Kade Simon, born in Erin, aka Lord Bryner, was a popular calypsonian from the late 1950’s to the 1970’s who, like the famous American screen actor, Yul Brynner, performed with his head shaved. He moved to Jamaica to join the West Indies Regiment until the early 1960s during the time of the West Indies Federation. He performed in Jamaica for a while before returning to Trinidad after the collapse of the Federation.
In August 1962, at the age of 25, he won the special calypso competition that was held to celebrate the Independence of T&T, beating the “big boys” the Mighty Sparrow, Nap Hepburn and the Mighty Bomber into 2nd, third and fourth places respectively. His winning calypso was entitled Trinidad and Tobago Independence, for which he received the first prize of $1,000.
The other eight finalists were Lord Pretender, The Hawk, Mighty Power, Mighty Dougla, Lord Cristo, Chang Kai Chek, Mighty Striker and Lazy Harrow, chosen from a field of 35 who had auditioned at the Radio Trinidad Studio on August 9th, 1962.
People only talking but they really don’t know
What’s the proper meaning for Trinidad and Tobago
Cipriani start the ball rolling
Now the Doctor doing the bowling
So we have Uncle Eric to perform a real hat-trick.
Because this is your land, just as well as my land
This is your place and also it is my place
So let us put our heads together
And live like one happy family
We’ll be independently.
31st of August, Independence
Will go down in history for everyone of you
Forget racialism and nationalism too
Let discipline, production, and
Tolerance guide us through Independence
And constitutionally, Independence
Forget all this lousy rumor about racial equality
If you are an East Indian and you want to be an African
Just shave your head like me
Then they can’t prove your nationality
Bryner recorded an amazing 50 seven-inch records (usually two songs) and 13 LPs (the equivalent of today’s CD). On at least one of his calypsos, Bob Marley was a back up chorus singer.
He died at a relatively young age, destitute and lonely.
Some of his calypsos:
• 1959—Juvenile Delinquency; We Want Back Chaguaramas
• 1960—Rich Man, Poor Man; Riot at the Oval; Why Sparrow Lost the Crown; Martiniquian Woman; Calypso Story; See Me Mama; Congo; Hula Hoop Girls; Leave the Yankees Alone; The Old Ladies; The Airport; The Doctor and the Newspaper; Vendor Woman; The Princess Wedding; South African Riot
• 1961—The Budget; Happy Birthday; The Airport; Old Ladies; The End of the World; Girls from A to Z
• 1962—Anita; The Twist Calypso; Carrera; Infidelity; Wedding in November; Michael; My Doolahin; Come With Me; Vagabonds; Publicity for So; Gang War; Nightclub Brawl; Trinidad & Tobago Independence;
• 1963—Ivy; The Nation Calypso; Help Yourself; Vile Doctrine; Blood Transfusion; Crapaud & Lizard; Bossa Nova Love; Camalata; Sir Winston Churchill; Soldier; Come Back to Papa; The Devil and Man; UN Baby; Night Club Brawl; Margarita; Jamaica Why You Run; Trinidad Personalities; Custom Officers; Brynner’s Calypso Tour; Trinidad Pullout the Federation
• 1964—The Groom in the Bathroom; Pan in Church; Judieline; Call Me B’Wana
• 1965—Tiger in Your Tank
• 1966—TV Bacchanal; Lock and Key; Pull the Devil Tail; Never Trouble the Devil; Don’t Share Your Love in Four; Naught from Naught; Teach Me to Ska; The Shack is Back; Congo War
• Other—Devaluation of the Pound; Jacqueline; Bajan Bachelors; Shame and Scandal; Wrecker Poom Poom; I Shall Be Released; The Games People Play; I Will Never Turn My Back on You; Proud Mary; Skull Duggery; Little Willy; Pen in Hand; Who Put Pepper in the Vaseline; Misery Woman; Roslyn Pussy; Republic Yes, Republic No; Vietnam Moratorium; Hang Them High; Doo Doo Darling; Hindu Girl Pamela; Martin Luther King Message; Caribbean Paradise; Mr Crab.