The Mighty Sparrow :: Fyaah & Fury

There's a wannabe dictator in the Oval Office and answers don't seem to be blowing in the wind. The dearth of the protest song is astonishing. Perhaps overwhelmed like the rest of us, perhaps needing more time to be inspired to sing about what many find so dispiriting, artists have, by and large, yet to directly address the Orange One in their music.

Into the void steps one of the greatest musical titans of all-time, a living legend and one of the greatest lyricists of any genre. The Mighty Sparrow is one of, if not the, greatest calypsonians - a master with outsize influence on the genre of calypso as a whole and a favorite of people like Bob Dylan, who himself didn't end up finding any answers in the '60s, or beyond.

Sparrow was always political. His career began, in earnest, with "Jean & Diana (Yankee's Gone),” a song addressing the withdrawal of U.S. service members from his native Trinidad & Tobago over a decade after the end of the World War II. He championed the future-father of Trinidadian independence, Dr. Eric Williams (1957's "William the Conqueror") - and then blasted him the same year for the rising cost of goods ("No Doctor No"). He tackled the failed Caribbean Federation ("Federation [We Are One]"), where he upbraided Jamaica's leaders for their jealousy at Port-of-Spain's designation as capital. He commented on police-officer pay, on the lease given to the U.S. for a (new) military base - on the many topics that confronted a nation struggling for independence. This was all before 1960, before he'd even been on the scene for five years.

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