King Short Shirt and Trinidad Road March History


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    When T&T 1976 Carnival took place at which Lord Kitchener won his 11th and final Road March title with “Flag Woman”, the song “Tourist Leggo” by Short Shirt of Antigua was not yet recorded and released.

    “Tourist Leggo” by Short Shirt was actually recorded at K.H. Studios in Sea Lots, PoS with Art De Coteau and His Orchestra sometime between June and July 1976 and was released in late July 1976 in time for Antigua’s 1976 Carnival that took place in August that year.
    “Tourist Leggo” won the 1976 Antigua road march title before it went on to crossed over into T&T 1977 Carnival early the following year helped by the fact that it was recorded and then also released in Trinidad during late 1976.

    What happened during the 1977 T&T Carnival season was that Short Shirt’s song was causing quite a stir and many folks who were not aware of the foreign song restriction already in place in the road march rules after what happened in 1955 made a big fuss about the possibility that an outside Calypsonian could win the prestigious T&T road march title.
    However when officials examined the road march rules they realized that a restriction on foreign songs was already in place from 1955 so Short Shirt’s song was not technically eligible to be in the T&T road march after all. However to clarify things for the future during the 1977 the T&T road march rules were slightly amended to state that not just foreign songs are ineligible for road march competition (as foreign songs can be interpreted to be any non-Calypso like “Happy Wanderer” from 1955 was) but also Calypsos sung by foreign artists were not eligible to be judged in the T&T road march competition.

    In the end Calypso Rose deservedly took the 1977 T&T road march title with her massive hit “Give More Tempo” and created history as the first “official” female T&T road march champion.

    As confirmation of these historical facts you can contact Brother Resistance current President of TUCO who was present at the Queen’s Park Savannah in 1997 when there was a clash of two major Calypso Tents and Short Shirt was put up against Shadow who had two very big hits “Children Ting” and “Jump Judges Jump” in 1977. And for the record Shadow won that particular duel between himself and Short Shirt in 1977 at the Queen’s Park Savannah and so defended the honour of Trinidad & Tobago as the clash was billed.

    As further confirmation you check some of the popular brass band albums that came out for the 1977 T&T Carnival season and you would regularly hear brass band versions of both “Tourist Leggo” by Short Shirt” and “Give More Tempo” by Calypso Rose on many of those 1977 Carnival albums.

    For example below is the track listing for Ed Watson Brass Circle 1977 album called “This Is Music”:-

    Ed Watson And His Brass Circle ‎– This Is Music
    Label: Charlie’s Records ‎– CRL 1007
    Format: Vinyl, LP
    Country: T&T
    Released: 1977
    Style: Calypso, Soca
    A1 Wooy Midebar
    A2 If You Leave Me Now
    A3 Dance Little Lady Dance
    A4 Fernando
    A5 Lovie Dovie
    B1 The Only Time You Say You Love Me
    B2 Don’t Leave Me This Way
    B3 Torn Between Two Lovers
    B4 More Tempo
    B5 Tourist Leggo

    Flute, Clarinet – D. Wilkinson
    Organ, Piano, Synthesizer – Ed Watson
    Saxophone – D. Wilkinson, H. Boucaud
    Strings, Electric Piano – P. Goddard
    Arranged & Conducted – Ed Watson

    See this link for more details where you can also listen to the tracks:

    Best Regards
    Ian Socapro Henry
    (Calypso & Soca History Researcher & Writer)

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