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No bad Blood

August 10, 2007

bp43152.jpgHAS ANDERSON BLOOD ARMSTRONG finally proven himself to be a full-blooded calypsonian?

He might not wish to put it like that since he has paid the dues of 20 plus years in the art form, but last Friday night’s Cable & Wireless Pic-O-De-Crop Finals result proved once and for all that Blood can never again be written off in any kaiso contest. The man who – as a Lodge School boy – rocked the airwaves in 1984 with Sports Billie and then, at age 15, became the youngest-ever Pic-O-De-Crop finalist, came within a quarter-point of winning the national calypso crown last week.

He didn’t see it as a coming-of-age, though, but simply as a surmountable challenge.

“When I have something to do, I put my all into it. I might not have won the crown but I feel like a king,” he told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday.

Either way

Particularly pleasing was the fact that the title could have gone to either him or his “big brother” Red Plastic Bag, who won the Pic-O-De-Crop title for a record eighth time. Blood didn’t mind losing one bit.

“We go a long way back. In fact, last year he wrote one of my songs. Usually when he’s writing, he calls and seeks my opinion. We were always close,” he recalled, harking back to the years when the newly formed Square One was backing band for the Untouchables tent.

Incidentally, both entities – the band, of which Blood was lead vocalist, and the tent which featured Bag – no longer exist.

Bag says I’m like a son, but he’s more like a big brother,” he added.

It has been a great Pic-O-De-Crop contest for Blood; very competitive.

In good hands

“There was a lot of solid material. I was particularly impressed with Rommel. With youngsters like that coming in, calypso will be in good hands. The Junior Monarch also has some good potential. You just need more experienced people in the art form helping the younger ones.

“I also have a feeling next year a lot more artistes will be taking a crack and getting back into social commentary. I’m also happy to see Black Pawn, whose innovative style I’ve always admired, writing consistently for Malik. As long as Pawn is writing for him, Malik will be a force to reckon with,” he predicted.

Blood longs for the day when mentorship returns to the competition. “When I started, people like Romeo, Mark Lord, Gabby, Pompey and Destroyer were always there with words of encouragement,” he said.

So has the vibe of Crop-Over changed since he first entered as Young Blood?

“The feeling and vibe of being at the Stadium are basically the same. What has changed is that there was an element of fun but it has become way too serious.

“I don’t know if it’s the public or the judges in terms of what they’re looking for; I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe in looking for the political stuff, people have forgotten the fun.”

As far as his 2007 songs were concerned, Blood feels they fit him to a T, since “everybody was doing topics about politics and the country, so they were basically saying the same thing”.

For The Children was penned by himself and Carla Springer, while Calypso Owes You Nothing is a Sir Don composition. Both can “live” after Crop-Over, he said, since their subjects go far beyond the parochial.

Blood also felt “extremely great” about the successes of the Headliners tent, which he co-managed, as it copped the two top prizes in the Party Monarch and the top three on the road.

He now plans to relax after a hectic season of preparing his own material and producing work for other artistes. His “relaxation” will include performing at a show in The Bahamas, Labour Day in New York next month, followed by Miami Carnival.

Source: Nationnews

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