Ennio Maccaroni ft Sparrow – Big Bamboo [Super Mango]
Cultural observation, political comment and blunt innuendo shoehorned into laughably simplistic stanzas over staggering musicianship; antiquated calypso is an unbridled joy to the initiated – as anyone with the good fortune to have one of the excellent London Is the Place for Me compilations in their possession will surely testify – and is here treated to a kind of breakbeat overhaul on the first proper white label bootleg to be up in front of the Hidden Crate’s critical eye.
“Calypso King of the World” Mighty Sparrow followed in the Windrush wake of the brilliantly astute Lord Kitchener, who features heavily on the Honest John series having helped to popularise Caribbean music in the UK and US. Granada-born Slinger Fransisco, earning his Trinidadian stage name thanks to an atypically animated performance style in the 1950s, went on to become arguably the most popular calypsonian of all time with an endless repetoire of protest and party anthems that he still tours to this day.
Though insanely prolific and more than capable of holding his own on anti-American and mysoginistically ageist ditties like ‘Jack Palance’, the hilarious sexual metaphor (barely masked but brilliantly developed) of ‘Big Bamboo’ is a traditional calypso given the Birdie treatment before Cardigan Bay’s Ennio Maccaroni administers a twenty-first century facelift of busy beats, bowel-bothering bass and a host of now sounds that all add up to good time dancefloor dynamite.
Ennio Maccaroni’s re-rub of ‘Big Bamboo’ is the A-side of a 7″ vinyl-only release [Super Mango Records].
The Mighty Sparrow original featured on the Trinidadian album Tattooed Lady [National Record Company], reissued in the US as Tattoo Woman [Hilary] and Panama as Tattooed Women [National].
‘Big Bamboo’ by Ennio Maccaroni can be heard on Monkeyboy’s One-point-one-five live mix and the forthcoming Hidden Crate Podcast Pt 3.