Mighty Sparrow

Wanted: Dead or Alive (God Bless America)

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How nutty -- Mighty Sparrow saluting America one more time. The king of calypso and the granddad of soca is on the loose again. This is his 35th album, and he's chosen, on the eve of re-releasing his entire catalog, to do a topical recording. Musically it's up to the neck in tight musicianship, but the production is cheesier than a band onboard a pleasure cruise, which is ultimately how at odds Sparrow's vocals and incendiary songwriting sounds with his musical accompaniment here. It's true not everybody can afford a fine studio and excellent digital sound, but the cheap Casio synths here make listening to even the best songs unbearable. The backing vocals rescue the tunes a bit and the rhythms are interesting, compelling even, but they are lost in the cheesy, looped-out keyboard drums and Casio sax solos. I'm sorry, but this one is not up to the man's usual standards.

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