Mighty Sparrow

The Outcast

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The consistency of this artist is amazing in itself, and then there's the superb arrangement and bandleading from his sidekick Bert Inniss. The sound of the bands and the way they are recorded has the appeal of a plate piled high with steaming delicacies. This album also benefits from one of this genre's best aspects, the topical nature of the lyrics. In itself this might not be enough to make some of the songs into classics of calypso, but that is where the Mighty Sparrow comes in with his droll wit. There are two real masterpieces here, "Martin Luther King" and "Castro Eating Banana." In the former case, one can forget Dion and the maudlin "Abraham, Martin and John," because this is a tribute that won't quit, consisting in effect of a campaign song for a King presidency. The song about Castro is funnier, describing a photograph of the Cuban leader eating a banana and the shocking effect seeing it might have on small children. Other songs deal with local issues that might not mean much to most listeners, such as "Mrs. Robinson and Lock Joint," which deals with a controversy called the "Sewerage Scheme" and has nothing to do with the middle-aged floozy that Simon & Garfunkel sing about. Nonetheless, the singer's delivery and the snappy music will have listeners laughing, even if they don't know at what. "I'll Be Around" is a gentle, swaying bossa nova, extremely well played by the band. Elsewhere these mystery plays provide good sax solos and snippets of jittery percussion. The album is a bit on the short side, but some might overlook that because of the tough, hearty slab of vinyl it is pressed on.

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