Against the background of Crazy’s ground breaking contribution to parang soca music, TUCO decided to honour him for his foresight and creativity for exposing this music which has spawned a virtually new industry for calypsonians.
Crazy sat down with Newsday on Wednesday night to express how he felt being honoured by TUCO. He said: “This is a special night for me here tonight, because I have 41 years in the business and it is the first time anybody has ever celebrated Crazy and said thanks to you in a big way. I got little awards here and there with other people but this is the first time I got it by myself.”
He specially thanked TUCO, Bro Resistance, Sherma Orr, Karega Mandela and Kassman who he said were the people behind the tribute. “I’d like to thank them for making me feel so special tonight,” said a somewhat emotional Crazy.
Crazy said when he composed “Parang Soca” back in 1978, “I was fed up of hearing Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole. They used to control the airwaves and we only used to hear the calypsonian around Carnival time.
“So what happened is, I ...call my good friend Clibert Harewood who died about eight years ago, he was part of this parang soca thing too. He wrote the words I took the role of lead singer (opening lines of “Parang Soca”) and I took them and I put the music to it,” Crazy said.
“When I did that song I had no idea it would have turned out to be such a big hit. What I was doing was experimenting with a parang song with English lyrics so Trinidadians could understand it, and that is how the “Parang Soca”, called “Maria” by many, was born.”
Crazy followed that song up with “Muchacha” a song which he said was a tribute to his Venezuelan mother. That was in 1979, and the following year, he released “Merry Christmas”. “That started off the groovy side of soca parang, just like how Scrunter does it,” Crazy said.
“After that came ‘Yvonne’ and in recent times, ‘Sweet Daisy’, ‘Put Jesus in Your Christmas’ and ‘He’s Alive’. If it’s one thing you can say about Crazy is that he has never sung a suggestive song for Christmas. I always keep Jesus, the three wise men, Santa and family values within the Christmas. I’ve never used suggestive lyrics in my parang songs,” he said.
Asked about “Play One for Tito” a song in which Crazy pays tribute to parang pioneer Tito Lara who passed away last year, and which is widely considered one of the best parang soca songs composed to date, Crazy said he composed it while Tito was being buried. He stated that music came from his heart.
Apart from pioneering parang soca music, Crazy has also played a leading role in promoting chutney music, being among the first calypsonians to sing a crossover chutney soca, with “Nani Wine”, which became a big hit in North America and the West Indies in 1989.
Crazy’s first recording was “Chinaman” in 1974, and in the following years he produced the likes of “The Electrician”, “Satan Coming”, “No African Name For Me”, “A Great Achievement” and “Dust-Bin Cover”.
As for his future plans, Carzy said: “I’m focusing on Carnival. Right now we have a change of government, and when you have a change of government, new things would happen. So right now I’m working on new things happening for me in 2011.”
He continued, “I did 35 songs this year together with one of the greatest calypso writers, Winsford ‘Joker’ Des Vignes. He did the lyrics, I did the melodies. We are doing a number of songs for other young singers. This year we are coming out to make history in calypso.”