Scorpion – Stinging!

This is a throwback to an article I did for the Calypso Association 50th anniversary magazine in 2007. In the interest of increasing awareness of the accomplishments of some of our iconic calypsonians and increasing appreciation for the art form, I figured I would share some of that issue with you. This particular article looked at the Anchors of Antiguan calypso – not the superstars covered in Over the Boundary but the reliable contributors known for their consistent play, providing a strong foundation for the growth of the art form. The first of these looked at Franco, the second at Calypso Joe, and the third at Calypso Jim. In this post, I’ll share the section of that article focused on Barry ‘Scorpion’ Edwards. DO NOT repost without permission or credit.

Barry ‘Scorpion’ Edwards’ material was always top drawer, and apropos of his name, always stinging.

“Is not he one in the land ha’deeds with big business man
Is not he one we undersand ha’bank account in Switzerland
Is not he one in corruption mixed up with white power…”
(Dolly House, 1993)

“I want a copy of the Bob Washington report
And I want an inquiry into each and every promissory note
Find out for me in what constituency
Carla Samuel vote so easy…”
(My Offer – Mr. Bird, 1994)

“They all playing games
He and de Dominican
Pure legal tricks
No one protecting de poor citizen”
(Gathering Storm, 2001)

Clearly, he wasn’t joking when he sang, ‘Calypso go call you Name’. He never waffled; even challenging the CDC in 1999, as the then sitting Calypso Association president, by not only boycotting the official festivities but leading the association in staging its own.

Having claimed the campus crown at UWI Cave Hill in 1971, Scorpion first entered the domestic competition in 1975; the following year he finished third, behind Short Shirt and Swallow. He’d remain stuck in third for much of his competitive years, and, as Maxine Allen wrote in a 1995 article, “he has placed third in the competition so many times – including a tie with Latumba – that the witty Calypso stalwart Obstinate has dubbed him ‘my friend, Scorpion the third’.”

But Scorpion has always taken it in stride. In fact, he sang, in 1996,

“Here I am, not a King, but one who is duty bound
To get on this stage and explain why corruption abounds….”

As he told, Allen in 1995, “It is all about loving people and country – and believing that the expression of deep held convictions is more important than winning.”

The ‘Why’ of it was probably best captured in 1995’s ‘Inheritance’,

“What you going to say when you grand chile ask you
Where all dey future gone
What games you goin’ play when they start diss you
Curse the day you born
You could lie then like you coward now
You can’t say you didn’t know
Every record I make Scorpion tell you so
So wake up my people when you sleeping
You taking chance
With the children inheritance.”

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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