issues back in the day. Likewise, while So Solid Crew get banned from venues across the country , the likes of Lord Kitchener and Lord Beginner were barred by managers and landlords convinced that their English Patrons would simply not understand it.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this compilation was a political analysis of the time, and to a certain extent it can be seen as such, but like any soulful music it expresses the individuals outlook at the time. So while "No Carnival In Britain" may look at the experiences of being a Jamaican in Britain, there are tales of travelling on the underground or nosey landlords on the simplistically titles "The Underground Train" and "My Landlady".

Like Honest Jon's previous release "Mali Music", this is again a perfect introduction to a relatively unknown genre and at times can be difficult to listen to. Yet again, there's a tremendous sense of freedom and fun on display which given the time can take you back to simpler times without marketing budgets and video expenses.

Alex McCann

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