This weekend we head to Paris in 1985 for the latin, big band funk of Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
The Kid is August Darnell, leader of this rogue group of musical pirates. With Cab Calloway styling, he leads the castaways through the evening’s performance, frequently resulting in interplay with the Coconuts.
The Coconuts are his background singers and dancers. They tease him and mock him because they know him. They know he’s broke, a scammer, and has a women in every port.
By 1985, the band was firmly established, mostly overseas but in a few key US cities, too. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite fit into any of the new radio formats and didn’t get the airplay and attention they deserved. They weren’t rock. They weren’t R&B or country. They didn’t fit in.
The lyrics are clever. The background vocals are witty. The music is fabulous. (Bass player Carol Coleman once told me that August wrote the bass parts, and the charts always looked as if they were upside down.)
I got to see them once outside DC. It was an outdoor show and rained right up until showtime which kept most of the audience away. The skies cleared, though, and the show went on… to about 20 of us in an amphitheater. We got to request songs and come up on stage to dance. Very unusual and fun concert.
This show is much better, though, with a full audience and the band as hot as ever.
Don’t Take My Coconuts
My Male Curiosity
Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy
I’m A Wonderful Thing Baby
No Fish Today
Laughing With Our Backs Against The Wall