BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Slinger “The Mighty Sparrow” Francisco, known also as the Birdie, wept soon after arriving at Grantley Adams International Airport as his friend calypsonian Gabby, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley and promoter Eleanor Rice virtually sang his praises and informed him that most Barbadians had been praying for his recovery from a recent stroke.
Tears trickled down his cheeks as Rice related getting his contact information from a friend who had gone to Trinidad Carnival and contacting him in a spur-of-the-moment call. “I was sitting in the car and I said ‘let me call right now’ and when I did he answered . . . I want to be a part of Dr Sparrow’s life . . . he is going to sing even if we put him to sit and sing,” she said.
Sparrow promised to take his Bajan audience as far back as Jean And Dinah and treat them to the best hits of his career, which spanned the mid-1950s up to the present.
Although not as mobile as in times past, the Birdie fulfilled his promise – the cane he uses to make his way around proved to be no handicap as he serenaded the comfortable audience with hits including Jean and Dinah, which won him his first title in 1956, Congo Man, Lying Excuses and Education.
Much to the delight of the audience, he even titillated them with a little wine from his seated position on a stool.