If you want a taste of real Trinidadian Carnival calypso, this is the place to go. Both Sparrow and Kitchener were among the greatest (with lengthy careers that stretched successfully into the soca era), their songs full of good-natured wit, whether it be topical (“Pay As You Earn”), celebratory or full of hilarious double entendres (“My Pussin”). The full, often jazzy arrangements (“Mama Dis Is Mas” even hints at rock & roll) might surprise those new to the style, but they frame the vocalists perfectly, and the percolating percussion keeps everything moving along in a sprightly fashion. Really, though, calypso is about words and wordplay, and these two never disappoint. In some ways, the dextrous display of verbal skill is a direct extension of African tradition, but forget that context and simply enjoy songs and singers that dominated Carnival for years, many of them, like “The Road,” true Calypso classics.
By Robert Christgau on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Aptly christened Slinger Francisco in 1935, Trinidadian word-slinger Mighty Sparrow continues to tower over post-World War II calypso decades after beat-heavy soca bum-rushed the genre. Despite his fame, his accessibilit...
By Alex Abramovich on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Lord Kitchener was calypso's Cassius Clay: A singer whose sense of humor sometimes threatened to overshadow his innate abilities and seriousness of purpose. And like Ali, Kitchener might have been the single greatest...
By Wondering Sound Staff on 12.11.14 in Features
Five music critics discuss the best, worst, and most significant moments in Latin music this year.
By Michaelangelo Matos on 12.08.14 in Reviews
For all the quality mining of African oldies over three and a half decades, it's not as if the coffers have been exhausted. Far from it, especially judging from this nonstop display of one of the great bands of the Congo...