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Biography

George Browne (May 4, 1920 – March 23, 2007), better known as the Young Tiger, was a Trinidadian calypso musician.

Born Edric Browne in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, where his childhood was imbued with the African traditions of Shango and Spiritual Baptist Shouting, he assumed the name George E. Browne in homage to the family friend, Richard E. Braithwaite, whose library introduced him to works of black history and activism.

Browne joined a Norwegian tanker at the age of 20 and, after a brief stay in Australia, signed off in Scotland in 1941. After befriending other expatriate Trinidadians in Glasgow he relocated to London and began to earn his living as a musician. In 1947-8 he co-founded (with Bermudian Ken Gordon, uncle of newsreader Moira Stuart) the Three Just Men group and toured in Europe and North Africa with the trio the following year.

He inherited the name Young Tiger from the calypsonian Growling Tiger when in 1953 he recorded a cover version of Tiger's song "Single Man". Young Tiger's hits dating from that same year include "Calypso Be" and "I Was There" - the latter being his observations about the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II - and "Mamzelle Josephine". Subsequently embracing jazz music, he recorded with a number of bands, including Humphrey Lyttelton's Paseo Jazz Band. In the 1960s he pursued an acting career for a time - he played the role of Jesus Christ in a passion play produced at the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Senegal in 1966 - and in 1970 he gave up music to open a London restaurant and health club with his then wife. When that was forced to close because of rent increases, they moved to the USA, where for a time they had restaurants in Florida and California.

He returned to the UK in the late 1980s, living in retirement in Croydon. His calypso "I Was There" featured on the 2002 Honest Jon compilation London Is the Place for Me: Trinidadian Calypso in London, 1950-1956. Following the re-release of his "Calypso Be" on London Is the Place for Me, Vol. 2 (November 2005), Browne played at the BBC "Electric Proms" festival in 2006, performing a few songs together with the London is the Place for Me Allstars.

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