Panorama 1966 -Pan and Rain

Whenever I think of the Steelband Panorama competition of 1966, hear Lord Kitchener’s “My Brother, your Sister“ or Sparrow’s “Obeah Wedding“, I also remember the preliminaries, rain , sweet pan, Guinness Cavaliers – and Desperadoes!

It was a rainy day , and people were sliding and playing in the mud , a little preview of young Americans antics three years later at Woodstock.

Guinness Cavaliers had created a sensation by winning the 1965 competition, and in 1966 the band came bigger and more powerful than the previous year, so a sizable crowd had gathered, impatiently waiting as the band prepared to head down the “drag” and across the stage.

Finally , Bobby Mohammed , the band’s captain and arranger , struck his bell , and the band started.

The crowd roared as the tune’s introduction ended and the chorus started , highlighted by the swinging bassline that was Cavalier’s trademark.

And a large joyous crowd , yours truly among them, followed the band as they went down the racetrack.

At that moment , the “vibes” were so sweet, I was certain that they would win again.

That day, we thought that Cavaliers would prove to be an unstoppable force.

Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed”s arrangement of Lord Kitchener’s “My Brother , Your Sister”

On Panorama final’s night , however , Beverley Griffith and Desperadoes proved to be the proverbial immovable object!

By any measure , Beverley has to be considered one of Trinidad’s most influential and accomplished musical arrangers of the twentieth century.

In my opinion , Clive Bradley , Earl Rodney and Beverly Grifith deserve special recognition as more that just steelband arrangers , but as influential contributors to the development of Trinidad and Tobago’s music in the last century, be it calypso, dance or steelband.

In 65 , Cavaliers won with a new , different sound.

In 1966 , Desperadoes also came with a different sound, an arrangement of Sparrow’s “Obeah Wedding” by Beverley Griffith that was fresh and exciting , and which for the first time introduced a strong jazz flavor and element to panorama music.

The Mighty Sparrow’s “Obeah Wedding” (Desperadoes) arranged by Beverley Griffith

This arrangement created another jolt in panorama music, and in the end Desperadoes secured a much deserved victory.

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