Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Mighty Sparrow: Volume One [Ice, 1993]
Thirteen varied songs from Slinger Francisco, this hemisphere's most underutilized musical resource. They slip only slightly with "Calypso Twist," the first of his many unflappable attempts to keep up with the rhythmic times, and the best of these lyrics stand with anyone's: "Congo Man," a wildly perverse piss-take on African roots, interracial revenge, interracial sex, male-female relations, and cannibalism, or the education satire "Dan Is the Man (In the Van)." Sparrow's career as a sympathetic critic of democratic socialism begins with "Our Model Nation" and "Federation." And while Yank-lover putdowns like "Jean and Dinah," "Jack Palance," and "Don't Go Joe" incur feminist dismay, they're about the pain of imperialism, not the treachery of woman. A+