Monday, July 4, 2016

The Confidential Club Orchestra feat. Jonathan Kemp

Artist: The Confidential Club Orchestra feat. Jonathan Kemp
LP: Goombay Carnival
Song: "Pretty Boy"
[ listen ]
Song: "Drums"
[ listen ]
Song: "Hard Times (Fish Man)" 
[ listen ]

Here's something to play at your 4th of July fireworks party tonight instead of fucking Lee Greenwood for god's sake. The notes on the back of the record say it was recorded in the British West Indies (BWI), but The Bahamas gained their independence from Britain, an event commonly referred to at the time as "the Bahexit," in 1973. They've been an independent nation ever since. 

There's not a lot of information about The Confidential Club Orchestra and vocalist Jonathan Kemp on the web, but I did find this June 24, 1957 article from the St. Petersburg Times which indicates that the group would be playing calypso for one final week in the Flamingo Room at St. Petersburg's Robert James Hotel. The hotel doesn't seem to be operating today, but my research did unearth an interesting artifact—the Spring 1956 edition of The Negro Travelers' Green Book

The Green Book was a sort of printed Yelp guide for African-Americans who enjoyed traveling the USA during the Jim Crow era, providing tips on which hotels and restaurants served black people. The Robert James Hotel, for example, is listed as a viable option for African-Americans in search of lodging in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to the forward section of the guide, The Green Book helped 'The Negro Traveler' steer clear of 'embarrassing situations' and provided 'ASSURED PROTECTION,' which I think we can assume means the guide helped its readers avoid lynchings and murder.

The negro traveler in Washington state was evidently on their own if they decided to venture anywhere outside Everett, Tacoma or Seattle. And only in Tacoma could they be sure to avoid embarrassment when ordering a meal!

Anyway, Happy Independence Day. We've sure come a long way...and yet somehow it feels like we're still not even halfway there. LP liner notes are included below.

[ The Confidential Club Orchestra feat. Jonathan Kemp (w/ arrow) in 1957 ]

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