Going Places: The August Darnell Years 1976-1983

BY Kid Creole



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During the 80s, Kid Creole was the zoot-suited ‘Tropical Gangster’, a Latino Cab Calloway mixing pop, p-funk, disco, new wave, big band swing, broadway and Latin rhythms for a series of global chart smashes, from ‘Stool Pigeon’ and ‘Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy’ to ‘Endicott’.

Under his real name, August Darnell, Kid Creole had developed his feel for unusual music fusions and intelligent, acerbic life stories since 1974 through a series of projects as a prolific writer, musician and producer. Starting as a key member of Dr. Buzzard’s Savannah Band alongside his brother, Stony Browder Jr. in 1974, Darnell then masterminded Machine’s disco anthem ‘There But For The Grace Of God’ before becoming the in-house producer for ZE Records in New York. There, he helped fashion the grungy ZE sound through Cristina’s trash disco debut album and groundbreaking genre-bending work for Aural Exciters, Gichy Dan, Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band and more.

Taking the name from the Elvis Presley film King Creole, Darnell created Kid Creole in 1980 and alongside his three female singers, The Coconuts, led by his wife Addy, and a band including Dr. Buzzard’s Coati Mundi, he began honing his alter ego. The band went on to enjoy huge success on both sides of the Atlantic and their breakthrough album ‘Tropical Gangsters’ (Island Records) hit the No.3 spot in the National Album Charts in the UK and spun off three TOP 10 singles with ‘Stool Pigeon, ‘Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy’ and ‘I’m A Wonderful Thing Baby’. Subsequently Kid Creole went on to win ‘Best International Artist’ at the BRIT Awards in 1983.

With today’s DJs and artists consistently championing and sampling Darnell’s early work, this exclusive Strut release covers 1974 to 1983 and features rare extended versions and album tracks released on CD for the first time. It’s solid stuff all throughout and some of the highlights include ‘Sunshowers’ which was sampled by M.I.A and released as her debut EP under the same name on XL, Cristina’s controversial new wave disco cover of Peggy Lee’s classic ‘Is That All There Is’, the quintessential disco anthem ‘There But For The Grace of God’ by Machine, rarities such as Gichy Dan’s Beachwood No. 9 ‘On A Day Like Today’ and groundbreaking tracks by Coati Mundi with ‘Pharaoh’ and Aural Exciters’ ‘Emile’ (Night Rate).

Compilation by Guido Miniski of Paris with extended sleeve notes by celebrated journalist and author Vivien Goldman.

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