“G-Man Hoover”: Rat-a-Tat-Tat Blues

I love the simulated police sirens and machine gun fire that open “G-Man Hoover,” the homage to J. Edgar from 1972’s Discover America, Van Dyke Parks’ take on Calypso music — and follow-up to landmark debut album, Song Cycle from 1968:

All of the songs on Discover America are covers, and “G-Man Hoover” – no exception – was originally a 78 released by Sir Lancelot with Gerald Clark & the Calypso Orchestra in the mid-1940s on the Varsity label (Smithsonian Folkways would include this track on a compilation album, The Real Calypso: 1927-1946, released in 1966).

Van Dyke Fun Fact

The first track on Discover America, “Jack Palance”, is a one-minute clip of The Mighty Sparrow’s actual version of the song.  In 1974 Van Dyke would produce Mighty Sparrow’s Warner Brothers release, Hot and Sweet.

Mighty Sparrow - Hot & Sweet LP