Smithsonian Folkways Releases Historical Calypso Recordings by The Mighty Sparrow

Washington (DC), USA – Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has released

First Flight: Early Calypsos from the Emory Cook
by The Mighty Sparrow. It documents the early recordings of a
Caribbean legend. The Mighty Sparrow whose given name is Slinger Francisco, is
the unrivaled “Calypso King of the World, with a career that spans over 40 years
and includes numerous honors. The eighteen tracks on

First Flight: Early Calypsos from the Emory Cook
find Sparrow taking on various dramatic voices, from sexually
adventurous antihero to grieving lover. Highlights include “Sparrow verses
Melody Picong” and “Reply to Melody,” just two of over twenty calypsos from a
musical insult war between Sparrow and Lord Melody that lasted from 1957 to
l962. “Mad Bomber” and “Russian Satellite” are topical calypsos, capturing
unique perspectives on events that defined the Cold War era. “Gun Slingers” is
Sparrow’s portrayal of the street culture in Trinidad.

Born in Grenada in 1935, Slinger Francisco grew up in Port of Spain.
Trinidad, a dangerous and exciting setting. Experimenting with calypso and
teaching himself guitar, he adopted The Mighty Sparrow moniker in 1955,
recording over 200 calypsos by 1967.

The celebrated calypso musician has won the King of Kings Competition,
Tobago’s Carnival Road March Competition, and the Road March Competition many
times, including sweeping all three in 1958. On May 18,1984. Ed Koch declared it
to be Mighty Sparrow’s Day in New York City.

Calypso scholar Gordon Rohlehr compiled ‘First Flight: Early Calypsos from
the Emory Cook Collection-from four Cook Records LPs released between 1956 and
1959: ‘Calypso Kings and Pink Gin,” “King Sparrow’s Calypso Carnival,” ” Tour of
Stereo,” and “Sparrow in Hi-Fi.” This is the third Smithsonian Folkways
Recordings reissue from the remarkable recordings of Emory Cook, an audio
engineer. inventor and record label founder.

First Flight: Early Calypsos from the Emory Cook
includes Rohlehr’s extensive liner notes, including
track-by-track commentary as well as rare photographs.


First Flight: Early Calypsos from the Emory Cook

Author: World Music Central News Department

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