In 1956, at the height of the short-lived calypso craze that saw Harry Belafonte top the charts worldwide, Robert Mitchum filmed two movies in the British West Indies, 'Fire Down Below' and 'Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison'.
Calypso originated in Trinidad, and Mitchum filmed 'Mr. Allison' in Trinidad's sister island, Tobago. As his co-star, Deborah Kerr, remembered, 'He possessed enormous musical knowledge and sense of rhythm. He'd mastered the West Indian songs with their complicated rhythms before a week was up in Tobago'. By the time they'd finished filming 'Fire Down Below', Mitchum was singing calypsos at local clubs, and he continued to do so after he returned to the United States. Someone from Capitol Records heard him sing at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills, and signed him up. Over the course of several nights in the Spring of 1957, Mitchum recorded his classic calypso LP, 'Calypso - Is Like So...' Using his droll sense of humor, he made up new calypsos from older numbers he'd heard in the islands. The result - A lounge classic. We've revisited that LP, complete with its fabulous 'white man gone to ruin in the tropics' cover.