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Doctor Bird (1988) The Mighty Sparrow celebrates his Doctorate!

Lately ,we seem to be unofficially saluting the legend of The Mighty Sparrow, and it is well deserved.

Dr. Slinger Francisco was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of The West Indies, and celebrated his degree with this classic from 1988.

The story of a woman who assumed that Sparrow's honorary doctorate meant that he was capable of treating her ailments.

Incidentally, like many calypsonians, Sparrow was also a panist in his early years.

Check out the hard driving arrangement. by one of our best big band arrangers, Leston Paul.

Fabulous!

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Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on March 25, 2013 at 10:16am

Recently, I heard Academy Award winning  music producer Clive Davis make a comment about Frank Sinatra that made me think of the Mighty Sparrow.

Talking about singers compared to singer-songwriters, he said that the great  Sinatra, who was not a songwriter, made a point of crediting the composer of every song that he sang during his performances.

We all acknowledge Sparrow as one of, if not the greatest of all calypso singers and composers ever, but there is no dispute the he did not compose all his material.

This is common among the world's most talented performers, and there is no demerit.

Of all the accomplishments of the great Sparrow, I've always been disappointed by his reluctance to credit his composers and co-writers for their contributions, as if it would have tarnished his image. 

The greatness of Dr Slinger Francisco, The legendary  Mighty Sparrow, is set in stone.

It is a matter of historical record, and being big enough to credit those who contributed to his success along the way will not detract from it, or tarnish his cultural contributions in any way.

Comment by Albert John Simon on March 25, 2013 at 9:38am

Glenroy, you have stirred up a lot of interest as a result of Dr. Bird's Video. We need a lot more of these constructive comments going forward. I thoroughly enjoy the many comments being generated on WST. It is noted that Bob Diaz mentioned Sniper's "Portrait of  Trinidad" and Baker's  "God Bless Our Nation". These are two classics and it would be nice to have these showcased on WST along with Sparrow's "A Model Nation". Whenever I perform at any Trini Charity event here in Toronto, Portrait of Trinidad and God Bless Our Nation must be included in my performance.Still a True, True Trini yuh know.

Comment by bob diaz on March 25, 2013 at 3:24am

thanks to WSPT for making this window available for comments,its an eye opener for many of us especially the youths,however I must disagree with the best lyrics being in the 80s/90s. Ive been following Sparrow's career from the beginning seeing as my dad Cyril Diaz introduced him to the world.Not only is he the king of calypso but a pioneer as well.He also open doors for many calypsonians even offered refunds to rude patrons who saw fit to heckle Baker for his rendition of God bless the nation.As a teenager I remember being invited to his home in the valley for indoor tennis ,cards ect.Before Sparrow came along a bottle of rum and a brass crown was considered well paid for the calypso king.Sparrow refused to participate in the competition unless changes were made.Today milloins of dollars are spent on the festival which we know is the best of its kind,would that be if he didnt stand up for his ideals?. He may not compose all his songs but neither have all the great performers of his class like Elvis,MIcnael Jackson,Sammy Davis,Harry Belafonte to name a few and as for best lyrics my vote goes to the 60's when songs like portrait of Trinidad,God bless the nation,and go back to 1965 when Sparrow singlehandedly gave us an album on which any song could have won calypso crown,dont forget Chalkdust's many gems and Shorty's "art of making love" the 90s was good  and so were other decades but Sparrows 3 octave range and phenominally timed renditions make him not the best but the greatest,how do I know that?because I had the privellege to see him perform "congo man"in his prime and that my friends is the best performance I've seen in a show anywhere and as I travel so much I've seen many...Go back to his 1965 rendition of Solomon and Congo Man..thanks for letting me vent...Bob  Diaz..

Comment by Mervyn Taylor on March 24, 2013 at 4:15pm

i think this question of who was the boss of the doubl'entendre might also be about who was the best creator of such lyrics. kitch wrote his own, sparrow some, not all. but whatever the case, there's hardly any doubt that the Bird was best when it came to the rendering of such songs. his subtlety, timing, phrasing multiplied the effect of the innuendos a hundred times... 

Comment by Albert John Simon on March 24, 2013 at 2:10pm

Glenroy, Thank you for your quick answer to my question. I agree with you that Sparrow is indeed the King of suggestive or Double Entendre Calypso. Why I asked this question is due to the fact that I was viewing a video of a Tribute to Lord Kitchener held at The National Stadium in the early 1990s and a well known calypsonian made a statement that "The King of Suggestive Calypsoes" should be added to Kitch's many other titles.My response was that is incorrect and that it might have been made in the heat of the moment.

Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on March 24, 2013 at 11:58am

Thank you, Michaele.

The soca-calypso sounds of the eighties and nineties produced some of the richest, most  powerful, lyrical calysoes ever, since masters like Super Blue, Sparrow, Kitch, Rootsman, Shadow, Stalin, Scrunter Baron and many others were all in their prime.

We sometimes forget how musically rich that era was.

Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on March 24, 2013 at 11:48am

Albert, Sparrow was  by far the most sophisticated calypsonian of them all when it came to suggestive or double entendre calypsos in the early days.

 To the extent that he was even chided by other calypsonians for his lyrics, though they were relatively mild, particularly by today's standards.

I can't remember the singer, but the lyrics of a popular calypso back then expressed the feelings of many:

"Sparrow, Sparrow, telling you as man,

Ah like your tune, but not your composition.

This smutty calypso singing must stop,

For the sake of the young ones that coming up".

Comment by Albert John Simon on March 24, 2013 at 11:32am

Very suggestive calypso by Sparrow. I have this 33LP as part of my Sparrow Collection.Good soca tempo by Leston Paul. That Drum Machine does indeed carry a consistent tempo. I have a Yamaha Drum Machine.

 

Glenroy, in your professional opinion, who is the king of suggestive calypso Sparrow or Kitchener? I await your answer in this respect.

I agree with your  note on Leston Paul. 

Comment by Michaele on March 24, 2013 at 11:30am

Thanks Glenroy.

Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on March 24, 2013 at 10:42am

A fine example of the Soca-calypso sound of the nineteen eighties.

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