After 'Far From Home', her 2016 "comeback album" produced by Stonetree Records Ivan Duran and Kobo Town-front man Drew Gonsalves, Calypso Rose, the grande dame of calypso returns with 'So Calypso!' For this album the singer made a selection from self-penned songs which helped define her sound, and covers of the work of artists who kept inspiring her throughout her career. In the last category we find 'Calypso Blues', a 1949 song by Nat King Cole, tearing American ideals to shreds by preferring papaya juice and shrimps over hot dogs and rice, and praising the virtues of Trinidadian women over those of icy blondes, calypso classic 'Underneath The Mango Tree', originally recorded by Monty Norman for the soundtrack of 'Dr. No', the very first Bond film from 1962, 'Rum & Coca Cola', a Lord Invador original, in 1945 catapulted into eternity by the Andrew Sisters, about the flirtations between local Trinidadian beauties and American soldiers, who were stationed there during the Second World War. 'I Say A Little Prayer', a soul classic by Aretha Franklin may be a more surprising choice, but Calypso Rose gives the song her own Caribbean twist. Finally, 'Rivers Of Babylon' is a cover of the reggae classic by The Melodians', but is far from the only hint of the genre on 'So Calypso!', as the aforementioned 'Calypso Blues' also got a reggae touch, and with songs like 'Back To Africa' and the ska of 'Israel By Bus', the singer seems to be echoing the ideas of the Rastafarian ideology.
Closing track 'Wah Fu Dance' could already be found on 'Far From Home', but is added here in a remix version featuring Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo. Calypso Rose decided to invite the singer after she visited the so-called Door of No Return (the place from where slaves left the African continent never to see it again) in Ouidah, Benin; a visit that touched her so profoundly that she decided to turn her pain and sorrow into musical passion. Another connection with Benin is 'Voodoo Lay Loo', as the local Beninese vodoun traditions of course formed the basis for Caribbean voodoo. Of course, a few sexually flavored tongue-in-cheek songs can't be missing from the track list and are served up in the form of 'Sweet Brown Sugar' and 'A Man Is A Man'. 'So Calypso!' isn't exactly a new album as such, as in 2008 10 of the 12 songs in the track list made up the World Village release 'Calypso Rose'. Perhaps a new album isn't what we should expect from the now almost eighty year old tough cookie, and it doesn't make (re-) listening to these songs any less enjoyful!