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Off The Coast of Me

40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

PRE-ORDER FROM MAY 28 – OUT ON JUNE 11

PRE-ORDER from May 28 – OUT on JUNE 11

Dedicated to Stony Browder Jr., without whom this journey would never have even started

OFF THE COAST OF ME – 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Produced by August Darnell, Coati Mundi and Adriana Kaegi for 2C2C Music

TRACK LISTING:

  1. Mister Softee
  2. Maladie D’amour
  3. Yolanda
  4. Off the Coast of Me
  5. Dario, Can You Get Me into Studio 54
  6. Lili Marlene
  7. Bogota Affair
  8. Calypso Pan American
  9. Adnaloy
  10. He’s Not Such a Bad Guy After All
  11. Off The Coast of Me (Youngr Bootleg)
  12. Yolanda (Youngr Bootleg)
  13. Dario, Can You Get Me Into Studio 54 (Youngr Bootleg)
  14. Bogota Affair (Youngr Bootleg)
  15. Mister Softee (Live at the Rock Lounge 1981)
  16. Off The Coast of Me (Original Demo)
  17. Bogota Affair (Original Demo)

CREDITS:
1) Engineers: Bob Blank, Julian McBrowne, Lars Henrik Nissen, Dario Darnell
2) Studios: Blank Tapes, Chappell Studios, LN Sound, Llama Land Studios
3) Photography: John Rynski, Eva Tudor-Jones
4) Art Direction: Nadine Ballard

5) The Musicians: August Darnell, Coati Mundi, Peter Schott, Winston Grennan, Marc Mazur, Stony Browder Jr., Carol Colman, Andrew Lloyd, Freddie Harris, Charlie Lagond, Danny Kahn, Sam Burtis, Jay Stovall, Dario Darnell

6) The Singers: August Darnell, Coati Mundi, Don Armando Bonilla, Adriana Kaegi, Lourdes Cotto, Lori Eastside, Frank Passalacqua, Fonda Rae, Brooksie Wells

SPECIAL THANKS:

Ron Rainey, the most honest MANAGER I have ever known
Eva Tudor-Jones, my wife, who almost killed me by turning me into a Vegan (for 18 months)
My 2020 Band: Dave Imby, Mike Gorman, Oroh Angiama, Mark Anthony Jones, Chris Storr, Barnaby Dickinson, Edgar Jones, Otto Williams, Tim Vine, Jamie McCredie, Lorne Ashley, George Hogg
My 2020 Coconuts: Sarah McGrath, Roos Van Rossum, Charlotte De Graaf 

Michael Zilkha, who believed in the TRIP long before the Banana Boat left the dock.
Maripol, who insisted we be a part of the movie Downtown 81. 

TESTIMONIALS:

Adriana: “I guess my greatest contribution to the band, besides doing all the choreography and designing all the outfits and providing a European flair to the backing vocals is… I refused to let August call the band Kid Creole and the Cold Cuts! He thanks me to this day.”

Coati Mundi: “Dr.Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band got me on drugs and Kid Creole & The Coconuts got me off them”.

And a special thank you from Coati Mundi:
Grande GRACIAS a mi hermana, Marina y especialmente mis padres, Cruz* y Flora*. Tu amor y apoyo me ha sostenido toda la vida. (*QEPD).

Label: 2C2C Music

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THE ROOT-TOOT STORY OF KID CREOLE and the COCONUTS

THE ROOT-TOOT STORY OF KID CREOLE and the COCONUTS                                                                                       Chapter 12

Circa 1978:

TWO frustrated musicians escaped from Los Angeles, California and made their way back to New York City, their home. One guy actually drove a car from coast to coast. His name – August Darnell. The other guy flew in an airplane. His name – SugarCoated Andy.
What were they doing in L.A.? Recording an album. Their band – Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band. 

The bandleader, Stony Browder Jr. was a genius. But he was also a delightfully eccentric taskmaster. The album that should have taken 1 month to cut, took 6 months. The name of the album – Dr. Buzzard Meets King Penett!  Check it out next time to have a headache.

August and SugarCoated were happy to get out of Dodge.

Once they reached their homes – August in Manhattan and SugarCoated in Washington Heights – they decided that they had enough of the Dr. Buzzard lunacy. When they were summoned back to L.A. to help with the mix, they refused to go.August’s girlfriend pulled a Lady Macbeth on him: “You should start your own band and stop being a splintered stool for your older brother.” (Oh, I neglected to say – Stony was August’s older brother)  ‘Splintered stool’? Damn, that hurt!

August and SugarCoated were kindred spirits, you see. They both adhered to a strict teetotal lifestyle. And they both abhorred drugs. This alone made them the object of much abuse and derision from various minions, and especially from the bandleader (who believed that marijuana was more important than scrambled eggs in the morning; who knows, maybe it is!). It was truly time to jump ship. Aaaaah, bye bye good ship lollipop!

Speaking of eggs… August was egged on by his Swiss Miss, Adriana Kaegi (aka Dear Addy).  He decided to start his own band. But he was frightened. He had been Stony’s right-hand man for years. It was scary to be the one who would now make all the decisions. He needed SugarCoated and Adriana to join forces with him. He could not do it alone.
By this time, SugarCoated had amassed a quite impressive list of debt and needed to change his moniker to avoid collectors, loan sharks and his ex-girlfriend’s ex-husband (long story). Through a mutual amigo he then met Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert. Kerry shared that the “Coated and Andy” name-parts reminded her of a family pet she grew up with named Andrew who bit her mother Ethel on the leg.  Andrew was a mammal called a coatimundi. VOILA!!! SugarCoated morphed into Coati Mundi. 

And August’s nickname in High School was Mr. Sunshine. He wanted to call the band Mr. Sunshine and the Cold Cuts. Adriana said she would leave him and return to Zurich, Switzerland if he went ahead with such a stupid idea. Coati said, “I don’t care what we call the band! Let’s make music, not alimony or sandwiches!”
That night, as fate would have it, an Elvis Presley film was on tv. August loved swivel-hipped Elvis. The name of the movie – King Creole. The next morning he proudly announced to his Swiss Miss, “The name of the band will be King Creole and the Cold Cuts!”Adriana Kaegi frowned. “Kid not King. Put your ego to rest. Cold Cuts – no fucking way! Try Coconuts!” She had ideas, you see.  Ways to get paid. She was no fool.Coati did three knee spins and a split jump. He replied,  “Vaya, que la música nos espera ansiosamente!”)
The rest is history.

OFF THE COAST OF ME, the 40th Anniversary Edition will be available on the 2C2C Label. Release date = May 28

OUT ON MAY 28th
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LIVE album OUT NOW

Good to be LIVE! OUT NOW!!!

Live in Paris CD – Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Recorded at Le Zenith, Paris, September 10th, 1985.

OOH LA LA

At the zenith of their career, with the complete original line up of Creoleans, Kid Creole & The Coconuts take the stage in Paris to perform and record one of the hot and unforgettable shows that made them famous. The band loved Europe and Europe loved them right back. You can hear it in the applause and the rebounding energy from the stage. In fact, the band is so tight that they never stop playing and we are pretty sure that the audience never stopped dancing (or smiling). The last beat of every song is also the first beat of the next song and this party is a festive and wild ride. Grab a piece of dance floor and hang on!

Kid Creole & The Coconuts

OUT NOW!!!!!!!

YOUR COPY HERE from AMAZON

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE from RAINMAN RECORDS

The line up:
August Darnell, Andy “Coati Mundi” Hernandez, Adriana Kaegi, Cheryl Poirier, Janique Svedberg, Carol Colman (Bass), Peter Schott (Keyboards), Dave Span (Drums), “Bongo” Eddie Folk (Percussion), Jimmi Rippetoe (Guitar), Kenny Fradley (Trumpet), Lee Robertson (Trombone), Charlie Lagond (Saxophone).

The track list:
Don’t Take My Coconuts
My Male Curiosity
Table Manners
Mr. SoftieAnnie, I’m Not Your Daddy
I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby
No Fish Today
Dear Addy
Stool Pigeon
Say Hey
The Lifeboat Party
Endicott
Indiscreet
Caroline Was A Dropout

 

Also available for streaming:

spotify

 

 

 

Released on Rainman Records

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

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Good to be LIVE!

Good to be LIVE!

Live in Paris CD – Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Recorded at Le Zenith, Paris, September 10th, 1985.paris cover

 

At the zenith of their career, with the complete original line up of Creoleans, Kid Creole & The Coconuts take the stage in Paris to perform and record one of the hot and unforgettable shows that made them famous. The band loved Europe and Europe loved them right back. You can hear it in the applause and the rebounding energy from the stage. In fact, the band is so tight that they never stop playing and we are pretty sure that the audience never stopped dancing (or smiling). The last beat of every song is also the first beat of the next song and this party is a festive and wild ride. Grab a piece of dance floor and hang on!

Kid Creole & The Coconuts

The release date is set for March 1st, so to get your hands on a copy you can pre-order yours today to be delivered very soon!

PRE ORDER YOUR COPY HERE from AMAZON

PRE ORDER YOUR COPY HERE from RAINMAN RECORDS

The line up:
August Darnell, Andy “Coati Mundi” Hernandez, Adriana Kaegi, Cheryl Poirier, Janique Svedberg, Carol Colman (Bass), Peter Schott (Keyboards), Dave Span (Drums), “Bongo” Eddie Folk (Percussion), Jimmi Rippetoe (Guitar), Kenny Fradley (Trumpet), Lee Robertson (Trombone), Charlie Lagond (Saxophone).

The track list:
Don’t Take My Coconuts
My Male Curiosity
Table Manners
Mr. SoftieAnnie, I’m Not Your Daddy
I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby
No Fish Today
Dear Addy
Stool Pigeon
Say Hey
The Lifeboat Party
Endicott
Indiscreet
Caroline Was A Dropout

 

PRE ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

Available at Amazon store for release on March 1st worldwide!

Released on Rainman Records

 

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Right Here

NEW ARTIST ON 2C2C MUSIC – Tchengiz

DEBUT SINGLE ‘Right Here’ OUT NOW

tchengiz

Tchengiz is buzzing about the release of his debut single ‘Right Here’ OUT NOW!

Singer/songwriter Tchengiz, 24, from London, has always dreamed of becoming a successful recording artist. From the young age of 8 when his father bought him his first guitar, and he couldn’t put it down, he always knew music would play a huge part in his life. His vocal sound has been compared to Robin Thicke and he is heavily influenced by Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake. He has been playing venues around London for the last few years, with his biggest accomplishment to date playing alongside an array of big name artists for a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse.

Written and produced by Tchengiz himself, the single ‘Right Here’ was mixed by Executive Producer August Darnell of Kid Creole and the Coconuts fame. Darnell, along with his partner Eva Tudor-Jones and Peter Schott (both from the Creolian family) are the co-founders of the indie label 2C2C Music to which Tchengiz is signed. With all their years of experience in the music business and the fresh new talents of Tchengiz, this is sure to be a winning formula.

Along with the single comes a fabulous and cool introductory music video shot by Zoey Henderson in trendy Copenhagen where the single was mixed by engineer Lars Nissen at Moremax Studios. The video was cut and edited by Lewis Knaggs of LSK Films.

‘Right Here’ is available NOW at all major outlets including iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify, you will also find the video on Tchengiz’s YouTube channel.

DOWNLOAD your copy today

Get on this, Right Here!

Photo credit: Zoey Henderson

Instagram: @Tchengiz

Facebook: @tchengiz

Twitter: Tchengiz

YouTube channel: Tchengiz

Label: 2C2C Music

Management: Tudor-Jones Mgmt CONTACT

logo

 

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Tchengiz

                      NEW ARTIST SIGNED TO 2C2C MUSIC – Tchengiz

tchengiz

Tchengiz is eagerly anticipating the release of his debut single ‘Right Here’ on September 21st.

Singer/songwriter Tchengiz, 23, from London, has always dreamed of becoming a successful recording artist. From the young age of 8 when his father bought him his first guitar, and he couldn’t put it down, he always knew music would play a huge part in his life. His vocal sound has been compared to Robin Thicke and he is heavily influenced by Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake. He has been playing venues around London for the last few years, with his biggest accomplishment to date playing alongside an array of big name artists for a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse.

Written and produced by Tchengiz himself, the single ‘Right Here’ was mixed by Executive Producer August Darnell of Kid Creole and the Coconuts fame. Darnell, along with his partner Eva Tudor-Jones and Peter Schott (both from the Creolian family) are the co-founders of the indie label 2C2C Music to which Tchengiz is signed. With all their years of experience in the music business and the fresh new talents of Tchengiz, this is sure to be a winning formula.

Along with the single comes a fabulous and cool introductory music video shot by Zoey Henderson in trendy Copenhagen where the single was mixed by engineer Lars Nissen at Moremax Studios. The video was cut and edited by Lewis Knaggs of LSK Films.

‘Right Here’ will be available for Pre-Order on iTunes from September 14th with a worldwide release on September 21st. Available on all major outlets including Apple Music and Spotify, you will also find the video on Tchengiz’s Vevo channel and of course his YouTube channel.

PRE-ORDER your copy today

Get on this, Right Here!

Photo credit: Zoey Henderson

 

Instagram: @Tchengiz

Facebook: @tchengiz

Twitter: Tchengiz

YouTube channel: Tchengiz

Label: 2C2C Music

Management: Tudor-Jones Mgmt CONTACT

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You Don’t Know Me

You Don’t Know Me – OUT NOW!

Brand new single: You Don’t Know Me OUT NOW!

Available for download at:

iTunes

Apple Music

and available to listen on Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, iHeartRadio and many more digital outlets.


KNOW

 

The new KCC single is called YOU DON’T KNOW ME.  It was written and produced by Tim Vine of Electric Diplomat and August Darnell.

Darnell met Vine in Monte Carlo. Vine had just won a small fortune at the Roulette table. Darnell had just lost a small fortune at the same table. Vine felt sorry for Darnell and offered to buy him a drink. Darnell rebuked the offer, mistaking it for a  gesture of superiority. Darnell’s ego kicked in. He said to Vine: “You don’t know me?” Vine replied, “You don’t know me?”
And so a friendship was born. And a sun-scorched song was created out of the embers of a gambling addiction in the South of France.
Turns out that Vine did not recognize Darnell without his signature mustache and two-toned shoes. Darnell invited Vine to hop aboard the KCC Banana Boat whenever he wasn’t busy with his own band, Electric Diplomat.
The track is hot. Check out what it does to your body. And meanwhile, have a swell summer.
YOU DON’T KNOW ME , on the 2C2C record labelcan be found in all on-line stores. It is the 2nd single from the KCC Album entitled Port D’Arnelle.

Enjoy!

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ABC tour

ABC tour

The ABC tour……….

Whoever came up with the idea of putting ABC and KID CREOLE on the same stage is a genius.

abc tour

The ABC tour was a great success.

Returning to Manchester was a blast, since I used to live there 1000 years ago. And the same for Sheffield. I used to live there, too. And London … hey I used to live there, as well. Yes, I’m a New Yorker who has spent a lot of time in England. Hey, in the United Kingdom, to be sure.

The tour: Manchester, Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Bristol, York, Sheffield, Gateshead and Nottingham; All cities that Kid Creole has, at one time or another in a long and varied career,  performed in before. But so very nice to revisit.

I’ve known Martin Fry since the glorious 80’s. A true gentleman and a true survivor, much like myself. And he still sounds as wonderful as he did in the beginning. ABC still rocks.

My longevity? Much of it is due to the guys and dolls who surround me on that stage.

This time around, for the ABC tour, we had Barnaby Dickinson on Trombone  (he’s been with me for over 16 years), George Hogg on Trumpet (off and on for 5 years), Dave Imby on Drums (a 9 year veteran), Oroh Angiama on Bass (over 8 years), Lorne Ashley on Guitar (my son, who has just joined the band this year), Mike Gorman on Keys ( over 8 years), and …. the fabulous COCONUTS, of course.

abc tour

The COCONUTS = Sarah McGrath (who we met in Bosnia in 1998), Roos Van Awesome (over 3 years) and Charlotte De Graaf (the newcomer, who joined the band last year).  Charlotte replaced the longest standing Coconut in the history of the band, Eva Tudor-Jones (who took a leave of absence to have a Coconut baby). We all miss Eva’s presence on stage.  But she is still very involved in the business end of things.

Trivia: Charlotte celebrated her 27th birthday while on the road, in York. Who said “youth is wasted on the young”? I disagree, vehemently.

I mention these names because the KCC SHOW would not be as magnificent as it is without these talented musicians and singers and dancers. Every true bandleader knows that the secret to greatness depends on the simple act of assembling the correct players. I have been constantly blessed with the correct players.

abc tour
stone images rocks

One should also note, that besides the players on stage there are a whole lot of other people involved in a tour. My sincere gratitude goes out to the ABC staff, who made the whole thing enjoyable from start to finish. Their monitor man made each show a breeze for me. I could hear every instrument and every voice, including my own. That’s no joke. Every lead singer will tell you that the greatest danger on tour is the possibility of straining your voice. But from the first show I knew I was in good hands. You see, I am still old-school. I use stage monitors, not the in-ear gadgets that shut out the universe. And that means I need a sound man who knows what he is doing at the helm. I got that.

My 2 KCC guys who travelled with us were perfect also: Andy and Eric. Andy, our backline tech guy, made sure the stage was always ready for the groove. And Eric, our house engineer, made sure that what the audience heard was what I wanted them to hear – the goodness!

Our set was only 45 minutes in length but those 45 minutes were filled with magical grooves and banter and joyful appreciation from fans, old and new. We played CAROLINE WAS A DROP-OUT, DON’T TAKE MY COCONUTS, STOOL PIGEON, NO FISH TODAY and ANNIE, I’M NOT YOUR DADDY which, on some nights, got audience members up and dancing the conga. I consider this a major feat, because the venues were all sit-down affairs.

All in all, we had a funky good time.

Another great memory is born in the eternal legend of Kid Creole and the Coconuts.

 

August Darnell

 

Here’s a link to a wonderful write up from Graham Clark for the Yorkshire Times

http://yorkshiretimes.co.uk/article/Abc-And-Kid-Creole-And-The-Coconuts-York-Barbican

 

 

 

 

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NME Interview by Ian Penman (1980)

NME turns 60 this year and a new book documents its history. In our latest trip to Rock’s Backpages – the world’s leading archive of vintage music journalism – we visit the magazine circa 1980, a time when Ian Penman saw nothing wrong with kicking off a Kid Creole feature with a spot of French philosophy.

Source: The Guardian, March 6th 2002

“To try to write love is to confront the muck of language: that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little, excessive (by the limitless expansion of the ego, by emotive submersion) and impoverished (by the codes of which love diminishes and levels it).” – Roland Barthes.

A man stands alone in a baggy white suit, a black masquerade visor over his eyes. He is concealing a broken heart and a loudhailer …

Just imagine: you have the opportunity to write one of those all-time sexiest and most heartbroken of songs. First step: you get involved with someone who drives you crazy with desire – ensnares you, mesmerises you, has you at arm’s length and in the palm of their hand. Then something happens: that inevitable separation. You’re classically awry – but where’s the gain (or the end) in being uselessly melancholy?

Write that song about it, summing up both your despair and the wonder of the love and sex that caused it in the first place.

You have to choose your words carefully, carnally; you have to find a crucial metaphor. It has to be just so – to sound like you’re completely drunk on love and near suicidal through the absence of your loved one. You recline on a couch and clutch your heart. The evening seems impossible: so many hours to go and no chance of the loved one appearing …

The song has to read like a love letter, from miles away. You map it out, the scenario is precarious. You get dressed up to kill, take enough numbing drugs and stand alone at the peak of your metaphorical island. You whisper – the loudhailer turns it to a plea for all the world to hear …

“Off the coast of me lies you;
In a waterfall of solitude.
I must find a one-way passage through.
To the very heart and private part of you.”

NME – Just imagine: the song of my dreams.

The August Darnell world – as manifested in a lot of Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band and all of Kid Creole and the Coconuts – is a looking glass world, a somewhere far away peopled by metaphors. But you don’t need a map to find this island, because its mythology is built around that very real, most easily found (and lost) of places – love. Sexual love, romantic love, high life love, hedonistic love, hardship love whatever, wherever or whoever …

There’s a whole new lyrical country here just waiting to be discovered. It is cavalier, cinemascope and carnal. It’s a subliminal carnival, a bit of a circus, a sip of a cocktail: amorous, clandestine, physical, light-headed and heavy-lidded. The dance of love – do you know the opening steps? You awful flirt!

“High heels / Straplessly red / Seedless grapes / Cozied in the bed/ Peg leg pants / Tossed aside / Scarlet smears across the bathroom tile / No, you needn’t explain: / First comes the thunder, then the rain.”

Just look: there’s the author. An infinitely cool and not unshifty looking character. A character somewhere between Alice’s mysterious little late White Rabbit and a black market spiv, between Cab Calloway and Graham Greene, between Glenn Miller and the De Niro of New York, New York. Observe the cool. Study the deportment: the stall, the sly romantic glance up from his drink. Takes out a pocket watch from his waistcoat, on a too-long golden chain. His second hand’s playing for time …

NME – An age when songwriting was a craft

For a contemporary popular music scene – “rock’s rich tapestry,” call it what you will – all too often devoid of true troubadours and the conveyed bliss of sexual love, Mr August Darnell is a person we scarcely seem to deserve, an unusually conscientious and industrious writer, composer, arranger, producer, player, singer, stage manager, character, bon vivant. As his sartorial projection might lead you to believe, he belongs to a different age. An age when songwriting was a craft – your profession, your pride, and often a crafty progression from the very heart and poison pen parts of your day-to-day life.

NME – August Darnell makes use of words

August Darnell makes use of words. He savours them, seduces their meanings, makes them his own. The pimp! (Just my little metaphorical joke.) In the course of both Dr Buzzards Original Savannah Band and Kid Creole, Darnell has slyly, slowly been redesigning the content and tenor of the subject matter (the one that matters) of which so many songs are fashioned. Saying it, crooning, orienting it, jiving it, driving it, steering it like a captain in his ship.

He has been most recently renowned for a widespread association with a number of acts resident in the New York Ze/Antilles label: James White and the Blacks, Cristina, The Aural Exciters, Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band and of course Kid Creole and the Coconuts. If you’re a keen modern soul fan you may also have happened upon his involvement with an outfit named Machine (more on them later) and maybe even a project known as Gichy Dan’s Beechwood No. 9 (too obscure even for me).

NME – Maestro’s Story

But our maestro’s story goes back a few years to the group (or legend) known as Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, which he co-ran and all too seldom co-runs with a man named Stony Browder Jr, an even more elusive gentleman than August. The Savannah Band are best known or remembered for a mini hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1976 – Cherchez La Femme, taken off the group’s first RCA album (same name as the name). Two more albums have since appeared – 1978’s D.B.O.S.B. Meets King Penett (RCA) and the recent James Monroe H.S. Presents D.B.O.S.B. Goes To Washington (Elektra) – the latter being their classiest and craziest yet.

It would always have been easy to peg the Savannah Band as mere ritzy revivalists – a frivolous private joke, albeit a painstakingly self-referential one – a la Pointer Sisters or Manhattan Transfer. The beat goes a lot further and deeper. Just listen: the lush text of their performance is deceptively, danceably lighter on the ear. If you dip and dig around you’ll find a clearer complexity – those scores sound very learned!

NME – Very Insistant, Very Dreamy…

The hook to each song is usually deep in a choppy rhythmic current – a shuffling samba. Very insistent, very dreamy. Less speed and more taste than that more popping popular amyl (night rate) disco beat. Lined and fleeced with a multiplicity of signs from a predominantly 40s Swing Era code book: seedy jazz, seething calypso, reedy rhumba, rude rhythm’n’blues. The horn section and vocal harmony arrangements are many sided and exquisitely twisted, counter-counter-pointed. What poise! What a slinky noise.

Dr Buzzard’s Savannah Band always have been about arrangement (so difficult to get hold of good arrangers these days, my dear) but it still all sounds informally natural.

Music and lyrics travel all over the place. Benny Goodman horns highlight a Scott Fitzgerald scenario of tiffs, Tia Maria and tension … Brass band surrounds a fairground tryst … Itchy crickets chorus of percussion brings a come-down hell to life.

“You did the mambo, the cha-cha, bolero, the rhumba …/ You did the tango, the conga, the disco, the samba…”

The music is full of jokes, references, interruptions, homage: recreation recycled into contemporaneity. It isn’t just waxwork. Stony Browder is usually credited for musical arrangements, Darnell for lyrics, but like everything else in Savannah land the accepted borderlines are smudged. While we’re here, the rest of the Band besides Browder (guitar, piano) and Darnell (bass) are Ms. Cory Daye (main vocalist), Micky Sevilla (drums/ percussion) and “Sugar Coated” Andy Hernandez (vibes, marimba) – also a mainstay of the Coconut enterprise.

NME – Dr Buzzard’s Savannah Band

Dr Buzzard’s Savannah Band is a perfect marriage of music and words – it wouldn’t be the same if either partner wasn’t just so compatible, as sophisticated as the other. Both Browder and Darnell translate into various languages, idioms, styles. They really are good – I think Darnell is perhaps without par amongst contemporary lyricists. Early Ferry gets somewhere near to the territory (but he lost his sense of humour).

Darnell knows it’s not simply a question of saying what was or wasn’t done to one party or the other (at one party or another) in the name of love – and how it was done; but of constructing, in and around the particular sexual mise en scene, all the bitty thoughts that recapitulated it, the obsessions that accompanied it, the decorations that surrounded it, the images, desires, modulations, and quality of the pleasure that animated it.

NME – Darnell’s Lyrics

His lyrics really begin to get sharp on the second Savannah Band album. Going beyond the fixed range of expressions we expect from our songs and singers, Darnell’s lovers and losers go off into dreams, into rages, into hospital, into too many clubs and even off their heads. The stories echo Damon Runyon one moment, the Brothers Grimm the next …

“Of all the dames I fancied / She’s the only one I loved. / And when she left the pavement turned to mud. / I sought refuge in a dim saloon, / But I would have drowned in booze, / If it weren’t for the troubadour.”

Chorus: “Restless lovers everywhere / Dry your eyes, pull up a chair / Spill the cup and cup the ear / For the organ grinder’s tale…”

The pictures switch from an exaggerated ball – “When Crosby starts to croon / The jitterbuggies cruise the room / Their fingers poke the air / Man-o-man-o-man-o-man, they look just like that Fred Astaire! / “Swing it with me, my Mattie Mario” / No, no, no, no, no, no, I’m saving this fling for Mister Love.” – to obscure outbreaks of gang hatred – “Soraya, bring big gun / And let’s have some bloody fun / Nignats do the Rats in – / Kunta and grimel don’t mix / Like creme et cocoa.”

NME – Various Characters

Various characters and symbols – some figurative, some actual – make a recurrent entrance into the play of Savannah Band language, as the mad covers to all their albums testify. Wouldn’t you just love to visit The New Syringe Club? Mambo Eddie’s Beatnix School? And finish off at The New York At Dawn Show? During the course of the evening you might learn that both Stony Browder and August Darnell attended the James Monroe High School, that the Tommy Mottola of Cherchez La Femme really was their manager, and couldn’t fail to be convinced that the Savannah Band really are Champions of the Romantic.

Darnell is also a champion of the untold story, the surreptitious and strictly confidential. But unlike so many “songwriters” who are respected for their “honesty” about “relationships” – who write songs which convey nothing but venom and connivance – Darnell never loses his humour or humanity. He can fall from ecstasy to squalor in one coded coda. No one is producing better mnemonics for nightlife – even Chic got left behind a while back.

“Tired smiles / Censored romance / Premature sighs – / Now it all makes sense. / Trolley car /Take me along / To some distant shore far from Babylon. / For their air here reeks of lies; / And even the robins sound warlike. / Nocturnal interludes / Like so many tsetse flies / Nocturnal interludes / Damaging merchandise / Make-me-believe-it solitude.”

NME – ZE Records

ZE Records’ New York Office is housed on one floor of a big building which also contains the Carnegie Hall Recital rooms. You can get stuck in the same lift as Harvey Keitel did in a movie called Fingers. Except that now they’ve got a lift-man.

I sat down opposite August Darnell in the traditional false comfort of a record company “hospitality” room. I should have specified a bar in advance.

Also in the room are a couple of Coconuts (Andy Hernandez – who asks me more questions than I ask anyone – and “Mister Piano” Peter Scott, the youngest member of the ensemble, who says virtually nothing throughout) and a varying number of people from both the band entourage and ZE.

Darnell is wearing a moderately baggy, immaculately tailored creamy white suit, and everything else seems to match, natch. He twirls a tiny pink parasol (decoration pinched off a birthday cake) between thumb and forefinger, and answers all queries in a very businesslike but charming manner.

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