"Suspicion" Collage by Lawrence Waldron (from sheet music of "Sugar Plum" [copied from the book Kaiso! The Trinidad Calypso by Keith Q. Warner, 1982] and the cover of the album Music Fever, 1981)

“Suspicion Blueprint,” collage by Lawrence Waldron (from sheet music of “Sugar Plum” [copied from the book Kaiso! The Trinidad Calypso by Keith Q. Warner, 1982] and the cover of the album Music Fever, 1981)

Cut-eye for Romance

Shadow has been critiquing romantic love, from one angle or another, for a long time. On countless occasions the man at the crossroads has waxed sceptical about the romance that otherwise sweeps songwriters away in waves of “fire and desire,” “hearts that never part” and a host of other sing-song platitudes seemingly composed for listeners so deep in love that they feel they are hearing these grand emotions described for the first time. From his first appearances in the Calypso tents in the early 1970’s to his Hummingbird Medal award in 2003, it is clear that Shadow never set out to make cliché love songs that provide convenient musical wallpaper for light listeners as they go about the more important business of their lives. Most of Shadow’s music is not of the sort that you hum along to in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, ignore as unobtrusive accompaniment to conversations in your gallery at high tea, or mumble the lyrics to in the refrigerated aisles of Hi-Lo.

Look, it’s not as if Calypso as a whole is famous for its sweet swan songs and swooning testaments to endless love anyway. Calypso is far too concerned with topical commentary and barbed humour to tread the well-beaten path of so many other Caribbean musics, from the heartbreaking old Cuban Boleros to today’s torrid Merengue and Salsa, and even a lot of that smouldering Gregory Isaacs-to-Beres Hammond type of Reggae. So the Calypso genre gives Shadow a head start in occasionally giving ‘cut-eye’ and, sometimes, a resounding ‘steupps’ to ‘this funny thing called love’ (a.k.a. romance).

Historically, when Calypso has taken up romantic love as a topic, it has often been with comical or salacious intent. Calypso means to leave the audience dying with laughter at “Mae Mae” on the beach or “Tie-Tongue Mopsy” on the couch, not dying to declare our own undying love from the galvanized rooftops. In some ways this reflects Trinidadian culture (and definitely Tobagonian culture too), where jocular words like “horn” and “tabanca” (both title topics of Shadow songs) evince the people’s overall light-hearted attitude towards cuckolding and heartbreak respectively, as well as towards a host of other compelling emotions best expressed behind closed doors for their elemental-but-temporary seriousness, inevitable-but-transitory gravitational pull, and embarrassingly obsessive qualities.

Well meh bumsee gone in,

And meh jawbone sink in,

And I can’t eat meh food,

And I don’t feel so good.


I am crying outside,

But inside wrong-side.

Tabanka on me

Like twenty jumbies.

—“Tabanka” (from the album Raw Energy, 1986)

Yes, we’ve all been there. Noting our weight loss and depressive demeanor, our friend might walk up to us, clap us on the back and ask, “Wha’appen boy. Yuh have tabanca or what?” Unless we want to be the butt of jokes at the rumshop or the corner parlour, we’d better think of a witty comeback, quick!

Despite, or perhaps partially because of, the host of ridiculing terms for a person (especially a man: from “cunumunu” to “mamapoole”) who has been done in by love or heartbreak (i.e., ‘defeated’ by a woman in love), both Trinidad and Tobago have known no shortage of crimes of passion. Sometimes involving sharpened cutlasses, Gramoxone poisoning, and increasingly, firearms, such crimes are driven by those same emotions which the culture otherwise finds so worthy of playful ridicule—as Shadow seems to heap on himself in the sadly comical quote from “Tabanka” above. So there’s culture, which doesn’t take romantic love too seriously, and then there are individuals who can’t see past romance’s jumbie spell.[i]

I singled out Tobagonians in parentheses above because of the patented “Tobago love,” as some people call it, which is characterized by a particularly low-touch, low-kiss modus operandi in which seldom is there ever a declaration of love to sweeten those thousands of dutiful acts that spring from the genuine emotion.[ii] As someone who was raised by a Tobagonian, I speak from experience, and quite frankly I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

But I have often wondered, in an anthropological way, why Trini culture is particularly low on physical and verbal displays of affection. Is it our unique confluence of stoic Indian (Hindu and Muslim) social moors, aloof Britishness (which even bids “one” to speak and write in a passive, often disembodied voice), and Nigerian and Chinese formalities concerned with maintaining propriety and “face”? We certainly abandon these conservative traditions when we buss a wine—with gusto—on Carnival. But isn’t it precisely these strictures from which we liberate ourselves that make the licentious behaviour of Carnival so sweet?

Indeed social rituals and propriety is a big concern in most of our component cultures, including that of the Amerindians (not only the gender-segregated Caribs and symbolically-thinking Arawaks but the diplomatic Waraos too, who are far from what European evangelists taught us to call “wild Indians” or “Warahoons” when they failed to capture and convert these adept canoeists by force).

So did the social formalities and often-renowned oratory traditions of these cultures combine in just a certain way to produce a complex Trinbagonian brew, which prizes clever speech (dubbed, “lyrics”, in popular parlance—appropriately enough) on all topics except the intimate? Or is this jovial, loquacious, performative but romantically aloof portion of Trini culture an aspect of our sense of humour (itself a sub-division of our overall temperament—one with its own related but separate history), which bids us affectionately cuss a man when we haven’t seen him in a long time, rather than hug him up tight?

As a Trini, I am still startled whenever an American unexpectedly ‘puts his or her hands on me.’ And I look at some other West Indians constantly touching each other and wonder why they are how they are and why we are how we are. Obviously, there are thousands of exceptions in our population of 1.3 million (a population that does not seem to have grown by much baby-making in over a decade, by the way). There are many Trinis who grab and hug and smooch each other with abandon but for the most part, a Trinbagonian is inclined to assume that you want something from him really badly if you put your arms around him.

So in this relatively low-affection milieu, where people sometimes watch you like “wha’ de ass?” when you hold hands or lock lips in public, Shadow has plenty company when satirizing or questioning romantic love. Virtually every Calypsonian has some episodic, jokey number about romance and lovemaking, from Bomber’s adorable narrative in “Joan and James” of 1964 to the disturbingly violent and (of course) hilarious “Severe Licking” by Byron (1973), not to mention Sparrow’s prolific career of suggestively, and sometimes bluntly, describing sexual adventures in which apparently “any port is for for a storm.”[iii] Shadow has more than ‘tried his hand’ at all the subgenres of the Calypso ‘love fiasco.’ In many cases he has excelled the sub-categories as only he could. From the outer smutty edges of the romance topic to the bittersweet pangs and silliness of unrequited love, Shadow has sung it all.

(I include this rare recording here mainly because many are unaware that Shadow has a “saltfish” song that more than rivals the Mighty Sparrow’s. The image on the YouTube post here is misleading since “Saltfish” is a single from 1972, not a song from the Zess Man album)

A hard, salacious but finely crafted “smut,” called “Saltfish,” from the dawn of Shadow’s recording career, and a subtler, but perhaps more disturbing “Garden Want Water” of 1987, with its pubescent female object/subject bursting at her seams, proved Shadow could sling it with the proverbial ‘best/worst of them.’

More squarely on the topic of romantic relationships, however, Shadow has been no slacker either.

In “I Love My Gypsy” and “Melvina,” both on his first album,[iv] marriage—legal or common-law—is a mistake.

He shuns the institution in the former song and comically describes the wrong decision to shack up with the namesake of the latter. Once she moves in, Melvina always has something better to do than show Shadow any affection. In 1978 he revisits the ‘big mistake’ love theme in his cynical “Sugar Plum” where it’s only when she wants money and other material favours that his woman gets all lovey-dovey. Thus Melvina withholding her favours in 1973 has turned into Joycie mamaguying him for money in 1978. And then in 1994’s “Stingy” Shadow again practically has to ‘beg for it.’ These songs are from a subset of a sub-genre of Shadow’s oeuvre, one in which he casts himself as the comical everyman unsuccessful in love. Another subset in this funny ‘Sad Sack’ sub-genre is the cyborg-cuckolded Shadow in the previous post about artificial intelligence.

Inversely, as the dark angel of ‘dreadness,’ Shadow savagely avenges himself upon unsuspecting lovers in 1974’s “King from Hell” and in a more mortal incarnation, does the same in 1978’s “Cry Me Blood.” In the 1976 and 1984 versions of “Way Way Out” a mellower, somewhat melancholy Shadow enjoys a subtler, more slow-creeping revenge against a former lover simply by putting her “way, way out” of his mind forever. He disappoints her when she attempts to run back to him when her alternative romance fails.

In this, one of Shadow’s most overlooked musical masterpieces, the exhausted protagonist finds freedom in the release from tattered romantic bonds, seems to relax his shoulders, turn his back and walk away peacefully. There is only the slightest hint of lingering attachment (in the memories of the pain recounted, and the need to explain his decision to break away).

The 1984 version of “Way Way Out” sees Shadow return to the original lyrics, perhaps a little less raw and heartbroken, but with a voice more gravelly, and more expertly nuanced. The mystery of the song for me is its balance, so delicate, between electronic and acoustic instruments (particularly New Wave-type synthesizers[v] vs. African drums, along with the full kit of then-traditional Soca studio instruments in between) that manages to sound so folksy and yet so polished, so bittersweet and quaint on one hand and so musically sophisticated on the other. In the spirit of the song’s lyrics, Shadow was more ‘on his own’ in the studio as well, doing the arranging for himself—without Art DeCoteau—on this and five other songs for the ‘off-season’ album Sweet Sweet Dreams.[vi]

As it turns out, even the first version of “Way Way Out” was on an ‘off-season’ album, 1976’s The Flip Side of Shadow, perhaps explaining the relative marginalization of this great song. Yet even in the 1976 version, “Way Way Out” was a return to an already established Shadow theme. The relief that Shadow seems to feel in the song’s “release” from romantic bondage is described in exactly those terms in “Release Me” off the 1975 Constant Jamin’ [sic] album. The scenario in “Release Me” is much the same as in “Way Way Out” but in the former song, Shadow begs for liberation rather than making the executive decision to ‘duss it’ as he does in the latter.

There is a colourful Trinbagonian idiom that says, “What she give him to rub, he eat.” The image of something offered just for the touching instead being taken for something to be devoured greedily is one that titillates the imagination—each person to his/her own level of prurience. Indeed the colour in this colourful saying is mostly ‘blue’, and not in the American sense. While Shadow never uses this phrase in 1982’s “Maurine” the whole “love” song seems to be a narrative exegesis on it.

…Whenever she kiss me,

I catchin malcodie.

And when she let me go,

Man I want to go, but I cyah go!

If she say “run!”

I runnin’ fast

Like de farmer jackass.

Like somet’ing wrong,

I feelin’ young,

And strong like King Kong.


Dis gyurl really have me

Actin’ like a monkey.

She really have me good

Like she put stupidness in meh food…

Of course the song ends badly for poor Shadow, as we might expect in a Calypso with clear tragicomic intent, especially one that has been describing the physical reaction to love in terms close to those of a pathology, (i.e., malcodie).

They tell me love

Does make you blind

But that was long time.

I see she with

another man,

he look like Tarzan.


He touching she bobots

and she bawlin’ “Robert…”

Suddenly, meh heart shake

Like a terrible earthquake.

This is one of Shadow’s first whole verses on tabanca—apparently in the circling approach to the 1986 song by that title. Also in “Maurine” is perhaps Dr. Shadow’s first known diagnosis of “goumangala” poisoning, the symptoms of lovesickness brought on my “stupidness” sprinkled or boiled into one’s food by a devious trap-door spider of a woman. But Maurine might just be a good-looking, rude-walking girl minding her own business! She might be oblivious to how some of her own charms affect the lovestruck Shadow. This is quite unlike the scheming antagonist (and her conspiring mother) determined to ensnare one of Shadow’s advisees in the 2001 hit “Goumangala.” This is ‘love’ acquired by the hook and/or the crook…with a few boiled panties and lizard skins as the seasoning that turns to a fish hook in your belly .[vii]

Also on the topic of eating inappropriately is the most unexpected yet troublingly realistic scenario described in 2003’s “Come for your Lunch” in which Shadow describes his growing belly as a “chicken cemetery full of rice, rice, rice.” In this song, after a lifetime of hardship, Shadow moves in with a wonderful, loving woman but soon realizes that she is literally killing him with kindness. Fearing not to offend the cook he must eat her heaping portions and thus, trapped in his happy ending, he slowly loses sight of everything below his waist as he eats himself to death.

For all his romantic fumbles we might be weary of taking advice from Shadow on love matters, but then we remember he sometimes plays the fool in his cautionary tales. So we would have been glad to sit for the sage advice he offers in the 2000-2001 Carnival season, if only his single weren’t so damned infectious and danceable! And in “Yuh Lookin’ for Horn,” rather than playing the fool Shadow plays advisor instead to a ‘young fella,’ warning him that marriage is not all fun and games and that he should seek “employment before enjoyment.”[viii] Indeed, Shadow has a lot to say on the topic of the home-wrecking “Horner Man,” and from several vantage points, whether the advisor’s, the victim’s or the perpetrator’s:

  • e.g., In 2000 as a threat to his young advisee’s future marriage
  • e.g., two years later, in “Horner Man Cryin’,” as a victim of a younger, better horner man—alas the horner himself is horned!
  • e.g., but also more than two decades earlier, back when the horner character made his first grand appearance in the Shadow discography, where Calypsonian cast himself as the villain in a single called “Horner Man,” saying he’d rather be the horner than the horned.

So by the dawn of the third millennium, Shadow was the wise veteran of the horner wars; the battle of the sexes; myriad skirmishes with the fickle, duplicitous, manipulative and treacherous in love; but also of the love-and-money reversals of 1976’s “When You Have Nothing,” a song in which love follows money in and out your door, “easy come…easy go.”

Yet all this horning, vengeance, mamaguying, withholding of affection and force-feeding treated by Shadow and others is par for Calypso’s gender-tense course. The problems with romantic love that Shadow reveals in these songs seem of a regular, if darkly comical variety. But despite its firm place in Calypso tradition, Shadow’s brand of romance-scepticism—like so many things about Shadow—seems to have a philosophical element not so evident in the work of his peers and forebears.

In fact, as we’ll see in the compositions discussed below, Shadow espouses a much higher love so that his attitude towards romance seems more akin to the philosopher’s and holy man’s challenge of the pair-bond and its primacy over more universal forms of love. Thus Shadow’s overarching commentary on romance engenders more than the Calypsonian’s typically mischievous barbs against romance’s confinement and emotional steeplechase.

So what is the source of 1970’s Shadow’s suspicion of romance or his critique of hasty weddings in the 2000’s? And what is this higher, greater love that gives him safer succor and deeper inspiration than a lover’s soft, doe-eyed gazes and clammy caresses?

Holy Men, Romantic Love, and the Higher Calling

For decades now modern scholars and some pastors too have been trying to promote the idea of Jesus as a husband with children but they’ve had a lot of problems getting it to stick in the popular imagination. Thus far no piece of archaeological evidence has succeeded in secularising (or ‘Protestantising’) the Saviour. Husband-Jesus certainly cannot be found in popular scripture. In fact the Jesus in the Bible shows signs of not having been a particularly devoted son either. He reprimands his mother on at least two occasions for making demands on his time while he conducts the far more important affairs of a holy leadership. Charged with delivering the world, Jesus as child, teenager or full-fledged religious leader seems no family man. Mother Mary, worried sick about her missing son, tries to reprimand him when she finally finds him arguing philosophy among the Pharisees. Young Jesus sets his mother straight,

“How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” [Luke 2:49]

This disregard for the domestic sphere, and everybody in it, often characterizes the holy man. In this aspect, the young Jesus, leaving his family behind to engage with (and overthrow) the religious thinkers of his day, is more like the holy men of the East, Africa and Native America than the biblical prophets before him, who often were family men with multiple wives; or the Prophet Mohammad after him, with his eight wives and their controversial range of ages as befits the medieval Arab (and the ancient Hebrew too).

It is the African and Amazonian shaman, the dreadlocked Indian sadhu, the shorn Buddhist monk and nun, and bearded Taoist sage who rejects the soft cushions of the connubial chamber (and the consequent patter of children) for the happy destitution of the wanderer meditating on ‘big stone’ up in the high woods… sleeping “in de dew and de rain” as it were. The Buddha often said “the home life is dusty and crowded. The holy life is wide open.” For that matter ancient Buddhist nuns (among the first female monastic orders in history) wrote joyful poems about leaving the day-long drudgery in the kitchen and virtual enslavement to their husbands for a life of study and peaceful contemplation without makeup or hair.

It is the sunburnt holy man in his Congo or Amazon rainforest hut, the bamboo shelter in China’s Four Great Mountains, the cave or rock shelter in the Himalayas or the Bandiagara Escarpment of the Dogon country that elects freely to be alone, even celibate, and is known for his fasting and other austerities all in service of some higher devotion. That devotion is often to something at once mysterious and universal.

But Shadow is neither celibate nor starving and has lived happily for many years with wife and children up in Mount Hope. So why has he used up so much ink contesting romance? The answer may lie in another question: doesn’t Shadow too have a higher calling like those ancient mystics and prophets? He is no holy man of old but hasn’t Shadow always envisioned himself as being on a kind of mission, and is ‘love-up and kiss-up’ anywhere near the crux of that mission? What is this mission, this higher purpose?

A Love Above All

In 1979, a more mature Shadow revisited an idea he had rakishly expressed in 1973’s “I Love My Gypsy.” Only then did the musician Shadow come right out and say what he cherishes above all,

A lady,

Calling me her turtledove.

She told me

“Give up music” for her love.

I said stop that! (chorus voices: “stop that!”)

I don’t want that! (chorus voices: “I don’t want that!”)


Miss Lady,

I don’t know what scene you’re on

But baby

You can take that love and run!

I don’t want that! (chorus voices: “I don’t want that!”)

So don’t try that!



I love my music

And music is music.

The heavy vibrations

Controls my emotions.

Whenever I hear good saxophones jamming,

It really gives me a happy feeling.

Then when I hear the trumpets and trombones,

The world just seems to be my own.

—From “Don’t Try Dat” on the album If I Coulda I Woulda I Shoulda, 1979

This is Shadow’s ‘Love Supreme,’ his uncomplicated love beyond reproach, his peerless love for which he can willingly renounce all others.

The pair-bond that he rejected in “I Love My Gypsy” was seemingly cast aside in favour of becoming an immortal musical “hero.” But here, six years later, in “Don’t Try Dat,” we find Shadow cherishing more than the mere glory of his music fame from monster hits like “Bass Man.” In the later song, he even sets up romance and his music as antipodes and tells this love-struck “Lady,” this doting, would-be sugar-mama, ‘francoment’ that his lover is music, not her. What music can give him, ‘she cyah gih him.’

Now we are justified in our suspicions that Shadow’s numerous comical accounts elsewhere of failed romances and vexing sex antics might stem from some innate suspicion of quaint, cozy couplings and his reverence for a higher love, a higher pleasure, a higher principle.

Cross-referenced with all his philosophical compositions from the same period—songs like “Story of Life” (1973/1976); “Animal Kingdom” and “My Belief” (1975); “We Live to Die,” “You Have Nothing,” “Mother Wisdom,” “Do Good,” “Ladder of Success,” and “Everybody is Somebody” (1976); and “Through the Mirror” (1979) as well—“Don’t Try Dat” reveals itself as the anthem of a man with a critical ‘cut-eye’ turned on romance but a heart wide open to music.

Why is young Shadow willing to give up love for music? And what really is this thing that music gives him? Renouncing love for music might suggest an escapist running from something and/or a refugee’s running to something. Shadow’s litany of problems in romantic love include far more songs than those already cited here. Heartbroken Shadow definitely has something to run from. And his many descriptions of being soothed, moved, drawn in by music suggest he certainly has something to run to (and indeed may have no choice, when possessed by it, such as in “Music Fever”). Additionally Shadow gives ample evidence of his love and mastery of music (from 1973’s “The Revenge” to 1982 “Return of the Shadow” and beyond) indicating that he is at home here. Music is his wheelhouse.

Looking back at Shadow’s first three decades, in which he produced albums with names like Constant Jamin’ [sic] (1975); De Zess Man (1978); Music Fever (1981); several between 1986 and 1997 with words like “Energy”, “Tension” and “Pressure” in their titles; and Sound of my Soul (2005), all suggesting the consuming power and constancy of the musical wellspring beneath him, Shadow has placed his music above all other loves. In songs like “My Vibes are Heavy” he has described his music as if it were a natural gift from the cosmos. In 1997’s “Music Maker” he finds music in every single thing, from the birds to the rain on galvanized roof; from the toads and frogs in the night to the wind itself. In “Soca Boat” it is a discipline long since beaten into him in childhood (“Mummy beat me with music-stick”) and a mansion in which he is king. In 2001’s “Universal Language” he names music as a thing requiring no translation. And from 1974’s Road March “Bassman,” to 1992’s “Music (Dingolay)” and beyond, he has presented music as a mystery, whether from a dark netherworld behind his (carefully crafted) equally dark persona, or from a space-time both chronologically and conceptually prior to human culture.

Shadow has set music apart from other pursuits and passions, he has guarded it like a precious jewel. No mistake, music is sacred for the Crossroads Wizard. Music is not his job. It is not just his career. It is his calling. As a devoted renunciate, a babalawo/sadhu-man/piai-man, he is willing to forego all but his music. Declaring simply that “music is music” he is content to leave it a mystery, this natural force that plugs him into ancient, recondite rhythms, deep in the pile of the universal fabric, up in the swirling star-matter of the galaxy. The Shadow knows that music is a thing best understood from the highest and lowest of places.

Epilogue: One Love or Two?

As you read this essay, you might have anticipated at some point that the ultimate love Shadow holds up above all others is that universal, brotherly love espoused in his 1982 composition “One Love” (subsequently remade almost as many times as “Bassman”)—especially given the title of this essay. Indeed this interesting and important single, in my memory was a kind of summer theme of 1982 ringing out over the hills as simmering callaloo filled the house with the smell of coconut and we children, finally released from school, played and picked green mangoes and plums from the trees. Arranged by Shadow himself, like the Sweet Sweet Dreams album two years later, “One Love” used the same kinds of innovative synthesizers to produce an international sound quite unlike the equally unique, but more firmly Kaiso/Soca arrangements of Art DeCoteau.

“One Love” was Shadow, singing to the heavens, longing for world peace, echoing a then pan-Caribbean sentiment (largely attributable to Bob Marley and his song of the same name). At the time the region’s music often called for a kind of universal love in what turned out to be the waning years of (official) South African apartheid. But while we often hold this fraternal love up above all others in our religions, and we enlist music in the service of expressing it (whether on the pulpits or in the Tuff Gong studios), we seldom achieve it, often because of the emergent chauvinisms in our very religions.

Yet we catch ourselves tapping our feet even to a song we mean to resist. Infidels! It seems that despite this singular, universal love that Shadow espouses in “One Love” and a few others from his career (including 1976’s “Without Love”), the man in black has rightly identified that long before any of our religious or philosophical systems existed, there was already music (in the sky, in the trees, in the “rivers and seas”), and deep beneath our verbally professed faiths and richly cultivated convictions are some universal forces that move us unthinkingly. Some of these forces are called by quaint names like “rhythm,” and “harmony.” As a musician, you polish your training so you might do justice to the music that comes through you into the world. But music itself, even the music you compose existed long before you and can be found everywhere.

Even in the park,

in the dark

A blind man can find,

A melody

—from “Music (Dingolay)” (1992)


[i] And thanks to the AIDS epidemic and the narcotics-motivated crime wave of the past two decades, grief has overtaken the other unpleasant emotions that used to provide such fertile seeds of satire, and has reshaped the popular consciousness. As weeping mothers on the nightly news or just down the road have become a repeating motif, grief is no longer an emotion so easily memorialised while being satirised. It is no longer a storm to be weathered—it has become climate. Calypsonians, including Shadow, have dealt with these issues as well (stuff of other posts yet to come here on Shadowlingo).

[ii] Of course, many also attribute a dark side to this wordless, unaffectionate ‘Tobago love’ pointing out a tendency of domestic partners to stay together stubbornly (and not just for the ‘sake of the children’) even in situations that alternate treacherously between connubial satisfaction and domestic violence.

[iii] From the notorious “He Done Dey (Let Him Stay)” (1967?), a song which must have brushed up against more laws than just the censorship ones for the forbidden act (following a drunken slippage) that it suggests so clearly.

[iv] The Bassman, 1973.

[v] Judging by the sound, and by the equipment specified in the credits of Shadow’s next album, Mystical Moods, the synthesizers used are the Oberheim OB-8 and the Yamaha DX7, accustomed members in the arsenal of any 1980s New Wave band from Depeche Mode to Duran Duran.

[vi] Art DeCoteau would return to work with Shadow on 1984’s Mystical Moods for the 1985 Carnival season, and the famed collaboration would continue until DeCoteau’s death in 1987.

[vii] Shadow’s early years in Tobago made him at home with this name for a certain member of the anole (some say, gecko) species of lizard called goumangala on that island (and Grenada) where the creature is used in certain nefarious rituals with the intended outcome suggested in the song. Many Trinidadians, however, had to ask around or do research to find out just what “Goumangala” was, even if they did get the gist of the “Obeah Wedding”-type song. Even Google was useless at the time. See Anita Malhotra and Roger S. Thorpe, Reptiles and Amphibians of the Eastern Caribbean (London: Macmillan Education, 1999); John C. Murphy, Amphibians and Reptiles of Trinidad and Tobago (Malabar, FL: Krieger, 1997).

[viii] And in the song “For Better or Worse” on the same Just for You album, he expresses to no one in particular a more overarching critique of the rush to marriage.


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