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Portrait on sleeve of "Double Gold" LP
|Birth name||Fitzgerald Cornelius Henry|
|Born||January 13, 1921|
|Died||March 14, 2007(aged 86)|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, Trumpeter, Bassist, Drummer|
|Associated acts||Lord Kitchener
Bert McLean's Trio
Early career in Trinidad
He was born Fitzgerald Cornelius Henry in Anguilla Village, Arouca, Trinidad. he studied trumpet as a child and also sang in church and school choirs. His career started in 1947, and following the success of his "Negroes Know Thyself" he debuted at the Calypso Palace Tent in 1948. He joined the Young Brigade Tent in 1949, where he continued playing until leaving Trinidad in 1953. In 1950 he his first 78 release was "Changing of the Indian Song".
During his time in Trinidad he recorded first for Sa Gomes (1951), for Christopher (1952) and took part in the Dial sessions in 1953. He was one of the first major calypsonians to have records released on Emil Shallit's UK-based Melodisc Records, in 1950.
Move to England
- "I jump in a taxi and I say, Do you know of a gentleman called Lord Kitchener? I figure he popular and a taxi driver should know. He tell me he dead long time ago. Not that one (I said). This one is a calypsonian from the West Indies, Trinidad."
Popular or not, the taxi driver had not heard of Lord Kitchener so took him to a West Indian club where he was given the phone number of guitarist Fitzroy Coleman. Terror moved in with the Colemans and within a month he was regularly singing in the clubs and had won a contract to sing a jingle for the BBC.
He continued recording for Melodisc in 1954 (scoring a hit with "Chinese Children", and following it up with other releases for the label, including "The Emperor of Africa," "Chopping Wood" and "Chinee Children Call Me Daddy") and took part in the Nixa sessions in 1958 (these tracks being released by Pye Records). With the significant commercial success of 1957's "Life in London" and "I'll Walk a Million Miles", he was named "Calypso King of Great Britain" at a charity concert organised by Claudia Jones after attacks on the West London black community, which was a prelude to the now famous Notting Hill Carnival.
Return to Trinidad
The Mighty Terror performed in Trinidad into his old age.
In later life he became ill with cancer of the throat, and after an appeal by his wife Gloria, Pan Trinbago and the National Carnival Commission (NCC) agreed to foot the bill for Nursing Home care once he left hospital. Patrick Arnold of Pan Trinbago said, "We felt a responsibility to spare him the ignominy of an existence that would rob him of his dignity and decided to do something about it," while Kenny Da Silva of the NCC added, "You can’t leave somebody like Terror to chance and to the vagaries of a life in an infirm condition in the winter of his years."
Music and lyrics
Like most Calypso, the Mighty Terror's songs tell a story. Many of them contain a lot of innuendo and some surprisingly explicit themes for the time they were released. Examples of a number of his themes follow:
"TV Calypso" - about buying his very first TV after being continually nagged by his wife and daughter.
"Patricia Gone With Millicent" - about his wife leaving him for a violent lesbian relationship.
"Kitch Cavalcade" - a tribute to Lord Kitchener.
"Calypso War" A tirade against "fake" calypsonians from Jamaica.
"Heading North" - about the racial discrimination in the Southern States of the U.S. at the time.
"Brownskin Gal" and "Jamaica Girl" - about the behaviour of American soldiers towards local girls in the Caribbean.
- Paul Wadey, "The Mighty Terror - Calypso king", The Independent, 19 March 2007.
- Peter Mason, "Obituary: Mighty Terror", The Guardian, 4 April 2007.
- "The Mighty Terror - About the artist", Google play - Music.
- Thompson, Dave (2002), Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, p. 5. ISBN 0-87930-655-6.
- Image of "Caribbean Carnival" 1959 brochure.
- National Awards Database, The Office of the President, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
- "Pan Trinbago, NCC come to Terror’s aid", Newsday, 21 September 2006.
- "The Mighty Terror - Women police in England (audio)"
- Mighty Terror from bestoftrinidad.com
- Sleevenotes from the CD release London In the Place For Me, Honest Jon's Records, 2002, catno: HJRCD2
- Tracks from the CD Kings Of Calypso, Pulse Records, 1997, catno: PLS CD 229.
- Discography, not totally complete, but pretty good.
- Alvin C. Daniell, "Eulogy for Fitzgerald Henry aka 'Mighty Terror'", Trinisoca.com, 21 March 2007.
- Jason Ankeny, "The Mighty Terror", AllMusic.
- "Mighty Terror - That woman could lie" (audio), YouTube.
- "Mighty Terror - Pan Talent", YouTube.