Sparrowmania!

Harry Belafonte made calypso briefly popular in1950s America, but Trinidad’s Mighty Sparrow wasits sharpest-tongued golden-age singer. This tour of his 1960-76 output has too many novelties and covers – stick with Louis Jordan’s version of “What’s the Use of Getting Sober.” But Sparrow the social commentator is in force, sometimes in atime-capsule way (playlist “Kennedy and Khrushchev” for your next Mad Men party). And rap-battle fans should hear the uproarious head-to-head with Lord Melody, “Picong Duel.” “You have a facelike a crocodile,” Sparrow taunts, while Melody offers “a right hookin your belly” – delivered with a laugh.

Listen To: "Sweet Loving"

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Photos: Random Notes

From The Archives Issue 1149: February 2, 2012