Recorded in 1956. Includes liner notes by Chuck Foster.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Before gaining fame as a poet, Maya Angelou recorded an album of calypso songs in 1957. Tracks include "Mambo in Africa" and "Calypso Blues."
This reissue was probably motivated by the exotica-space age pop revival. The cover, after all, features Angelou draped in a slip of a red dress, gyrating next to a fire in the middle of a (almost definitely fake) jungle. It's really not that strange or cheesy, though. It's more or less straight-ahead pop-calypso, sung with respectable gutsiness by Angelou, who wrote almost half of the material. Somewhat in the mold of the popular calypso recordings from the same era by Harry Belafonte, it features sparse backing from guitarist Tommy Tedesco (one of the most frequently employed L.A. session musicians of the '50s and '60s) and Al Bello (on congos, bongos, and drums). ~ Richie Unterberger