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I ain’t hip 

Slinger Francisco swung and sang pretty low for a cat with the nickname Sparrow. Regardless, The Mighty Sparrow --- "King of the Calypso World"--- enthralled the packed Kilbourn Hall last Tuesday. At 70 (and with 70 albums to his credit) he is still a riveting and majestic presence. His style of hopping around the stage and his soulful preacher-style of singing gave the impression that he was teaching a lesson or delivering a message, not just singing a song.

The tune "Man In The Bedroom," about a woman claiming she mistook her lover for her husband, was hilarious. Sparrow's band --- trombone, trumpet, keys, and drums --- gave a nice r&b feel to a style that frequently gets noticed solely for its lush and jovial polyrhythms.

Tiger Cried Beef was a little more monotone than when I caught them last. I got to their Bug Jar show in time to hear them doing "Halper Moon" --- a tune I really like despite its kind of depressing tone.

They were opening for the puppet and organ boogaloo of New Orleans' Quintron & Miss Pussycat and their guest Harry Merry. Harry Merry sucked rope. Dressed in a little boys' sailor outfit and a parked in front of a keyboard, this guy (rumored to be from Prague) made Wesley Willis sound like Mozart. It was so bad I left.

I missed what I later hear was a fantastic set from Quintron 'cause I simply had to flee this musical (?) root canal. Look, I'm a fan of the odd, the lo-fi, the weird, the wacky, but I think music fans are slow to call a spade a spade --- or a pile of crap a pile of crap --- out of the fear of being labeled clueless or un-hip. If this was truly hip, then I ain't hip no more.

Shemekia Copeland packed the Thursday night Montage Grille to the ceiling with her funky blues. I know folks dig the funky, but wouldn't I just love to hear her get down ala Etta? Nevertheless, the gal belted relentlessly and dangerously and the sound in the room was great. What a beautiful powerhouse.

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