Freeport, Grand Bahamas

Prince Charles & his Royal Cats Freeport, Grand Bahamas: More of... LP (Elite, 196?)

I was late in coming to reggae. My younger brother got to it earlier than I did and with his infatuation with the genre came an evangelical zeal. He was determined that I was to like reggae and relentlessly tried to convert me. Of course, I wasn't going to be converted and instead took on a Meatmen-sort of reaction to the music. "Blow me Jah," I echoed. It didn't help that everyone I knew that dug reggae were potheads, something I wasn't.

Then one day I was thrifting and found a copy of Byron Lee & the Dragonaires 1968 self-titled record on JAD. I had no idea who Byron Lee was and bought it only because it was an "and the..." band and, on the back cover, the band was posing on a hotel pool's diving boards, with their instruments. That looked cool, I bought it. Didn't take to the record, except a great version of William Bell's "Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday." That song slew me. Slowly the rest of the album sunk in. I wasn't quite yet a reggae fan, but I was now on the hunt for "tourist albums" from the Caribbean. You see, because Lee and band were posing on those diving boards, I assumed that JAD was some branch of Jamaican Airlines or some "Come to Jamaica" outfit. And while I was wrong about JAD being a tourism label, I was right in snatching up Caribbean tourist records.

Over the years, I've picked up a few hundred such albums. They range from steel drum to island soul to calypso to ska to pop ballads. Maybe a dozen of them are 100% keepers. A couple dozen more are very good records. And a few dozen have one good song on them. The rest are crap. As far as keep:discard ratio, Caribbean tourist albums offer pathetic returns. Off the top of my head, only White Christian music records and Christmas albums are a worse bet. However, when the tourist album hits, it is worth the all the crappy ones. It is how I got into calypso and lead me to some real gems like this Emile Volel album I posted some time ago. It is also why I picked up this one by Prince Charles and his Royal Cats.

I don't know anything about the Prince or his cats other than what the liner notes tell me: They were one of the first bands to make a scene in Freeport and are "now" an institution. They sing a lot about Freeport. The record is on the Elite label out of Nassau, a label that turned out a lot of tourist albums, a few of them damn good. This one is a damn good one. All the songs are good, a few of them are great or near great. When I first put it on, I didn't think much - good island soul - and then the second vocals on "Freeport" came in and I was sold. The songs posted today range from island soul to novelty ska to ska soul to some funky island jam. None of this fits into one genre, which is why it is safe to call it tourist music. The singing is good, and I love the guitar. Best of all is that the two guitar, conga, maracas, steel drum instrumentation keeps the sound stripped down and a bit rough at the edges. It is also good summer music.


a calypso about Sonny Liston, chorus goes: "Pow pow pow, Pi pi pa die, Sonny Liston!"

Artist? Album? It was a childhood fave, info lost in sands of time.

Ring a bell?
Scott did you ever try to go deep into Arabic music, and especially Moroccan and Tunisian music ? the usual result is one big dissonance, or just being labeled under "world music" associations, which is really bad. all that for people who didn't grew with it, or grew up in a place where it's not part of any culture.
i think the main problem that it's too damn serious to dill with, and the rhythms are not 1-2-3-4. but since you are really open minded i think u could be sucked in _{}{}_
just try not to convert to islam or anything like that (can happen).

tanzya ya habibi----> (follow the trance rhythm) filmed in israel in late 70's


david hamelech
Thanks, David. Actually, I am a real big fan of Arabic/Middle Eastern music and have a pretty decent collection of it. I am really keen on the classic Lebanese artists but like it from whatever region. After years of listening to it I am finally parsing out the different styles. How much do I dig the stuff? I have a trip scheduled to Morocco pretty much to hunt for records and take in the music.

I'd post more if it but am loath to host tracks longer than 5 minutes each due to server issues. Hopefully I'll score plenty of stuff with shorter running times than the usual 15 to 20 minutes found on most records of this ilk.
that's cool! i can probably help with finding places for haflas. chabi, and trad. moroccan shows are the most intense i've been in, way more than any punk or r'n'r show, and i was in 1000's of r'n'r gigs. when they are all fucked up after 5-6 hours of playing and smoking and drinking, and if it's a good band, they just kill everything and the audience is in a half trance state. i've been lot's of times in an old moroccan place in jaffa, the audience is mostly nice ex criminals with their wifes. most of them are in their 60's and 70's, interested in listening to good music and smoking hash. when everything is working, the best thing to do is roll your eyes up.

david hamelech.
Is this the album that contains their version of "My Girl"?
Prince Charles was my husband, he passed away in 1988. Besides the album you have on this site you recored two others. I had them transfered to CD so I will always have them. I do cherish having the 3 albums as the album covers will something our daughter will have. Calypso music in general is wonderful and so much of the island culture. It was great seeing Charlie's album on your page.

Thank you.
Ryan, yes that is the album.
As I write this , I am listening to the album " Prince Charlie and his Royal Cats at the Holiday Inn " and very nice it is to !
They were a great band with good vocals and as you said very nice guitars . The recording quality is a step up on many of the West indians recordings of the time in quality. Will look out for more of this gifted group , would have loved to see them live back in the day .
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