Kaiso No 23 - May 9, 1999

Greetings!  Mother's Day in Alaska is sunny and warm a good day for biking.  The UAF Steel Band will be performing as part of the university graduation.  Of course, the true calypso lovers are in New York City for the big shows.  

The Mighty Sparrow

Attending the shows is the Calypso King of the World, The Mighty Sparrow.  He had a strong CD this year Don't Stop the Carnival and Exodus did a great job at Panorama on his and Alvin Daniel's Play My Music.  I saw a fun show at the Breakfast Shed with his Monica number, Don't Touch Me President, being prominently featured.  For Sparrow lovers there are two new websites.  The official site he has put up is   http://www.mightysparrow.com   complete with lyrics and sound files of recent selections.  The other is put up by London based discographer Graham Johnstone who is constantly searching out the mysteries of his early recordings   http://www.grenadamusic.demon.co.uk/

Mighty Caruso

One of Sparrow's most famous songs is the story of a gun incident, Ten to One is Murder.  This incident was also the focus of a calypso by another little remembered and little recorded calypsonian, Caruso.  
Caruso - Sparrow Shooting Incident (1960)

They say he shoot a young man down
They say he shoot a young man down
Sparrow name all over town
I heard he came from an outing
Ten fellows with big stick attack him
If he didn't shoot one don't be mislead
The ten men would surely kill Sparrow dead.

Because it was too much of them on one man
Too much of them
Blow them down and don't frighten
Too much of them
Because if they send you to prison
Too much of them
I would get my mother to bail you
Too much of them

The jury men must see with Sparrow
Try the case and then let him go
No one man does not come to fight you
Is a gang with big sticks and bottles
Some of them does even carry cutlass
And everybody want to give a lash
They ain't care who they kill, I'm telling you,
So what they expect the Poor man to do.

One night ah went to the night club
With my G hustling for a bob
Four fellows came up right away
Caruso boy what you got they
They break my G they tear my clothes
They take ma money near kill me with blows
Now I am feeling glad I tell you flat
What they did to me, Sparrow give them back.

Some people running they mouth,
East, West, North and South,
Talking stupidness,
Saying Sparrow that and Sparrow this,
But if it was them it happen to
I want them to tell me what they would do
They can't say nothing they must be shame
Because all of them know they would do the same.

Lord Caruso (Emmanuel Pierre, Grenada, d.  late '70s)

Best known for his 1959 road march, Run the Gunslingers, Caruso was popular in the tents during the '50s and '60s.  Started singing in 1954, but was a mainstay at the Original Young Brigade for many years.  His 1959 Run the Gunslingers took the Roadmarch and was a very popular hit.  Recorded it on a single with Africa (RCA, 1959).  In 1960 he featured Sparrow Shooting Incident, We Encouraging the Criminals and Small Cockroach.   In 1962 sang Death Row Cell 2455 and in 1964 Bad John's in Town.  He recorded two singles on Telco, The Cat and the Mouse / The Rope and Burn Them / Lucy.  He returned to Grenada in 1967 and was lead singer at the Beaulieu tent there.  He sang Bring Back the Rope in 1973 at the Beaulieu.  He died of kidney failure in the late '70s.  Also known for The Russian Cat and Traffic Solution.

I could definitely use more information on him!

Ray Funk

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