Robert Mitchum - Calypso, Is Like So...

Mention late Hollywood actor Robert Mitchum in conversation and the subject will immediately be drawn towards the evil, relentless Max Cady from sixties-psychological-thriller Cape Fear or the gold-digging Reverend Harry Powell with 'love' and 'hate' tattooed on his hands in Night Of The Hunter. Mitchum's iconic persona was both feared and respected both amongst audiences and the industry, and his hard-edged demeanour earned him a huge following.

Which makes it even stranger that Calypso, Is Like So…, a late-fifties Capitol records album devoted to exploiting the 'new' Calypso trend that was destined to spoil rock and roll's arrival, was sung by Mitchum himself. Whilst on location in Trinidad, the hardened actor was quickly lured into the colourful aesthetic of the genre and was soon telling everyone on US shores about the appeal of this far-away music. Soon, Mitchum had a record-deal, and it's a testament to the actor's no-nonsense attitude that Mitchum was allowed to record Calypso, Is Like So… with such an uncompromising attitude. The only changes to some of the songs were as a result of profanity censorship, but overall the album has Mitchum delivering vocals with the closest Caribbean accent he could muster.

Nearly fifty years later, and Rev-Ola have remastered and revisited this quirky entity in musical / cinematic history by giving it a welcome compact disc release on UK shores. There's even some ultra-rare flip-sides of the single Mitchum released from his 1958 film Thunder Road, which adds to the collectible factor. It helps that Calypso, Is Like So… is drenched in warm humour and a colourful vibe. Songs such as From A Logical Point Of View and What Is This Generation Coming To? express the inherent sexist viewpoint you'd associate with Mitchum's menacing characters, but on the whole this is pure fifties fun; a joyful, colourful album schizophrenically recorded by one of cinema's darkest actors.

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out of 10

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