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Solo Harmonites Steel Orchestra - Lord Kitchener's "The Wrecker" (1968)- my most memorable Panorama experience

I've been thinking of my most memorable Panorama experience, and I have to give that honor to Solo Harmonites performance in the preliminaries of 1968.

The decade of the 1960's saw the greatest advances in the steelband world, and we saw the steelbands grow from the single pan "pan 'round neck" era of the fifties to the large racks and chariot like structures used to give mobility to the bands from the mid sixties, onwards .

By 1968, the bands had gotten much larger, and one of the largest and most powerful of the steelbands was the Solo Harmonites Steel orchestra.

For the youth in those days, Panorama was more about the preliminaries, and the finals was almost anticlimactic. And the place to be was on the drag, since the bands started playing their tunes near the Savannah entrance, and went down the "drag", across the staging area, to the exit, in full "pan on the move " mode.

I remember going down the drag behind my tenor bass pans with my band Wasa Silvertones, playing Lord Kitchener's "Miss Tourist" arranged by Kenrick "Kicker" George.
After playing, I took a seat in the Grand Stand to watch some of the other bands coming down the "drag", and then Solo Harmonites came down , and what an impression they made!
The band was so large, it seemed to fill the whole of the track, and it looked as if half the people in the Savannah was coming down the track with them.
And how sweet they sounded. The pans tuned by the late great tuner Alan Gervais sounded sweet and clear, and Earl Rodney's arrangement of Lord Kitchener's "The Wrecker" had the Grand Stand rocking.
I recall that as the music swept over us the crowd started chanting along with the music (at 02:20) Solo, Solo …..Solo Solo.
That performance has stayed with me since that day, and after the performance Solo Harmonites was the talk of pan lovers.
Their finals victory was a foregone conclusion.
Here is my best recording of Solo Harmonite's "The Wrecker".

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Comment by ed cee on January 23, 2013 at 9:44am

Glenroy you have just augmented the delight of my wonderful experience in the company of this band and its players....oh how well I recall that panorama day when Solo hit the savannah with those green canopies and dotted blue and white pans with the sticker RC [royal crown cola] on them....when they unleashed the song, the savannah folk went crazy....people stared with mouths open at this Barataria/Morvant band with about 30 tenors, basses galore, second pans in a rage....oh what a memory! And the band looking like a musical battalion...WOW!

Comment by terry on January 23, 2013 at 12:59am

I just love the way you vivdly 'scribe' your pan memories. I am also a lover of Earl Rodney's music,

especially his arrangements for pan. Thanks GRJ.

Comment by Michaele on January 22, 2013 at 11:03pm

Thanks Glenroy for sharing, esp. the memories of your youth.

Comment by lance Seuanrine on January 22, 2013 at 3:32pm

Those two--  Maestro ( Alan Gervais and  Buster Earl Rodney) were like two peas in a pod. They were inseparable. I can still see them in Egypt, Newlands and Mahaica ( places in Point Fortin). Guidance Dr. Lance Seunarine

Comment by spikytenor on January 22, 2013 at 3:17pm
Thanks for sharing! I've been listening for years to Bradley, Boogsie and Jit, but, in great parts thanks to you, the more I hear of Earl Rodney, the more I wanna hear!
Comment by Sweet Eustace on January 21, 2013 at 11:26pm

that is an apple j boy, mixed with a red solo and a hint of cream soda

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