Archive for the ‘Talking Heads’ Category

Wally Badarou

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Listen: Theme From Countryman / Wally Badarou

This single sits front of the 7″ soundtrack section in a wall shelf that I pass everyday of my life, when I’m in town that is. Suddenly it occurred to me, I had no idea what it sounded like. Well that’s all changed. If ‘Theme From Countryman’ had lyrics, I could sing you every last one at this point, that’s how many times it’s been on repeat. One of many lessons learned: never dump a record, you just can not predict know when it may become a cornerstone in your collection.

As an unofficial member of Level 42, Wally Badarou held little interest to me, and his endless studio involvements somehow the same. Boy, was I stupid.

Firstly, his accomplishments are an eye opener: a member of The Compass Point All Stars with Sly & Robbie, Barry Reynolds, Mikey Chung and Sticky Thompson, the in-house recording team of Compass Point Studios responsible for a long series of albums by Grace Jones, Joe Cocker, Black Uhuru, Gwen Guthrie, Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs, Robert Palmer, Marianne Faithfull, Herbie Hancock, M, Talking Heads, Melissa Etheridge, Manu Dibango and Miriam Makeba. Yeah, gasp.

Secondly, a gifted composer of incidental film music, possibly even harder to do well than calculating a Top 40 hit.

The single lead me to pull out the full length COUNTRYMAN double album soundtrack, thereby discovering, upon a typical credit scour, that Kwaku Baah played a big part in the musician lineup. Currently obsessed with his annoyingly under appreciated and extremely scarce TRANCE album from ’77, credited to Kwaku Baah & Ganoua, I rabidly advise finding a copy. And while you’re at it, both the COUNTRYMAN soundtrack and it’s accompanying 7″.

Tom Tom Club

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

TomTomBoardwalk, Tom Tom Club, Chris & Tina, David Byrne

Listen: Under The Boardwalk / Tom Tom Club TomTomUnderTheBoardwalk.mp3

God, I remember seeing Talking Heads back as a three piece. Great they were, and the stand out song, which I’d wait for anxiously every time, was ‘Pulled Up’, luckily a UK 7″. Tina just had it down, the playing and the physical grasp of her bass. Just uptight enough to create genius.

Years later, what seemed to start as a side project obviously turned into a rewarding business model. The Tom Tom Club were, still are, a true breath of freshness. ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ was so freakin’ hip, white as can be, but a perfect fit amongst the street hip hop they clearly loved. Then ‘Genius Of Love’ – I mean try topping that.

Well funny enough, in my book they did. The next single, still in the James Rizzi designed picture sleeve tradition, came their rendition of this, ‘Under The Boardwalk’. Never got much attention in the day, except Roger McCall and I spun it religiously for months on our weekly radio show. Sad to say, but forget expecting a station to give it a spin now. Proves it’s too good for just anyone.

Best part is the last third. Let me know if you agree.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

tompettyanythinguka, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Shelter, Island

Listen: Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers TomPettyAnything.mp3

This band got off to a slow start. Maybe it was simply his motorcycle jacket on their album cover, but Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were thrown into the punk category by US radio programmers. Those radio gate keepers were a very intimidated, non-musical and paranoid bunch. Their heyday was nearing an end.

Proving their ineptitude, to them, Talking Heads, Blondie, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Ramones, Television, The Sex Pistols, The Patti Smith Group and Eddie & The Hot Rods all sounded the same: they were punk bands the American public didn’t want to hear. Wrong and wrong.

Sharing bills with both The Ramones and Blondie were probably temporary bad moves, because on to the unplayable scrapheap they went. Funny enough, fans of those bands were the first to appreciate them. Right up to the present day, it’s hard finding many folks, regardless of musical tastes, to hate on Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

Howard Thompson was the guy who turned me on to them. He’d convinced Island in the UK to release their debut album. The single, ‘Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’, charted soon after over there, and he sent me a copy. I preferred it then, and now, to that first album’s eventual hit, ‘American Girl’ – and it unfortunately seems lost in the band’s history, never getting any mentions ever again.