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Thread: Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread

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    Thumbs up Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread

    Just thought I would create this thread because everyone who claims to really love Soca music also need to understand why it was invented and should always give full respect and appreciation to this great man Shorty for his invaluable contribution to the calypso artform and in helping to keep the music alive and kicking.

    In my opinion they should erect a tribute statue of Ras Shorty-I aka Lord Shorty in Lengua Village, Princess Town where he was born to remind the locals and the world that that is where the Soca inventor and pioneer was born. The late Maestro who was the first calypsonian outside of Shorty to embrace and promote Soca was also born in Princess Town so they could also erect a tribute statue of Maestro in Princess Town as well.
    The statues of Shorty and Maestro can both serve as great tourist attractions for the Princess Town area.

    Anyway here are some videos of Shorty and his Love Circle performing live and also being recognised for his/their invaluable contribution to the calypso and soca artform.

    Other posts to this thread recognizing Shorty's immense musical contributions over the years are most welcomed!
    Blessings

    Ras Shorty-I & The Love Circle - "Receives Lifetime Achievement Award" (1999)


    Ras Shorty-I & The Love Circle - "Gone Are The Days" (1999)


    Ras Shorty-I & The Love Circle - "Mr. President" (1999)


    Ras Shorty-I & The Love Circle - "Who God Bless" (1999)


    Ras Shorty-I & The Love Circle - "Jamoo" (1999)


    In this Caribbean Insight interview Ras Shorty-I couldn't make it clearer what he did to invent soca music, what his inspiration was for seeking to change the music and what were the main musical elements that he used to change and update calypso music and his music recordings are all there to back exactly what he did.

    CARIBBEAN INSIGHT TV - Ras Shorty-I Interview: The inventor of Soca Music


    TUCO's Tribute to Ras Shorty-I Award Presentation


    Isaac Blackman - Sweet Music (Ras Shorty-I Tribute)

    Correction to Omari Ashby's introduction of Sweet Music in above video:
    Sweet Music was originally arranged by Ed Watson, Earl Rodney & Shorty. Art De Coteau was not involved in playing on or arranging any of the tracks on Shorty's "Sweet Music" 1975/76 LP. Also Art De Coteau's band was used on Shorty's 1974/75 "Endless Vibrations" LP but Ed Watson was the one who arranged "Endless Vibrations" as well as most of the other songs on Shorty's 1974/75 album.
    Finally "Soul Calypso Music" and "Bajan Girl" are two older recordings featured on Shorty's 1974/75 "Endless Vibrations" LP that were taken from his first album "Gone Gone Gone" recorded in 1972.
    The arrangers of "Soul Calypso Music" and "Bajan Girl" which were recorded in Don Mills, Toronto, Canada at Sound Canada Studio in 1972 were Shorty, Ralph Moore, Skell Redhead & Oswald James.


    Nehilet blackman - Om Shanti (Ras Shorty-I Tribute)


    Eldon Blackman - Who God bless (Ras Shorty-I Tribute)
    Last edited by Socapro; 07-16-2012 at 09:35 PM.
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    Registered User dedetriniking's Avatar dedetriniking is offline
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    I've always wondered what happened to Dave Elcock who introduced shorty in that clip. He was a major radio announcing in tnt at one point.

    Note that Shorty's children are steeped in music....taught by him. It really gives the lie to some who claim that the man knew nothing about music.

    Enjoyed those clips.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedetriniking View Post
    I've always wondered what happened to Dave Elcock who introduced shorty in that clip. He was a major radio announcing in tnt at one point. Note that Shorty's children are steeped in music....taught by him. It really gives the lie to some who claim that the man knew nothing about music. Enjoyed those clips.
    Not only that, Shorty was the guitarist for his his good friend Maestro when Maestro started out in the calypso business and helped back Maestro on some of his calypso demos.
    Shorty also wrote songs for the Baron, Ella Andall and numerous other Calypsonians in the 70's.

    Shorty was just two days younger than another musical genius Shadow who was born on October 4, 1941. Shorty would have been 71 years old in 2012 had he not died of bone marrow-cancer.
    Isn't it funny how two of T&T's musical geniuses Shorty and Shadow were born just a couple days apart?

    We pay tribute to Shorty the Father of Soca, Chutney-Soca & Jamoo (Gospel-Soca) in this thread and remember his invaluable contribution to the calypso artform at a time when Calypso was seen as old fashioned by a majority of T&T youths and it was dying a slow but sure death as a result.

    So to Shorty we say a big thank you and "Who God Bless, No Man Curse" as your musical legacies Soca, Chutney-Soca and Jamoo will live on for many many moons to come!

    Lord Shorty Who God Bless (1978)

    • Arrangers – Garfield Blackman, Carl "Bever" Henderson & Frankie McIntosh
    • Produced by Lord Shorty for Charlie's Records
    Last edited by Socapro; 07-16-2012 at 09:22 PM.
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    Happy Birthday to the late great Ras Shorty-I aka Lord Shorty the Father of Soca for today.

    Definition and Purpose of Soca originally spelt Sokah

    In 1970/71 when Shorty had a discussion with Ed Watson about why Ed and his band seem to be abandoning Calypso for the newly emerging Reggae music from Jamaica after the Carnival season, Ed Watson replied to Shorty that the talk is that Calypso is dying and that Reggae is the new thing. Shorty then challenged Ed Watson that the top musicians in T&T should all get together and find something to help re-invigorate calypso rather than them turning to other people's music from the outside and abandoning our thing. Shorty then went away angry and determined to find something to help re-invigorate calypso music and to make it more attractive to the younger generation so they would take it up with love and excitement and carry it on.

    In 1972 Shorty recorded the experimental calypso tracks "Soul Calypso Music" featured on his first 1973 LP "Gone Gone Gone" and the 7 inch single "Indrani" but it was "Indrani" which contained a new rhythmic fusion of the Calypso beat with East Indians rhythms that was a massive hit for the 1973 T&T Carnival season.
    Shorty then decided to follow up his "Indrani" hit with his second album "Love Man" recorded during 1973 for the 1974 Carnival season in which almost all the tracks contained a rhythmic fusion of the Calypso beat with East Indian rhythms and instruments. In reaction to Shorty's musical experiments the East Indian community in T&T accused Shorty of trying to desecrate their traditional music while the African community in T&T also criticized Shorty for spoiling his Calypsos with unwanted East Indians musical influences. As a result Shorty's "Love Man" album generally got bad reviews and so flopped in record sales.

    So the following year 1974 Shorty decided that he had something rhythmically new and also unifying for the nation of T&T but to appease the African community regards their charge of him spoiling his calypsos he removed all the East Indian instruments but would transfer the rhythmic pattern of the dholak to the drum set, the rhythmic pattern of the dhantal to the triangle and the lead notes of the mandolin/sita to the lead guitar. Shorty came up with the track "Endless Vibrations" which he deliberately sprinkled with catchy American phrases and funky horn lines to attract the interest of the younger generation who were at the time more tuned in to American funk and soul music. The 1974 track "Endless Vibrations" immediately took off and traditional soca music as we know it today was born.

    In 1975 while recording the title track for his "Sweet Music" album Lord Shorty coined the word Soca for his new age calypso music which he originally spelt Sokah. When Shorty came up with the name Sokah he defined it as being an abbreviation for Soul Of KAiso/CAlypso. The "H" was added at the end of the word Sokah by Shorty to reflect the Hindu/East Indian influence that had inspired him in his musical experiments between 1958 and 1974 to move from the traditional calypso beat to his then new Calypso and East Indian rhythmic fusion or Sokah/Soca beat. Shorty also explained that the "kah" part in the word Sokah is also the pronunciation of the first letter in the Sanskrit alphabet that also symbolizes the power of movement and that Sokah in addition to representing the Soul of Calypso also represents the power of movement in sound.

    So Shorty defined SOCA as being the Soul Of CAlypso rather than being a fusion of American Soul & Calypso as some folks ignorantly misinterpret its definition as being. The "SO" in Soca is meant to be an abbreviation for the words "Soul Of" (or deeper emotional & spiritual musical expression of calypso) rather than an abbreviation for American Soul as some folks misinterpret "SO" in Soca/Sokah as meaning. So in reality Soca and the soca beat is a fusion of African/Calypso rhythms and East Indian rhythms even though other musical influences and beats are regularly overlaid and added to the mix. However we must also remember that Calypso in itself is not purely African even though its main roots are African as Calypso also has strong French, Spanish and American Jazz style musical influences.

    Shorty explained in some of his interviews how the spelling "Soca" came about. During the 1976 T&T Carnival season the journalist Ivor Ferreira interviewed Shorty over the phone for an article in the Punch or Mirror newspapers about his new modern style of calypso music that was taking the place by storm that was featured on his "Sweet Music" album. After the telephone interview Ivor Ferreira miss-spelt the word Sokah as Soca in his article and that was the spelling that most of the T&T public first saw in writing in the newspaper for the new style of calypso music that they were hearing and this is the spelling that quickly became popular and stuck. Ivor Ferreira tried to correct his spelling error by doing an album review on the back cover of Shorty's 1977 album called SOKAH Soul of Calypso but by then the spelling of SOCA had become the popular choice. Shorty then decided to go along with the popular spelling SOCA on the cover of his 1978 recorded album called SOCA EXPLOSION but still explained on the back cover and in interviews that SOCA stands for Soul Of CAlypso rather than just a fusion of Soul and Calypso. Still some folks who are not fully aware of all of Shorty's musical experiments misinterpret the meaning of SOCA as just a fusion of Soul and Calypso which is a total misunderstanding and misreprsentation of the true meaning, roots and versatility of Soca music.

    Listen to this interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoYM97IqrNk) where Shorty explains that the popular T&T journalist Ivor Ferreira miss-spelt the word SOKAH as SOCA in his newspaper article. Listen to this interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHhJux80VOQ) where Pelham Goddard confirms that he was there in the KH Recording Studios in Trinidad in 1975 when Shorty came up with the name and spelling SOKAH for his new age calypso music.


    Shorty at a Glance …

    Born Garfield Blackman on October 6, 1941, in Lengua Village, St Cross Road, Princes Town, Trinidad; died on July 12, 2000, at age 59 of bone-marrow cancer in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; married Claudette; children: 25.

    Pseudonym: Adopted stage name Short G 1958; Lord Shorty, 1961; adopted name Ras Shorty-I after conversion to Rastafarianism, 1980. Religion: Christian/Rastafarian.

    Career summary:
    Started to learn to play guitar from age 7;
    Tuner and Arranger for various steelbands including his own steelband Southern Panomites Steel Orchestra that he led in his native Princes Town by the age of 17;
    Bookkeeper, early-mid 1960s & Carpenter, mid-1960s to 1967;
    Started singing in 1958 at the Lengua Youth Movement when he composed his very first Calypso with East Indian musical influence called "Long Mango";
    Started in Calypso business in 1960 as guitarist for his close friend Maestro and other Calypsonians helping them to record calypso demos, etc;
    Calypso composer, music performer, arranger and innovator, 1961-2000 (decided to make music a full-time career after being fired from his carpentry job in 1967);

    Selected discography

    "Sixteen Commandments" (hit single, won South Calypso crown), 1963;
    "Cloak and Dagger" (hit single, was 2nd in T&T Road March), 1964;
    "Must Come Back" (hit single), 1965;
    "Indian Singers" (hit single, 2nd Shorty calypso with strong East Indian musical influence), 1966;
    "Tales of the Bull Pistles" (hit single), 1969;
    "Belchin Belchin" (hit single, won first Calypso King of the World competition), 1970;
    "Only a Heart" (first reggae track featured on flip side of "Belchin Belchin" on Gardette record label) 1970;
    "Cat Kissing" (Hit single. Also set himself mission to improve calypso after regular arranger Ed Watson told him that Calypso is dead/dying), 1971;
    "Indrani" (composed in 1971 but recorded following year after Shorty started own record label. 3rd Shorty calypso with very strong East Indian influence and first to use East Indian instruments/musicians blended with Calypso musicians), 1972;
    "Soul Calypso Music" (experimental calypso with soulful influence from 1st LP Gone Gone Gone), 1973;
    The Love Man, 1973/74 LP (Almost all tracks contain fusion of Calypso rhythms with East Indian rhythms the foundation of the soca beat);
    Endless Vibrations, 1974 LP (After criticism from both Indo-Trini & Afro-Trini communities Indian instruments are removed but hybrid rhythm is maintained on drum-kit and other instruments and Soca is officially established as a new genre);
    Love In The Caribbean, 1975 LP (Contains reggae, ballads and a number of Soca tracks);
    Sweet Music, 1976 LP (Contains massive hit title soca track "Sweet Music" that is viewed as "Endless Vibrations" part 2);
    Sokah, Soul of Calypso, 1977 LP (Contains tracks defining and demonstrating the structure of Sokah music);
    Soca Explosion, 1978 LP (Shorty takes his music in a more spiritual direction after his close calypso colleague Maestro's sudden death);
    We Have Love, 1979 LP (Soca album with a strong gospel flavour on which Shorty introduces his Home Circle family group);
    Jamoo: The Gospel of Soca, 1984 Mini-LP (album defining a new conscious offshoot of soca called Jamoo);
    Lord Shorty The Collection Who God Bless, 1987 LP (Carotte);
    Watch Out My Children 25th Anniversary, 1988/89 Live-LP;
    That Eh Good Enough, 1992 LP;
    Isat Karo Oratkee (Respect Woman), 1996 LP/CD;
    "Watch Out My Children" (remake single), 1997 CD;
    Jamoo Victory, 2000 CD;
    Children of the Jamoo Journey, CD 2000;
    Shorty Greatest Hits, CD 2000 (Charlies).
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    Banned Trinizagada is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedetriniking View Post
    I've always wondered what happened to Dave Elcock who introduced shorty in that clip. He was a major radio announcing in tnt at one point.

    Note that Shorty's children are steeped in music....taught by him. It really gives the lie to some who claim that the man knew nothing about music.

    Enjoyed those clips.
    Dave Elcock lives and works in New York (Brooklyn).

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    Interview with Ras Shorty I in which he explains about Soca and exactly how he invented it.

    G.B.T.V. CultureShare 1997 Interviw with Ras Shorty-I


    Soca was developed between 1958 and 1974 by Lord Shorty and came from a fusion of Calypso rhythms (which has Spanish, French and African musical elements) with East Indian rhythms and also with elements of American soul and funk added to the mix to give it a wide international appeal. Cadence, mambo, rumba, meringue and other musical elements were also regularly added to the Soca mix by top arrangers like Ed Watson in the late 70’s not long after Soca was established as a relatively new music genre.

    Here is a list of Shorty's early albums featuring tracks that clearly show the musical steps he took in coming up with his Soca formula between 1972 and 1974:-

    Lord Shorty album "Gone Gone Gone" (tracks recorded during summer 1972 in Canada & during late 1972 in Trinidad and released in Canada in 1973); featuring tracks like "Soul Calypso Music", "Bajan Gal", "I Who Have Nothing", "Indrani", "Art Of Making Love" & "Calypso Is Ours".

    Lord Shorty album "The Love Man" (recorded during 1973 & released late 1973 for T&T Carnival 1974); featuring hits like "Kalo Gee Bull Bull", "P.M. Sex Probe", "How to Prevent Horn", "Wonder of The World" & "Call of Carnival".

    Lord Shorty album "Endless Vibrations" (recorded during 1974 & released late 1974 for T&T Carnival 1975); featuring hits like "Endless Vibrations", "Zena", "We Ting", "Drum Spirits" & "To Kill A Cat".


    And below are some of the crucial recordings from the albums listed above so you can listen and hear for yourself how the music evolved. The first track called "Calypso Is Ours" is raw traditional Calypso featuring the traditional Calypso beat so you can fully appreciated exactly how Shorty changed the beat in the music as part of experiments to develop his new Soca formula. Many of the tracks were also released as singles. These songs clearly show the experiments done and musical steps that Shorty took between 1972 and 1974 in coming up with his famous Soca formula that took the world by storm with his 1974 released hit “Endless Vibrations”.

    Lord Shorty - Calypso Is Ours (from album "Gone Gone Gone" late 1972/early 1973)

    • Accompanied by Ed Watson Brass Circle & Arranged by Ed Watson

    Lord Shorty - Soul Calypso Music (from album "Gone Gone Gone" late 1972/early 1973)

    • Arranged by Garfield Blackman and Ralph Moore

    Lord Shorty - I Who Have Nothing (from album "Gone Gone Gone" late 1972/early 1973)

    • Arranged by Garfield Blackman and Ralph Moore

    Lord Shorty - Indrani (from album "Gone Gone Gone" late 1972/early 1973)

    • Accompanied by Ed Watson Brass Circle and Dil-E-Nadan Orchestra
    • Arranged by Ed Watson and Garfield Blackman


    Lord Shorty - Kalo Gee Bull Bull (from album "The Loveman" 1973/74)

    • Accompanied by Ed Watson Brass Circle and Dil-E-Nadan Orchestra
    • Arranged by Ed Watson and Garfield Blackman


    Lord Shorty - Call of Carnival (from album "The Loveman" 1973/74)

    • Accompanied by Ed Watson Brass Circle and Dil-E-Nadan Orchestra
    • Arranged by Ed Watson and Garfield Blackman


    Lord Shorty - Wonder of The World (from album "The Loveman" 1973/74)

    • Accompanied by Ed Watson Brass Circle and Dil-E-Nadan Orchestra
    • Arranged by Ed Watson and Garfield Blackman


    Lord Shorty - Drum Spirits (from album "Endless Vibrations" 1974)

    • Accompanied by Art De Coteau Orchestra
    • Arranged by Ed Watson and Garfield Blackman


    Lord Shorty - Endless Vibrations (from album "Endless Vibrations" 1974)

    • Accompanied by Art De Coteau Orchestra
    • Arranged by Ed Watson and Garfield Blackman


    The watershed hit track “Endless Vibrations” was basically a culmination of all the ideas that Shorty had experimented with in previous years but with the controversial hybrid East Indian Calypso rhythmic fusion transferred to the conventional drumming kit to help eliminate the controversy that the fusion stirred on his previous album “The Love Man”.

    Please go to next post in this thread for more great soca tunes in chronological order released by Shorty after "Endless Vibrations".
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    And here are some of the soca tracks that Shorty produced for himself & for other T&T artists after releasing his hallmark soca track "Endless Vibrations" in 1974; From here on Shorty embarked on a musical mission to share his soca formula with other T&T artists and muscians and to promote Soca music to the world!

    Lord Shorty - I Who Have Nothing (1975 Groovy Soca remake; produced by Lord Shorty)

    • Arranged by Garfield Blackman, Lancelot Layne, Junior Brown & Nearlin Taitt

    The Groovy Millers - Come Go With Me (1975; written & produced by Lord Shorty)

    • Arranged by Garfield Blackman, Lancelot Layne, Junior Brown & Nearlin Taitt

    Ella Andall - Second Fiddle (1975; written & produced by Lord Shorty)

    • Arranged by Garfield Blackman, Lancelot Layne, Junior Brown & Nearlin Taitt

    Ella Andall - Hello Africa (Part 1) (1975; produced & arranged by Lord Shorty)

    • Music By Shorty's Vibrations International & Arranged By Lord Shorty

    Lord Shorty - Sweet Music (Late 1975/Early 1976 from album Sweet Music)

    • Arranged By – Ed Watson, Earl Rodney & Garfield Blackman

    Lord Shorty - Wo Yo Youi (Late 1975/Early 1976 from album Sweet Music)

    • Arranged By – Ed Watson, Earl Rodney & Garfield Blackman

    Lord Shorty - Sokah The Soul Of Calypso (Early 1977 from album SOKAH Soul of Calypso)

    • Arranged by Frankie Callender, Garfield Blackman, Vibrations International

    Lord Shorty - Vibrations Groove (Early 1977 from album SOKAH Soul of Calypso)

    • Arranged by Frankie Callender, Garfield Blackman, Vibrations International

    Lord Shorty - Om Shanti Om (1978)

    • Arrangers – Garfield Blackman, Carl "Bever" Henderson & Frankie McIntosh
    • Produced by Lord Shorty for Charlie's Records


    Lord Shorty - Keep In Touch (1978)

    • Arrangers – Garfield Blackman, Carl "Bever" Henderson & Frankie McIntosh
    • Produced by Lord Shorty for Charlie's Records


    Lord Shorty - Soca Fever (1978)

    • Arrangers – Garfield Blackman, Carl "Bever" Henderson & Frankie McIntosh
    • Produced by Lord Shorty for Charlie's Records


    Lord Shorty - Higher World Of Music (1978)

    • Arrangers – Garfield Blackman, Carl "Bever" Henderson & Frankie McIntosh
    • Produced by Lord Shorty for Charlie's Records
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    Ras Shorty I - The Father Of Soca

    One of the legends in calypso and soca, Ras Shorty I, died earlier this summer 2000 after a lengthy illness.
    He was a marvelously creative, a totally unique person in the history of Trinidad music, and one whose career deserves much further study and whose music should continue to be heard.



    Lord Shorty/Ras Shorty I (aka Garfield Blackman) died at age 59 on July 12, 2000. This six foot three imposing singer who is widely credited with starting soca after a long career in calypso and then rejected the soca scene going his own way and creating a unique blend of styles called Jamoo. He consciously brought Indian influences into calypso and soca music.

    From the primarily Indian community of Lengua in South Trinidad, he was originally a bookkeeper. He first appeared as a calypsonian under the name Lord Shorty in 1961 at the Victoria County Fair at Prince Town. He soon came to the tents in Port of Spain. He also started to release a series of singles for the Telco label, producing seven over the next several years. He started in the 1965 Original Young Brigade and stayed with that tent for many years. He sang "Indian Singers" in 1966 and it was featured as one of his first singles. He was a finalist in the 1968 calypso king competition. He was in the 1969 semifinals out of the OYB tent.



    The Seventies saw great changes in his style. He had a couple singles on Antillana. His composition "He Lick She" was a hit for Baron in 1972 and was responsible for launching Baron's career. In around 1973 he formed his own label following Sparrow's example. He issued several of his classic albums and singles on Shorty Records which issued his recordings and those of his talented daughter Abbi Blackman as well as singer Ella Andall.

    He sang in the 1973 OYB Tent with "Art of Love Making" / "Indrani" and won South Calypso King competition that year and was a finalist for the national monarch. Prime Minister Eric Williams was offended by the explicit lyrics of "The Art of Love Making" and Shorty was arrested for indecency in relation to it.

    Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread-lord-shorty-gone-gone-gone-cd-album-cover-listing.jpg Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread-lord-shorty-indrani-art-making-love-vinyl-1973.jpg
    Click to view 1972/73 album & single details

    His second calypso album, "The Love Man", was issued in late 1973 for Carnival 1974. The cover set his image as the ultimate saga man in a striking yellow outfit, that made him look more like a disco singer. It also featured two musicians who were acknowledged as the "East Indian Influences" on the album - the dholak of Robin Ramjitsingh and mandolin of Bisram Moonilal. With this, he started pushing a new rhythm that emphasized the new music's danceability rather than its lyrics. Though he by no means abandoned commentary. He retaliated for his arrest with his song on this album, "PM Sex Probe".



    In 1975 he was popular with "How to Kill A Cat", "Is We Thing" and "High Faluting Lovers". All three were on his Endless Vibrations album. None of them ultimately had the impact as the title track of the album, "Endless Vibrations", with its strong horn lines and lyrics and James Brown-esque shouts and its declaration:

    Hit me horns! Sexy
    Change the accent of Carnival
    To a groovy, groovy Bachannal
    Wailing, expressing your feelings
    The Groove needs changing
    Wake up people, examine your minds
    Get with it, get with it, the change of the times
    It's a new generation Endless Vibrations
    Right on, right on, right on, right on, right on



    While the influence of Indian music was definitely part of the mix, it was African American soul in the mix that joined with calypso to make Soca or "Soul Calypso Music" as Shorty titled another song on this album.

    In 1976, he started and ran his own calypso tent, Professionals tent at NUGFW Hall, 150 Frederick Street St, Port of Spain, with leading calypsonians like Duke, Wellington, Gypsy, Brigo, Funny, Roaring Lion, Rio, and All Rounder among others. He was featuring that year "Sweet Music", the title track of his latest album and the suggestive "Kim". Regrettably, the tent was not a financial success and he returned the next year to the Original Young Brigade.



    In 1977 he released his Soca defining album with his own band "Vibrations International" called "SOKAH The Soul Of Calypso" that explained and broke down his Soca formula.



    In 1978 he released his next album, Soca Explosion, from which "Shanti Om" became a big hit. It also featured his "Higher World", a tribute to his friend Maestro the influential calypsonian who was also instrumental in shaping soca, who had died the year before.



    Shorty & His Home Circle "We Have love" album came in 1979 featuring some of his children as vocalists as well as in the role of backing musicans.



    In the early Eighties, Shorty abandoned the carnival soca scene. He changed his name from Lord Shorty to Ras Shorty I and moved to a different phase of his career, creating a new and unique style of music that he christened Jamoo.



    In the notes for his 1984 mini-album, Jamoo, the Gospel of Soca, Shorty made clear the split with the past and his new mission: "After the onslaught of the Spirit of Carnival upon the mind, Christ Jesus has sent us with healing in the wings of this music, Jamoo, to set the captives free. Jamoo is not a luxury. It is a necessity".

    Ras Shorty-I started working largely with his family band having brought up his children. This music rejected the suggestive party lyrics of soca that had been the focus of his own career for several years, returning to a calypsonian's commitment on serious political and social issues. He added a strong religious message to his recordings and for many years lived in a more remote part of Trinidad, Piparo, training all his many children in music.

    In 1989 he released "Watch My Children", a live album, and began working with producer Kenny Phillips, who he would continue to work with up until his death. The title song went on to be one of his most popular and was acclaimed as one of the top 100 calypsos of the century. A music video of it for local television was directed and produced by Errol Fabien. The song has been recently featured by Singing Sandra in concert. With his death, Prime Minister Panday called for it to be taught in schools as a tool in the fight against drugs.

    Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread-ras-shorty-i-love-circle-jamoo-victory-album-listing.jpg
    Click to view 1999 album details

    The Nineties showed his general removal from the Carnival scene, calypso tents, and soca. He did continue to perform and record with his family group, the Love Circle on occasion and he remained a potent presence. His attack on soca singers, "Latrine Singers", led to a picong response by Iwer George's "Think It Over" that was a hit at the Spektacula tent a few years ago. In 1999, he issued his last album Jamoo Victory collecting many of his best Jamoo recordings. Meanwhile, Charlie's Records in New York issued a CD collection, Greatest Hits, which surveyed many of his outstanding soca songs of the Seventies. It is his early 60's calypso recordings that sadly remain unavailable and illusive.

    His legacy is large. His many children are continuing to perform as the Love Circle and in various other groups and as solo performers. They themselves are a key part of his important legacy. With the anniversary of Trinidad's Independence just here, it is appropriate to recall the words of one of his early calypsos.

    Lord Shorty - We Ting (1974)
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    In this Pelham Goddard interview he gives his account of when and how Shorty came up with the name Sokah in 1975 while recording "Sweet Music" and that is was originally defined to mean the Soul of Calypso rather than a fusion of American Soul & Calypso as many non-Trinis have misunderstood the word Soca to mean.

    Pelham Goddard explains how Shorty came up with the name for Sokah/Soca in 1975

    Pelham describes the advent of soca music, outlining some of the players and factors that had an impact on its emergence. At 3:18 in video Pelham explains how Shorty came up with the name Sokah for the new music meaning the Soul or deeper musical expression of Calypso and it was not American Soul and Calypso as many people mistakenly believe. Pelham also said "Indrani" which came a few years before "Sweet Music" was a major turning point in the direction of the music.

    I would additionally like to point out that Pelham Goddard overlooked mentioning in that interview the important fact that Shorty had already recorded the earlier soca track "Endless Vibrations" the previous year 1974. Pelham seemed to have forgotten that "Endless Vibrations" was a major hit for T&T 1975 Carnival which happened earlier that very year 1975 in which "Sweet Music" was recorded. So Pelham wrongly gave the impression that "Sweet Music" was Shorty's first full blown soca track which is not the case.
    Click album images below to enlarge and view album details including year of release.

    Endless Vibrations album (1974/75)
    Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread-lord-shorty-endless-vibrations-album-cover-side-one-vinyl-1974.jpg

    Sweet Music album (1975/76)
    Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread-lord-shorty-sweet-music-album-cover-vinyl.jpg

    Pelham's previous keyboard work on Shorty's material may have been on “Indrani” recorded in 1972 which is a 3 year gap so maybe that is why he completely overlooked "Endless Vibrations" (which he did not play keyboards on) which was recorded by Shorty the year before using Ed Watson and Art De Coteau's Orchestra. Backing music for "Indrani" was done by Ed Watson Brass Circle with Dil-E-Nadan so we are not even sure if Pelham actually played keyboards on "Indrani" even though he mentioned it as an earlier experimental recording by Shorty that represented a major turning point in the music.

    Indrani single (1972/73)
    Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread-lord-shorty-indrani-calypso-ours-7-inch-cover-vinyl-1973.jpg

    Also note that Pelham confirms that Shorty initially spelt the word Soca as "Sokah" with its definition being the Soul of Calypso rather than a fusion of American Soul & Calypso as is pedaled by some misled folks.

    Regards the drummer Michael "Toby" Tobas, I believe he had already familiarized himself with executing the Soca beat by the time of the recording of "Sweet Music" because he had done the Soca drumming on Shorty's "Endless Vibrations" album from the previous year 1974 as well as on Shorty's "Love In The Caribbean" album recorded and produced by Shorty himself earlier in that very same year of 1975.

    Love In The Caribbean album (1975)
    Tribute to Lord Shorty aka Ras Shorty-I the Father of Soca Thread-lord-shorty-friends-love-caribbean-album-cover-front-back-vinyl.jpg

    So Toby being the world class drummer that he is did not need much instruction from Shorty in how to execute the new Soca beat that he was already familiar with at this stage in late 1975.

    In fact I believe in addition to working on Shorty’s “Endless Vibrations” and “Love In The Caribbean” albums Toby also did the calypso/soca drumming on Shorty's "Love Man" album as well recorded in 1973 in which a lot of Shorty's Calypso and East Indian fusion experiments took place.

    Even though Pelham was there when Shorty came up with the name Sokah for the music, he did not work on Shorty's music for the 3 year gap between the recording of "Sweet Music" in late 1975 and "Indrani" in late 1972 so would have missed directly seeing some of the rapid developments to the Soca beat that took place between "Indrani" and "Sweet Music".
    During this 3 year period Shorty recorded 3 albums, "Love Man" (1973), "Endless Vibrations" (1974) and "Love In The Caribbean" (early 1975) all featuring important steps in the development of the Soca beat and I believe Toby drummed on all those albums.

    Just thought I point that out and most importantly that “Sweet Music” wasn’t Shorty’s first Soca track because by late 1975 he already had quite a few soca tracks under his belt (as can be seen featured in this very thread) even though the music was still rapidly developing with improving studio technology, etc.

    I am sure if a follow-up interview is done with Pelham Goddard that he would confirm exactly what I just pointed out above about him not working with Shorty during that (1972 to 1975) 3 year gap while Toby the drummer regularly working with Shorty during that crucial period in which the soca beat was developed.
    Arranger Ed Watson who worked more regularly than most with Shorty during this crucial period together with ace drummer Toby Tobas will be two of the best people to interview regards directly witnessing the steps that Shorty took between 1972 and 1974 in his development of the Soca beat.
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    Shorty explains the roots and meaning of Soca and how original spelling was changed from "Sokah" to "Soca".

    G.B.T.V. CultureShare ARCHIVES 1995: RAS SHORTY I "Interview" Seg#1of2.

    2-27-95 - Interview With Harold Pysadee @ The Home Of Ras Shorty I & Family, Piparo, Trinidad, West Indies...#1 of 2

    G.B.T.V. CultureShare ARCHIVES 1995: RAS SHORTY I "Interview" Seg#2of2.

    2-27-95 - Interview With Harold Pysadee @ The Home Of Ras Shorty I & Family, Piparo, Trinidad, West Indies...#2 of 2
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    Ras Shorty I - Watch Out My Children (Original Music Video 1989)


    Recorded in 1989 just before the 1990 Coup Attempt after which the Jump & Wave Soca style led by Super Blue became popular.
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    I think it’s time to bump this thread.

    The music recordings are there to document what Shorty did so all the recycled old talk is really unnecessary at this stage when the history is already documented by the music recordings.

    Shorty changed the rhythmic structure of the music which is what makes the soca he introduced a distinctive new music genre from calypso.

    Despite all their old talk none of the others claimants changed the musical structure of calypso like Shorty did and it is that rhythmic and structural change that led to the birth of Sokah/Soca.
    All the other experiments and fusions are just window dressing as they did not fundamentally change the structure of the music like Shorty’s experiments did.

    After Shorty did his thing then the others followed suit. In addition Shorty did the very same experiments with soul and funk that the others did but what caused him to change the structure of the music completely were his experiments with fusing traditional Calypso with East Indians rhythmic instruments.

    You can go thru this thread from post #6 and the history and birth of Soca is dead easy to follow and understand.

    Still big-up to all the other pioneers who also seriously contributed to the establishment of Soca like Maestro, Ed Watson, Pelham Goddard, Shadow, Art De Coteau, Nelson, Clive Bradley, Calypso Rose, Earl Rodney, Mighty Duke, Merchant, King Wellington and many others who all contributed and added their own unique twist to the highly versatile Soca genre which I honestly believe is the most versatile music genre in the world.
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    Ras Shorty I
    Calypsonian who found religion after a life of sex and drugs

    Peter Mason (The Guardian)
    Saturday 15 July 2000 00.51 BST



    Ras Shorty I & The Love Circle (comprising of Shorty, his wife and six of his children)

    Few life conversions have been more spectacular than that of the Trinidadian calypsonian and father of soca music, Ras Shorty I, who has died from bone cancer aged 58.

    As the notoriously free- living "Lord Shorty", he was the classic Port of Spain "saga boy" in the 1960s and early 70s, taking part in what he later described as an "orgy of the flesh"; as the self-styled "Love Man", he had a prodigious appetite for women, drink and drugs.

    Then, in the late 1970s, he found religion, renounced worldly pleasures and moved deep into the remote Piparo forest in southern Trinidad, 50 miles from Port of Spain. There he built a house, changed his name to Ras Shorty I, grew dreadlocks and lived quietly for the rest of his life with his wife, Claudette, and their 14 children.

    The constant thread in his life was music. In Piparo, he proved to be a great songwriter, producing new, avowedly spiritual, tunes that were as popular with the Trinidadian public as his previous, far more frivolous, output.

    His greatest legacy, however, was as the force behind soca music, which, with its up-tempo and more funky outlook, brought calypso music into the modern era. Though of African descent, he also played a significant role in bringing the sounds of Trinidad's Indian community into the island's musical mainstream. A cover version of his song, Om Shanti, became a major hit in India.

    Born Garfield Blackman in Lengua, Trinidad, Shorty - so named in ironic reference to his 6ft 4in frame - began singing at the age of seven, and made his breakthrough in 1963 with the song Cloak And Dagger. He quickly became known as the most outrageous of calypsonians, in a profession renowned for carousing lifestyles.
    Many of his lively and hugely popular compositions, such as "Art Of Making Love", were appropriately risqué and sex-orientated, and in 1973 he was charged with obscenity, a complaint only dropped after the intervention of the Trinidadian prime minister, Eric Williams.

    Shorty's most important mark was made with the 1974 album Endless Vibrations, which was the first to use the new soca rhythm. Like his Lord Shorty persona, his music was bold, loud, sensuous and larger than life. It was much copied, and has become part of the bedrock of calypso.

    By late 1977, however, Shorty had became disenchanted with the “Love Man” image he had created, and when Maestro, a close calypsonian friend and composer, was killed in a car crash, in addition to his mother passing away, he underwent a dramatic change of direction, swapping his fancy clothes for togas and sandals, and retreating to the forest.

    In Piparo, after a period of Rastafarian-inspired reflection and establishing a new-found faith in Christianity, he gathered together some of his talented children to form his own musical group, the Love Circle, and devoted himself to writing songs about spiritual matters and the dangers of hedonism.

    Though he sometimes complained that "a lot of people can't accept the fact that I am no longer Lord Shorty", the new message he gave out was warmly received by most Trinidadians - as well as by those further afield, who came to hear his songs through the burgeoning 1980s world-music scene. In 1989, his anti-drug song, Watch Out Children - which warns against "a fella called Lucifer with a bag of white powder, he don't want to powder your face but bring shame and disgrace to the human race" - was an international success translated into 10 languages.

    Latterly, in a song called Latrine Singers, he lambasted Trinidad's new generation of calypsonians for their obsession with sexually-fixated lyrics. Although the song caused heated debate in Trinidad - and earned Shorty some insults from younger singers - it did nothing to damage the respect in which he was almost universally held.



    Shorty also continued his mission to promote the "Indianisation of calypso", writing a number of songs that presaged the current boom in Trinidad of Indian-influenced "chutney soca". Last month, he and his band released God's Calypsonian, containing reworkings of "Lord Shorty" hits that he had no objection to, plus more recent numbers.

    Garfield Blackman (Ras Shorty I), calypsonian, born October 6 1941; died July 12 200.
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    Check out this Lord Shorty calypso recording from the 1960's and hear how much he was trying to emulate Sparrow vocally from early in his career before finding his own niche by the 1970's and introducing Soca.

    Lord Shorty - Must Come Back (1965)

    Band is possibly the Bertrand Inniss Orchestra which backed most OYB artists until 1967

    This calypso was recorded & released by Lord Shorty in 1965 on the Telco record label, catalogue no. TW 3258. The backing orchestra is possibly the Bertrand Inniss Orchestra but I will do some checking to confirm.

    The storyline in this calypso is about a foolish fella named Paul who left his pardner Mary for another woman name Lucy but kept going back to his ex-pardner Mary for food but using the excuse of visiting his Ex to see his children. Story is about how Lucy almost poisoned Paul by putting different stuff in his food to try to ensure Paul comes back to her after visiting his Ex. Great calypso to teach men lesson about not going back!
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    JA Soca Ambassador socapineman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socapro View Post
    I think it’s time to bump this thread.

    The music recordings are there to document what Shorty did so all the recycled old talk is really unnecessary at this stage when the history is already documented by the music recordings.

    Shorty changed the rhythmic structure of the music which is what makes the soca he introduced a distinctive music genre from calypso.

    Despite all their old talk none of the others claimants changed the musical structure of calypso like Shorty did and it is that rhythmic and structural change that led to the birth of Sokah/Soca.
    All the other experiments and fusions are just window dressing as they did not fundamentally change the structure of the music like Shorty’s experiments did.

    After Shorty did his thing then the others followed suit. In addition Shorty did the very same experiments with soul and funk that the others did but what caused him to change the structure of the music completely were his experiments with fusing traditional Calypso with East Indians rhythmic instruments.

    You can go thru this thread from post #6 and the history and birth of Soca is dead easy to follow and understand.

    Still big-up to all the other pioneers who also seriously contributed to the establishment of Soca like Maestro, Ed Watson, Pelham Goddard, Shadow, Art De Coteau, Nelson, Clive Bradley, Calypso Rose, Earl Rodney, Mighty Duke, Merchant, King Wellington and many others who all contributed and added their own unique twist to the highly versatile Soca genre which I honestly believe is the most versatile music genre in the world.

    Nice...Good read !

    Clearly, he Shorty was a Pioneer and coined the phrase” Soca “ , Big Up!

    I know you know the History well, so please feel free to start another tread, if you can expound on what is a Calypso Tent , what is it and the significant of it relating to Trinidad !

    Next, IMO, you need to add Eddy Grant, Mighty Sparrow , Lord Tokyo to the list above, yes, no, and if no why !



    Finally, in another thread….Clearly you might be too young to know what role he played in Trinidad….Byron Lee

    Jamaica Gleaner News - The Dragon brings Caribbean together - Sunday | April 13, 2014

    re : this line from the article “"It was in about 1965-66, we went to Trinidad.”
    If you know……clearly, when he was there I am assuming you were too young to know he was a Master Musician…who was the first Band to Play live on the road in Trinidad….meaning on a trucks…anyway, post it in another thread your take on the article and what role Sparrow played re Soca, or was he just Calypso back then…if you know ! And what was the beef Shorty had with Sparrow and other soca artist re the direction of it.....Soca!
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