Saturday, November 5, 2011

Kid Creole: I Wake Up Screaming

There is something reassuring about the fact that August Darnell is still making music. Best known as the zoot suit-sporting Kid Creole, he carved his own musical path in the 1980s along with The Coconuts, resulting in a unique and recognizable blend of what Darnell would call "Mongrel Music." [Review by Jason Randall Smith, Impose Magazine]

The daring hybrid of disco aesthetics, big band bravado, and tropical island influences all resurface on his latest album, I Wake Up Screaming. It's a return to form for Kid Creole, assisted in part by the steady co-production of Darnell's own sons and mix engineering from Brennan Green. [Review by Jason Randall Smith, Impose Magazine]

August Darnell, an  underrated studio whiz  was responsible for some of the weirdest, funkiest tracks to come out of New York City in the late 1970s and early '80s, when no-wave mavericks emerged from the fringes of the city’s music scene to create grooves that in some alternate dimension would pass for disco.[The Man Behind the Kid by Jason Anderson, CBC News]

Kid Creole, the zoot-suited alter ego who earned a large measure of fame in the 1980s for Stool Pigeon, Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy, Endicott and other exuberant hits from the '80s heyday of Darnell’s band, Kid Creole and the Coconuts.

"The Kid Creole character is just what he was created to be: a flamboyant, devil-may-care bon vivant who represented a lot of things to a lot of people. It was pure escapism."

Borrowing a moniker from the Elvis movie King Creole and modeling himself after Cab Calloway – no wide lapels and bellbottoms for this cat — Darnell created his alter ego after he split from his brother Stony Browder’s band, Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, in 1979. [The Man Behind the Kid by Jason Anderson, CBC News]

Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, circa 1976.

Darnell cites sibling rivalry as his reason for leaving Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band when it was still on the rise, but he credits his late brother,who died in 2002, for teaching him how the old and the new could be blended with such startling results.

Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band’s panache worked for listeners, too – the effervescent single Cherchez La Femme/C’est Si Bon, off the band’s self-titled debut, became a major hit in 1976. [The Man Behind the Kid by Jason Anderson, CBC News]

24 years later, it was remodeled as Ghostface Killah’s Cherchez La Ghost. Sunshower, off the same album, would later be sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and, most recently, M.I.A.

Prompted by the success of songs by M.I.A. and Ghostface Killah containing samples of Darnell’s music, the Strut label recently released a superb compilation titled Going Places: The August Darnell Years. 

Ranging from the witty early singles by Kid Creole and the Coconuts to Darnell’s productions for other acts on the left-field label Ze Records, the disc is turning contemporary hipsters onto a musician and producer who was much more than a real-life cartoon. 

No comments:

Post a Comment