CD Going Places: The August Darnell Years 1976-1983 [Digipak] (CD 1170128),
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Going Places: The August Darnell Years 1976-1983 [Digipak]
Kid Creole & the Coconuts
2. Goin' to a Showdown
3. Going Places - (Zemix Version)
4. Is That All There Is?
5. On a Day Like Today
6. There But for the Grace of God Go I
7. I'm an Indian Too
8. Marathon Runner
9. Pharaoh (Can't Take It to the Grave)
10. Emile (Night Rate) - (remix)
11. He's Not Such a Bad Guy After All
12. Don't Play with My Emotions
13. Double on Back
15. Off the Coast of Me
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 330342
Ron Rogers; Andy Hernandez; Sandy Linzer; August Darnell; Vince Traina; Bob Blank; DJ Guido (Compilation)
Joe Arlotta; Sam Ginsberg; Thom Panunzio; Tim Bomba; Bob Blank; Butch Jones
Personnel: Kid Creole.
Audio Mixer: Howie Lindeman.
Liner Note Authors: Vivien Goldman; Brian Chin .
Recording information: Blank Tapes Inc., NY; Planet Sound, NY; Sound Mixers, NY.
Authors: Coati Mundi; August Darnell; Bob Blank.
Directors: August Darnell; Warren Schatz.
Photographers: John Rynski; Ebet Roberts.
Bookended by a pair of mostly dissimilar cuts similar only in their levitating tropical lushness, and stuffed with some of the most colorful and uplifting cross-cultural dance music made, Going Places is dressed up to place a necessary spotlight upon August Darnell, but it's just as much a showcase for the architect's extended gang of associates. Together, Darnell and company functioned for several years as a Tin Pan Alley-influenced post-disco equivalent of Parliament-Funkadelic and all of its offshoots, with 12" singles and albums credited to several names -- including Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band (led by Darnell's brother Stony), Don Armando's Second Avenue Rhumba Band, Gichy Dan's Beachwood #9, Aural Exciters and, of course, Kid Creole & the Coconuts, not to mention "solo" spin-offs and collaborations -- with much of the personnel shared from release to release. Partial roll call of the more recognizable names: Darnell's right-hand man Andy "Coatimundi" Hernandez, Taana Gardner, Fonda Rae, Lizzy Mercier Descloux.
Despite the uniqueness of presentation and sound, all of this was novel, not novelty -- a utopian melting pot on wax and on-stage that flipped the script on some norms and mixed it up in every way. The multi-ethnic lineups, the outlandishly stylish and/or silly performance gear, and the music -- a virtually unclassifiable mixture of vintage and modern sounds that melded disco, funk, soul, new wave, big band, early-'60s girl groups, Tin Pan Alley, show tunes, and nearly the entire Latin music spectrum -- must have been conceived on another (much better) planet, and even the less ambitious and relatively tame recordings come off like big productions from people with not just grand ambitions but the ability to fulfill them; joy and oddness shoots forth from every groove. Though it's a lesser-known B-side, Aural Exciters' "Marathon Runner" exemplifies this, as well as Darnell's balance between frivolous subjects and exquisite arrangements, containing a wicked midtempo funk rhythm, rollicking piano, romping horns, and the song's winded subject, whose footsteps and breaths, audible over a chorus of vocalists cheering him on ("Go, man, go!" "Go, fool, run!"), reach a peak with a spent "Awhh, shit."
Darnell was not averse to social commentary and digging up thought-provoking material, either. In the storming and nearly frantic "There But for the Grace of God Go I," produced and written by Darnell and recorded by Machine, a Latino couple in the Bronx has a child and then "they gotta split 'cause the Bronx ain't fit" to where there's "no blacks, no Jews, and no gays." From another angle, check the Don Armando remake of Irving Berlin's "I'm an Indian Too," from Annie Get Your Gun. Not exactly something you could -- or can -- take at face value.
Amongst the long-ago clued-in, arguments could be made about the disc's track listing, but each one would likely end with a justification for second and third volumes. There's no space here for "Maladie d'Amour," "Yolanda," "Darrio," "Me No Pop I," "Spooks in Space," "Cherchez la Femme," "Hard Times," and several other just-as-worthy tracks from Darnell and his extended family. Additionally, the disc somewhat perversely contains the B-side of "Stool Pigeon" (the entirely deserving "Double on Back") but not "Stool Pigeon" itself or the other U.K. Top Ten hits from 1982's Tropical Gangsters, "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" and "I'm a Wonderful Thing Baby" (both of which, along with several other Darnell-related tracks, can be found on the recent and expanded reissue of Ze's Mutant Disco compilation). It's easy to think of what's missing, but choosing what to take off the disc would be far more difficult (i.e., impossible). As is standard for the Strut label, the package contains plenty of photos, along with extensive liner notes, this time from journalist Vivien Goldman. ~ Andy Kellman
The Wire (p.49) - "GOING PLACES showcases some of Darnell's most ambitious music....His acerbic lyrical wit could cut glass."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.94) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "It is nothing short of fabulous; spectacularly cross-cultural, musically trail-blazing and supremely funky."
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