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Duke Of Iron

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Biography

The Duke of Iron (born Cecil Anderson, 1906 — 1968) was a well-known calypsonian, nightclub and concert entertainer, and recording artist from the 1930s through the 1960s. He was renown for his bawdy humor, crisp diction, and confident vocal mannerisms. His clarity in pronouncing English lyrics helped him achieve tremendous popularity with American audiences.

Anderson was a native of Trinidad, and moved with his family to New York in 1923. In the 1930s he was a featured vocalist with the Caribbean-styled big band Felix & His Krazy Kats. He became a headliner on the New York club scene, which included a ten-month stint at the Village Vanguard in the 1940s. He also participated in the legendary 1946 Calypso At Midnight concerts produced by Alan Lomax at New York’s Town Hall auditorium.

Anderson was notorious for humorous, ribald calypsos, like “I Left Her Behind For You,” “Miss Constance” (“she said: I may be small, and yet/I can take on any runner when the track gets wet”), “The Naughty Fly,” and “The Postman” (who has “the longest route in town/they know he rings the bell whenever he comes round”). He also wrote topical songs about radio commentator Walter Winchell and the New York Mets baseball team.

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