By: Kirs Needs
Timeless fun though they are, Kid Creole's 80s hits were only half the story, his alter ego August Darnell becoming a formidable studio wizard through the late 70s working with artists as diverse as disco queen Cristina or fearsome jazz warior James Chance. Refreshingly, this 'pungent potpurri', as the man calls it, has been compiled by a fan call DJ Guido, even surprising the music's creator! It is nothing short of fabulous; spectacularly cross cultural, musically trail-blazing and supremely funcky. After scoring a massive New York club hit with Machine's taboo-busting There But For The Grace Of God I, Darnell found himself in the eye of a creative hurricane producing a vibrant enclave of artisits for Michael Zilkha's groundbreaking Ze label. The wonderful iceberg's-tip selection on the informatively-packaged set includes Coati Mundi, Gichy Dan, Dr Armondo's second Avenue Rhumba Band, Ron Rogers and Bob Blank's wildly-exoctic Aural Exciters supergroup which included Mundi, James Chance, legendary divas Taana Gardner and Fonda Rae [who would both go on to solo stardom] and Lizzy Mercier Descloux. There's also Cristina's version of Lieber and Stoller's Is That All There Is?, withdrawn after the composers violently objected and early outings by Darnell's newly-created Kid Creole persona including the title track from his debut Off The Coast Of Me album. In 1980, Darnell left the Savannah Band and formed Kid Creole and the Coconuts, achieving stardom as the Tropical Gangster and leaving less time for this amazing array of side projects which remain among the greatest and sometimes unlikeliest examples of New York's rampant musical cross-pollination at this time.