The Calypso Genius

by The Mighty Sparrow

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about

Calypso Genius, one of Sparrow's best albums, was recorded and released in 1966. The first pressing on the National label sounded terrific.

Later that year, after Sparrow won the 1966 Road March crown (for the song "Obeah Wedding"), the LP was reissued by National with a modified cover (text blocks were added). The so-called "1966 Road March" version sounded awful. It was terribly mastered, sounding like a collection of 78 rpm discs pressed on a microgroove platter. There were no dynamics, and the mix was muddy.

The same album was repackaged in 1970 by the Hilary label with an all-new cover (a head shot of Sparrow cradling a guitar neck), and retitled simply "Genius." It's impossible to say what was going through the mastering engineer's mind, but what went through his console came out sounding equally—but differently—awful. It wasn't just fake stereo—it was BAD fake stereo.

Pressings of the superior original first edition are rare. We used that source to restore this digital edition. It's not perfect (vintage calypso records are notoriously flawed), but compared to the shoddy reissues it's an audiophile marvel, probably as good as it ever sounded.

The songs reflect Sparrow's customary preoccupations: women, politics, girls, revenge, females, greed, female anatomy, cricket, phallic symbols, and skimpy beach attire.

"Obeah Wedding" is a Sparrow classic, one of the most beautiful melodies he's ever composed. It was later sampled by Vampire Weekend on their song "One (Blake's Got a New Face)."

"Bag Ah Sugar" is one of the filthiest songs in Sparrow's catalog, yet it contains lyrics that would not offend innocent children. Play it for curious tykes—preferably when their parents are in another room.

credits

released June 4, 2019

Erasmus Black Records
Issued under exclusive license from Slinger Francisco (The Mighty Sparrow)

All compositions by Slinger Francisco
© Railroad Town Music / Zalytron Music (BMI)

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The Mighty Sparrow Trinidad and Tobago

He's not the Elvis of Calypso. He's not the Sinatra of Calypso. He's not the Beatles, Dylan, Cole Porter, James Brown, or Brian Wilson of Calypso. He's the MIGHTY SPARROW of Calypso. He's the Last Great Calypsonian and we're working with Slinger Francisco (Sparrow) to preserve his recorded legacy. All releases digitally restored from best available sources. ... more

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