Calypsonian Carlton Joseph,The Lord Blakie was born on November 3, 1932 and died January 6, 2005. He was one of the greatest of our old time calypsonians and an all time favorite of mine,
Blakie aka D’Warlord was one of the greatest exponents of the calypso art-form in the calypso era of the last century.
He was also a well known street fighting man in his day , a badjohn and gambler from San Juan, Trinidad; a place famous for badjohns in that era.
So, when Blakie sings on violence , he’s singing based on his experiences, as he does in this one , with the chorus “Dey say Blakie kill a man”.
You know how there’s “gangsta rap”?
Well, this is a “badjohn calypso “, featuring a great arrangement by Art DeCoteau.
As we would say “Dis one sweet too bad!
Kaiso maestro, kaiso!”
He was also known for his witty calypsos and sense of humor , which is emphasized in many of his songs by his infectious laugh.
His first big hit came in the early nineteen fifties as he recounted the story of an actual steelband clash , which unfortunately was fairly common in that era.
According to him, he was there.
Among his many hits , Blakie also sang about his friend Lance Scott another well known “badjohn ” who he referred to as a “danger man” in this calypso “Valdez is coming”.
“Valdez is coming” was a revenge western movie from the sixties starring Burt Lancaster as “Valdez”.
Blakie also commented on the street people and incidents of his era, including this one about the well known Trinidadian gambler and hustler known as “Rama de Jamma”.
It’s highly likely that there won’t be carnival next year, unless there’s a medical breakthrough soon, regarding the current pandemic.
However, this wouldn’t be the first time that the carnival was canceled, and The Warlord, Lord Blakie tells a story of another time this happened.
Incidentally, this calypso was composed by another unsung calypso singer and lyricist, Kenroy Smith, The Black Prince .
So, in keeping with the times, Blakie sings about the effect of another epidemic on Trinidad society. This was the final polio epidemic to hit Trinidad in 1972, after which the disease has been considered eradicated.
Here’s The Lord Blakie and “Polio”
We’re fortunate to have actual video footage of him performing some of his hits live at the Mas Camp Pub in1994.
Though late in his career, these performances are done with his typical style and flair, and are included here.
So let’s enjoy another legend of the calypso art-form in action.
Here in live performance is The Warlord, The Lord Blake, Mr. Carlton Joseph.