Although I was a big fan, I was not one of Mighty Duke's favourite media people. Our history dates was back to the 1960s when mutual friends introduced us. Though always cordial, our bone of contention dates back to 1986, the year David Rudder swept the calypso kingdom by winning three coveted titles, including the National Monarch.
While I was singing praises to the art form's newest neophyte, Duke just could not see what I saw in this "upstart." We argued and debated this issue ad nauseam for years, well into the 1990s, especially about how the 1986 Road March–Bahia Girl–could be regarded as a calypso.
Ironically, what Duke did not consider at the time was that both he and Rudder burst on the scene in almost identical fashion, he being a virtual unknown to calypso competition when he won his first of four consecutive history-making national titles in 1968. The other similarity between the two, one from Point Fortin, the other from Belmont, was that they were both gifted songwriters. While I, like thousands of other calypso lovers, enjoyed Duke's political and social compositions, I was penchant to his humorous ditties, like Woop Wap Man, Freakin' Streakin', Visina, Horn Mih but doh Leave Mih, and Mrs Joseph, and his uptempo ditties, like Thunder.
Especially for his sartorial elegance and winning smile, Duke was widely regarded as "the ladies man" of calypso. No other artiste, in calypso or otherwise, could colour-coordinate clothing like Duke, and he was fastidious about this. I remember one year back in the 1990s describing a Duke ensemble as a double-breasted suit and, no sooner as the paper hit the street, he called me, chastising me for not knowing the difference between a suit and a designer, three-piece bespoke. A traditionalist and purist, in clothing and demeanour, but more importantly of calypso, Duke is another of the old guard who's been summoned to the higher tent, to join similarly minded bards like Pretender, Roaring Lion, Kitchener and Terror. He will be missed.