Record Machine: “Love in the Cemetery” by Lord Kitchener

Nestled with the Monkees and Donovan vinyl 45s in my collection is this fun calypso single by Lord Kitchener. Because of the song title and with so Halloween soon to arrive, I decided to give it a listen.

Pressed in Jamaica by Beverley’s Records, “Love in the Cemetery” is a somewhat funny song about the perils of making out amongst the tombs:

What had me sad

And really mad

I was just about to start

A little romance wit’ me sweetheart

I kissed her twice

Just feeling nice

When a voice said ‘Mister ya brave

To be bringin’ ya girlfriend on top me grave’

lord kitchener - love in the cemetery

As I’m sure you’ve realized, if you’ve pressed play on the video, calypso insists upon dancing. Five seconds into “Love in the Cemetery,” I was grooving in my seat. Can you imagine how much fun tent parties with a bunch of calypso bands would be? I wish I knew musicians who played this style of music because I’d be on arranging that gig immediately.

Lord Kitchener — also known as “Kitch” — was born in Trinidad, but he became quite popular in the UK during the 1950s, due to the large West Indian immigrant populations at that time. He also frequently toured Jamaica, and he didn’t retire until 1999, at the age of 77. He died in February 2000.

“Love in the Cemetery” is backed by another danceable song, “Jamaican Woman.”

Best I can tell, it’s about visiting the area most frequented by sex workers, and that they call out, “Gonna make you feel like man.”  With the calypso backing, they are made out to be sirens: “Make you mind,” they say. Decide now if you want this, but perhaps you really have no choice in the matter.

I don’t think I have any more singles in this musical genre in my collection, but there’s still so much I have yet to explore. These two songs make me want to explore.

First though, let us dance.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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