Sparrow Singing at the Nightclub

Another interesting find from the world of obscure moving pictures! Mighty Sparrow and March of Dimes singing “Madam Dracula” in a nightclub, presumbly in Trinidad, circa 1960. There are no references to Lord Melody in this rendition, as compared to the RCA recording. So the song was apparently re-recorded for the film which this clip is a part of, one of the first mondo style documentary/exloitation films: America di notti, by Guiseppe Maria Scotese.

It is indeed a unique recording. It might be the first ever * to feature the Sparrow in motion (and how smoothly he moves). It is also a great visual example of the professional calypsonian’s showmanship, and the typical nightclub routine in which he addresses his audience directly. Enjoy!

* Addendum
The ever-observant Shawn Randoo pointed out that there is actually an earlier clip of Sparrow on YouTube. In 1956, to the melody of that year’s smash hit “Jean and Dinah”, Sparrow sang a commissioned version with new lyrics, presumably paid for by the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to advertize their Caribbean charter packages.

If you look up the full length version on the movie (also on YouTube), and skim through the less interesting images of sunbathing, scuba-diving, and shopping suggestions, you will find nice footage of steelpan players (Ellie Mannette’s Invaders!), the Casino de la Playa Orchestra (Cuba), awesomely costumed carnival revellers, limbo dancing, as well as a unique clip of Haitian percussionist legend Ti Roro.

While on YouTube, I happened on a fascinating cover version of “Madam Dracula”, a mash-up, of sorts, which takes rather extensive creative liberties with the original. Despite the uploader’s titling, it is obviously neither Sparrow or German actress Barbara Bouchet showing off here. A bit of research revealed that the man behind the recording is Nigerian percussionist George Aghedo, who released a couple of singles on an Italian independent disco label in the early 1980s. As an exuberant specimen of the CGI/greenscreen revolution in music videos of this era, I believe it deserves its place in history.

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