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It was billed as a night of vintage music, reggae and calypso at the West Indian Social Club, in Hartford, Connecticut. Scheduled to appear was The Mighty Sparrow, backed by the Troubadours band; Barry Heptones, Frankie Paul and John Holt, backed by the Ruff Stuff band. A good idea linking these two forms of Caribbean music on one bill. The venue was not as packed as it could have been, but people who wanted to give their respect to veteran performers were in the house. The show began past midnight, with opening act Barry Heptones. He did a lively set, singing some of the songs made famous by his former group, the Heptones. He was well received by the crowd as he was called back on stage to do an encore.


After a brief band change, the Birdman himself, The Might Sparrow, The Calypso King of the World, took the stage, backed by his Troubadours band. Sparrow did an excellent job, singing some of his all time favorites including "Salt fish." His voice was a fresh as ever, and age does not seem to slow him down; one would think that he was still in his twenties. There were some females in the front swaying as his hips competed with his voice. If you have ever seen Sparrow perform you know that he always gives a very professional performance, directing the sound engineer at one point, to bring up the horns some more.


Ruff Stuff was back on stage and Frankie Paul was in the house. I have not seen him perform in a long time and I was wondering if he still had the voice. I wasnít disappointed. He still had the voice and he didnít disappoint. To show how versatile he was, when his time was up and he was being led off the stage, he went into a medley of spiritual songs, with the audience singing along with him and encouraging him to stay longer. He had warned that he could perform all night and he needed to be booked on a stage show with more time.


The next performer scheduled to appear was John Holt. A big intro, people waiting, and no John Holt on stage. People waiting some more, then singing is heard off stage. People still waiting, but no John Holt. Eventually someone appears, singing a John Holt song but itís Junior Holt, son of John. He sings two songs and leaves the stage. The audience waits some more, wondering what is going on. Finally we were graced with the presence of the man himself, Mr. Holt. He sang a few songs and next thing I heard was good night, all within fifteen minutes, for a headliner. What a shame!


Now I have seen John Holt perform numerous times and this is the first time that I have seen such a lackluster performance from him. There was no regard for the people who came out to see him, many because his family resides in the Hartford area, and others like me, who came from out of town and wanted to go out and enjoy a good show. Sorry John you are going to have to do more than that for me to see you perform again. I guess Frankie Paul should have kept the mike; at least he was willing to stay on stage and perform for the people. Sorry he didnít sing "I Know The Score," that would have sealed the event.


Thanks to the Hartford Crew for making the rest of the weekend an enjoyable experience.


Mi deh yah now!



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