Mighty Sparrow And Lord Kitchener, 16 Carnival Hits

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A taste of real Trinidadian Carnival calypso classics.

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.