Kid Creole - Going Places: The August Darnell Years 1974-1983
Kid Creole is best known by us Top of the Pops-watching kids of the 80s as the man behind such hits as Stool Pidgeon and Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy. I can't say I was enthralled at the time and, frankly, I haven't felt the need to reassess my opinion since. So on my doorstep arrives Going Places: The August Darnell Years 1974 - 1983, August Darnell being Kid Creole's real name and the years covered previous to the aforementioned hits. I try to pass it on, but none of my fellow contributors are for having it. Oh well. I then note optimistically that a number of hip DJs are fans and that this release is on the rather trendy label, Strut, whose purpose is to educate us on the origins of modern dance music.
This compilation certainly qualifies as interesting, taking in various bands of Darnell's (not just Kid Creole & The Coconuts) and mashing tropical sounds, disco and show tunes, not to mention the semi-serious and the utterly ridiculous. There But For The Grace Of God Go I is a super-kitschy, socially-inclusive disco epic. Going Places and Don't Play With My Emotions, amongst the straightest tracks here, gain immensely from deeply funky rhythm sections. Sunshower and Emile (Night Rate) are the sort of balmy calypso tunes that, in part, mimic the sounds of night bugs and make you want to kick back with a chilled drink.
But for every track that's halfway agreeable there's one that's passable or downright annoying. Goin To A Showdown and I'm An Indian Too fit into this latter category, seemingly trying to outdo The Village People in OTT novelty campness. Some tracks aren't helped by horribly stagey vocals, sounding like they belong in an Annie audition, even if this element is intentional. And let's not forget Paradise, an ill-advised excursion into glam rock.
Going Places is intriguing in its breadth yet definitely an acquired taste. Undoubtedly, a unique mind like this deserves to be appraised beyond the obvious hits. But, me, I'll be sticking with the heavily indebted Senor Coconut And His Orchestra for my fix of tropical madness.