Thursday, December 16, 2004

no-wave christmas pt 6: Kid Creole

To catch up on what exactly is going on, read this post first. A summary: Ze Records, 1981, no-wave and mutant disco, christmas.

The sixth track on the holiday compilation was from August Darnell aka Kid Creole (and the Coconuts). Here is the official (?) Kid Creole website.

Thomas August Darnell Browder (aka August Darnell) was born in Montreal on August 12, 1950, the son of a French Canadian mother and a Dominican father, but was raised in the New York City borough of the Bronx. In 1965, he formed the In-Laws with his half-brother, Stony Browder, Jr. He earned a master's degree in English and became an English teacher, but in 1974 again joined his half-brother as bass guitarist, singer, and lyricist in Dr. Buzzard's Original "Savannah" Band, a group that mixed disco with big band and Latin styles. In 1976, Dr. Buzzard achieved a gold-selling album with its self-titled debut release, but its subsequent recordings were less successful. Darnell began to write and produce for other acts, co-composing Machine's 1979 chart entry "There But for the Grace of God Go I" and working with James Chance among others. In 1980, he became a staff producer at ZE Records and created the persona of Kid Creole (the name adapted from the Elvis Presley film King Creole) with a backup group, the Coconuts, consisting of three female singers led by his wife Adriana ("Addy") Kaegi, and a band containing vibraphone player "Sugar-Coated" Andy Hernandez (a/k/a Coati Mundi), also from Dr. Buzzard. Kid Creole was a deliberately comic figure, a Latinized Cab Calloway type in a zoot suit and broad-brimmed hat who sang songs like "Mister Softee" that found him decrying his impotence while being berated by the Coconuts. Off the Coast of Me, the first Kid Creole & the Coconuts album, was released in August 1980 by ZE records worldwide through a distribution deal with Island Records and through Antilles in the USA. It earned good reviews for its clever lyrics and mixture of musical styles, but did not sell. ZE made a deal with Sire Records in the States (in turn part of Warner Bros. Records), and Sire released the second Kid Creole & the Coconuts album, Fresh Fruit in Foreign Places, in June 1981. It reached the charts briefly, and Coati Mundi's dance single, "Me No Pop I," was a Top 40 hit in the U.K. Fresh Fruit was a concept album that found the Kid Creole character embarking on an Odyssey-like search for a character named Mimi, and it was given a stage production at the New York Public Theater. Kid Creole & the Coconuts remained a compelling live act with an imaginative visual style, which led to film and television opportunities. They appeared in the film Against All Odds in 1984 and continued to be tapped for movie projects in subsequent years, either for appearances or music: New York Stories (1989), The Forbidden Dance (1990), Identity Crisis (1990), Only You (1992), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994).

6. August Darnell - Christmas on Riverside Drive

Buy Kid Creole and the Coconuts CDs


At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to see what Kid Creole is up to. I'm a former middle school English student of Mr. Browder's from 1971-74 when he taught in Hempstead, NY. Pulled some of his old music out was really feeling it. And definitely love "Hard Times" on Latifah's newest album.

-Cynthia Highsmith (Hooks)


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