Jump In The Line | Lord Kitchener | 1946 Leggo

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Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago has a rich and glorious history; that history has been recorded and memorialized in print unlike the rest of the Caribbean region. Those other islands of the Caribbean region,  that have a similar carnival history, don't have the historical markers that Trinidad is so blessed to have today. There was a time when the Leggo, or Break Away song, was heralded as the best song for the two days of parade on the streets. Today we call that song the National Road March which, of course, was officially sanctioned in 1962. Prior to 1962 that song was known as the Leggo! This post takes a look at one of the most famous Leggos that is still played around the World today... a modified version but linking back to the original version done by the bard  from Arima, Lord Kitchener.

This is very interesting since Lord Kitchener (who has the most wins) has one win credited to his name prior to 1962! Should this be considered and included as a Road March win? The jury is out on that but for today's post we simply look back at the year 1946 and the creation of the song Jump In The Line which became famously known as Shake Senora as it was copied and stylized to suite different times for each generation.

Jump In The Line by Lord Kitchener has taken on a life of it own and has become world famous having been sampled and ending up on the cinematic screen. Today most singers consider success as making it on the billboard chart and taking the current music style global. However, what they don't realize is that Calypso has already achieved that goal! The first song to sell a million copies was a Calypso! So while we celebrate this 1046 Leggo we and jump in the line and talk a little about the journey of this song.

It was in 1946 that Lord Kitchener had his first major success with a trio of songs that swept the Carnival of that year. It was a dream come true for the champion singer from Arima.

The songs he had included Jump In The Line, Tie Tongue Mopsy and Chinese Never had a VJ Day (aka Lai Fook Lee).

The song, Jump In The Line, went on to become the chosen song for the road, the one that people loved, sang and paraded on the streets singing and dancing with gay abandon. Jump In The Line was the Leggo (Break Away) for Carnival 1946. However, it was not until 1948 that the song was actually recorded.

The recording studio was R. G. Jones of Mrrden with numbers HB 302 for side A and HB 303 for side B. The printed label on the record reads "Renico Simmons Presents" with the song on Side A "Jump in the Line" and side B "Take me to Trinidad". We have a photo of side B but that record is difficult to locate.

Jump in the Line, the original version, sung by Lord Kitchener has been sampled and re-recorded by many singers over the years. Today we post the original version sung by Kitch (provided by Eric St. Clair and Kenny Phillips of WACK Radio 90.1 FM Trinidad/we used the copy provided by Kenny Phillips) along with versions of the song by Lord Invader, Lord Flea and Harry Belafonte. The song exploded on the scene when Harry Belafonte reworked the song and delivered Shake Senora (Jump in the Line).

Most people associate the song with Harry Belafonte because as a singer of calypsos, written and originally sung by Trinidadians, he was able to capture the imagination of the American public.  His accent and style was palatable to the Americans unlike the Trinidadians with their 'strong' Trinidad accent. Even to this day it is difficult for most Americans visiting the islands to understand the Trinidad vernacular English.

One must congratulate Mr. Belafonte for his success and for putting calypso on the World map; but at the same time, it is a crying shame that the efforts and abilities for the Trinidadian artists go in vain! This song 'Jump in Line' was written and performed by Lord Kitchener in 1946 and remade by Mr. Belafonte in 1961 with the Shake Senora caption. Now one must also take into consideration that 'Jump in the Line' was also done  by  Lord Invader in 1955 (Labor Day, Calypso on Folkways label 1955) and by Lord Flea (Swingin' Calypsos Capitol Records 1957); Belafonte did his medley in 1961! Lord Flea was a Jamaican Mento Singer who did a cover of the Lord Invader's version. It is interesting to note that in the 1957 version the 'shake senora' words are very noticeable. I mention this because most people identify the 'Senora' with the 1961 version released by Harry Belafonte.

It is clear to see and hear that there were many covers of Lord Kitchener's hit song but he is not credited for his creativity! Most people in North America don't know about Lord Kitchener... If you ask them they will tell you that it is Belafonte's song!  Some people think that the songs are different because of the lyrics and the uptempo style of later versions. However, in this day of copyright infringement there is no way that these can stand as different songs. The words and music in the Belefonte's version have been credited to Stephen Somvel with no mention of Lord Kitchener!

Interestingly, if you go to the website who sampled (www.whosampled.com) you will find the following record trail:
  • Lord Flea in 1957 sampled 'Jump in Line' from Lord Invader's 1955 recording
  • Harry Belafonte in 1961 sampled Lord Flea's 1957 version of the song
  • Pitbull in 2011 sampled Harry Belafonte's 1961 version. 
The following may help with the chronology:
  • Jump In The Line -  Aldwin Roberts with His Steel Band Chorus Boys 1946 Leggo (Road March Today) recorded in 1948 released 1949.
  • Jump in the Line - Woody Herman and The New Third Herd 1952
  • Labor Day (Jump In The Line) - Lord Invader and the Trinidad Caribbean Orchestra 1955
  • Shake Shake Senora (Jump In The Line) | Lord Flea and His Calypsonians 1956
  • Jump In The Line - Joseph Spence - 1959
  • Jump In The Line - Harry Belafonte (used the melody from "The Growler's" 1938 song "Calypso Behind the Wall") - 1961
  • Shake Senora (Jump In The Line) - Pitbull ft. T-Pain & Sean Paul 2011
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Production Notes/Music Credits:
Song Title: Jump in the Line (HB 302/303)
Leggo (Road March) 1946
Recorded 1948/Released 1949
Artist Credit: Aldwin Roberts (Lord Kitchener) and his Steel Band Chorus Boys
Accompanied by: Rupert Nurse and his Trinidadian Troubadours

Please be advised that the music is presented here for your listening pleasure and for promotional purposes only ("Fair Use" Musical Content Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976). No copyright infringement is intended! We don't own the rights to this music: and, it is presented here for promotional use only. We encourage you to promote the artists and their music; please don't download and share the music and rob the artists of needed income! Music for sale should be purchased while music distributed for promotion purposes should be treated as such and not shared!
♫Please press the music player button below to listen now (small triangle in the Music player/TV Frame).

This YouTube player provides seven (7) versions of the song - listen to all and understand that it was a Calypso and a singer from Arima, Trinidad who was the creative genius behind the composition.


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Andy Kaknes said…
Was this song ever released on an album? Or just as a single? I can't find it on any of Lord Kitchener's records.