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Friday, April 11, 2008

Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Wise Guy

Name: Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Album: Wise Guy
Year: 1982
Style: Island Disco
Similar Bands: Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, Bus Boys
"One Word" Review: Comedic-Jam-breezy-disco-groove
Based Out Of: NYC
Label: Sire, Ze Records, Warner Brothers, Warner Communications, Puddle Records

Wise Guy - Cover & Sleeve
Wise Guy - Back & Sleeve
Wise Guy - Record

Wise Guy (1982)
  1. Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy (6:27) (sample)
  2. I'm A Wonderful Thing Baby (5:16) (sample)
  3. Imitation (4:11) (sample)
  4. I'm Corrupt (4:11) (sample)/
  5. Loving You Made a Fool Out of Me (4:48) (sample)
  6. Stool Pigeon (4:59) (sample)
  7. The Love We Have (5:14) (sample)
  8. No Fish Today (4:56) (sample)
Album Rating (1-10):

Members & Other Bands:
August Darnell - Music, Lyrics, Produced, Directed, Horn/String arrangements
Sugar-Coated Andy Hernandez
Peter Scholt
Carol Colman
Adriana Kaegi
Jimmy Rippetoe
Cory Daye
Angelica de la Luna
Ronnie Rogers
Dave Spann
Winston Grennan
Jay Stovall
Yogi Horton
Charles Lagond
Cheryl Poirier
Lori Eastside
Taryn Haegy
Perri Lister
Stephanie Fuller
Dutch Robinson
Chris Wiltshire
Mark Mazur
Clarence Banks
Andrew Lloyd
Floyd Fisher
Sam Turner
Eugene Grey
Bob Blano - Cheif Engineer
Michael Frondelli - Chief Engineer
Carlos Franzetti - Horn/String arrangements, orchastrated
Giampietro Favero - Photography
Bruce Buchalter - Asst Engineer
Michael Sauvage - Asst Engineer
Champion Entertainment - Management & Direction
Lori Barbaria - Hair & Make-up
Michael Zilkha - Exec Producer

Unknown-ness: I had heard of these guys in passing, but never associated them with a specific kind or genre. But from the cover, it seemed like it would be theatrical story lines presented in Caribbean/island style music. With the whole plot synopsis of this themed record, it seems like it might be a somewhat cheezy 80's lite world music. But I do have a little more insight to the sound from doing the review of Dr Buzzards, and recognizing Darnell's & Hernendez's names from that band. But I don't believe it will be all that similar to that band.

Album Review: The plot of this album is that it was recorded while stranded on an island of sinners, and the music is the only way out (somehow). Let’s just assume that is a fact, and put the record on. The first track is “Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy,” which begins as a techno-dancy track. It takes on a trumpet and an island rhythm & beat very quickly. Once the vocals begin, they are immediately catchy. And they become more catchy and memorable as the chorus comes around. The melody rolls up and down in a very fun, bouncy, happy way. The song claims that the singer is not the child’s daddy, via the simple fact that the child is too ugly to be his. Silly lyrics aside, this is a very fun song with a few great hooks. But as this is the long LP version, the song loses the listener’s interest after 5 minutes, as it continues on much longer than it should. Song two is “I’m A Wonderful Thing Baby.” It starts with a disco flavored soul tone. The vocals come in low, and steady with the slow marching beat. It is very smooth, and a nice catchy song, if you can get over the ego-centered lyrics. The repetitive guitar chord strumming keeps the song in rhythm. Eventually, a sax, as well as some electronic sounds typical from the time period, are overlaid. The song winds down with spoken dialogue over the repetitive jam of drums and piano. “Imitation” starts off with a secret agent man disco hook. This song has the same outrageous expression of the vocals in the verse that many new wave bands also offer. It reminds me of the recently reviewed band, The Bus Boys, as it could have fit on their album. There is a brass section used very lightly in the background, and the music’s flow has a danceable beat carried throughout the song. “I’m Corrupt” again, trumpets the sound of disco, with its drums, bass, & ringing guitar. It features a chorus of female voices, similar to Dr Buzzard’s song “Sunshower,” without which, this would be a Caribbean influenced instrumental disco track, complete with steel drum, and barking dog.

Drums and a harp start the disco dance on side B with “Loving You Made a Fool Out of Me.” It is a jammy funk song. The song features Human League style vocals, where the man tells the story first, and then a female voice tells her story, but the voices never come together to share the stage. There is more brass and hand claps in this song, and the stand-out feature is the deep, funky, slinky bass. The pace and tempo is continued into the next song, with hand claps, and jangly guitar chords on “Stool Pigeon.” The vocals are up and down in melody, in a half-speed Sugar Hill Gang rap style. The lyrics tell a story about a stool pigeon, gangster-type character, who sets his cohorts up with the FBI. The next bass heavy hand clapping disco song, “The Love We Have” continues with all the elements previously unveiled on the album. The vocals are on the mellow side. And there is really no chorus in the song, just a continued groove. Around 2:30, it changes melody, kicking it up to a little higher tone, with a bigger hook. But it then reverts back to the original sea-wavy beat for the rest of the song. “No Fish Today” finishes off this themed record with a soulful, slowed down disco groove. The song is very catchy, and fun, it dialogues the plight of a fisherman trying to explain how there are no fish to sell, as well as a retorting need of fish from his female patron. It is a simple song, with too much background elegant disco effects, which take away from and ruin its simple folky nature. It would be a better song with guitar in the forefront & the bass and drums just to keep pace in the background.

So I could not grasp how this album would get the band off of the island. The theme presented by the artwork falls short, and is not followed through anywhere on the album. It is a good album, and a neat theatrical idea, but together, they do not seem to overlap. The best two songs sandwich the album, and everything between is a nice light taste of island disco music.

Stand Out Track:Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy

Kid Creole - Wikipedia
Kid Creole - allmusic
Kid Creole website
Kid Creole - fansite
Kid Creole - youtube page
Kid Creole - IMDB page
Kid Creole - Myspace
Kid Creole - details of 1980 SNL apperance
Kid Creole - photos
Kid Creole - Last FM

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