Republished from PAN Summer 1988 - Vol.3 No.1
Provided by, and republished with the expressed permission of, PAN Magazine
by Dalton Narine
The best you can say about anything is that it is the greatest in the world. Greatness is an absolute distinction that shouldn’t be measured or taken lightly. And it is in such regard that this writer must take issue with a New York daily which, several months ago, touted Desperadoes as the greatest steel band in the world. Now, hype is hype, but “pan talk” is a serious preoccupation in down-to-earth Trinidad and ‘Tobago, the land of, well, the greatest steel bands in the world. And, there’s the rub.
The names of several bands rush to memory when superior quality and character are considerations in the best-steel band debate. In alphabetical order, the list includes Casablanca, City Symphony, City Syncopators, Crossfire, Desperadoes, Ebonites, Guinness (actually, Cavaliers), Highlanders, Invaders, Pan Am North Stars, Phase II, Renegades, Silver Stars, Solo (or Harmonites), Southern All Stars, Starlift, ‘Tokyo, and Trinidad All Stars. Here is a rundown, as well as the lowdown, on how these bands stack up against each other:
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how about this: perhaps we might consider 'moments of greatness', of which almost anyone is capable, given the opportunity, the inspiration, the conjoining of stars. so a mediocre poet could one day write a masterpiece, before going back to his mediocre station. just as an unknown band might have a chance to upset 'de whole show', as kitch would say. pan lovers, we like who we like. often, great depends on who we were jumping up with, where the band come from, and so on. and let me say, folks, how much i enjoyed reading these exchanges...