Feb 15, 2008

Into The Groove (18)

Hello, todays post focusses on the famous ZE label , that is some of their artists. Previously i've posted work from Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Suicide , James White and John Cale's Music For A New Society, aswell as the rare version of their Christmas compilation. Today we add some to that list. Cristina, the not so kitchi kitchi yaya, still lot's of people got wound up by her, including her labelboss who 'snatched ' this price and married her, but then by 31 she was single again. For those that didnt get a 'funny' valentine... there's an extra size cover version included. Sadly she's been suffering of MS since 2000. The album here was produced and partly written by August Darnell, better known as Kid Creole, 10 weeks ago-in another context- i posted Maladie D'Amour, would have fitted nicely today. For now i chose Tropical Gangsters, the album that got him some major coconuts, seriously, it's danceable and witty, they were really on a roll.... "the man likes milk, now he owns a million cows" Tell me that i'm dreaming really touched a nerve back then. Crazy (not crazy) would have been a good alternative name for Was (not Was), i followed their career and even their production work would be reason enough to pick something out of the salesbin. Well they made 1,5 albums for ZE and so you'll find them here..... ZE released a number of compilation albums, the Mutant Disco series was great, specially the first one you'll find here.

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But first something on ZE, Michael Zilkha (b. 1954) was a British-born Oxford graduate of Lebanese descent, the son of the owner of Mothercare, a major UK retail company, and the stepson of Lord Lever. In the mid-1970s he was working in the New York publishing industry. Michel Esteban (b. 1951) was the French owner of the Paris punk shop Harry Cover (a pun on "haricots verts" [French for "green beans"]) and the magazine Rock News, and, with his partner Lizzy Mercier Descloux, they had moved to New York to become part of the punk and emerging post-punk music scene.

In 1977, Zilkha and Esteban were introduced to each other by John Cale. The music which they were listening to was a mixture of the New Wave of Talking Heads and Television, together with the disco-funk music being played in the New York clubs, at a point at which music, art, cinema, literature, and fashion were closely integrated. The pair decided to set up ZE Records, a name taken from the initials of their surnames, to record the new music emerging. The genre later became known generically as No Wave – the title of one of the company’s first compilation albums. Within a short time, ZE Records became one of the more hip labels of its time, signing up such new talent as James White and the Blacks, Was (Not Was), Kid Creole and the Coconuts, together with more established performers including John Cale and Suicide. Many of its releases were first played at the Paradise Garage club in New York, starting point of Garage music. Although essentially an independent label, ZE had a long-running partnership with Island Records, leading to their records being released via Island, Ariola, and other labels worldwide. The label’s success peaked around 1981-82, and it closed down in 1986.

Esteban restarted the label in 2002 in France to remaster and reissue the old catalogue. Meanwhile, the Zilkha family moved into the energy business, they sold their successful oil and gas exploration business in 1998 and moved into the wind farm development industry which they sold to Goldman Sachs(major bank) and went further into renewable energy and started a biomass company based in Texas. Looks like Oxford wasn't wasted on him i would say..

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Cristina - Love Doll (80 ^ 470mb)

Cristina Monet, a Harvard drop-out, and the daughter of a French psychoanalyst and an American illustrator-novelist-playwright, she was working as a writer for The Village Voice when she met Michael Zilkha, who later became her husband. Zilkha was just starting ZE Records with Michel Esteban, he persuaded her to record a song called Disco Clone, an eccentric pastiche dance record which featured the uncredited Kevin Kline trying to seduce the breathy Cristina. According to some sources the record was produced by John Cale and was the first to be issued on the ZE label. "Disco Clone" was a cult success and encouraged ZE to release a full-length album in 1980, which was produced by August Darnell (aka Kid Creole). He created am atmosphere dense with percussion, scored with brash blasts of brass, riotously pan-generic, an oddly perfect backdrop for Cristina’s arch, playful vocals. Cristina’s first album reconnects with another key archetype of disco: physical, propulsive, joyous music as the backdrop to songs that document loss, broken hearts, social alienation, and when she tones down the misery, she increases the devilish word-play and humor.Subsequently she released a single with a cover of the Beatles' "Drive My Car" (see Mutant Disco vol1)

Those elements were amplified on 1984’s Sleep it Off, where Cristina teamed up with Don Was to produce an album whose topical consistency was hinged to music that shifted between modes from song to song. Cristina’s increasing confidence is audible in her style: the femme fatale squeals and sighs of 1980 have given way to an acerbic, sarcastic delivery. Don Was’ production gilds the record with sharp, plastic edges, splintered and stuttered rhythms making way for string-of-pearl guitars . Nevertheless the record flopped, and Cristina retired to domestic life in Texas. She and Zilkha divorced in 1990 and she returned to New York. She has more recently contributed learned essays and reviews to publications such as London's Times Literary Supplement, while battling MS, a debilitating illness.

01 - Jungle Love (5:26)
02 - Don't Be Greedy (6:22)
03 - Mama Mia (3:59)
04 Interlude
05 - La Poupée Qui Fait Non (7:34)
06 - Temporarily Yours (5:48)
07 - Blame It On Disco (6:44)
08 Is That All There Is (long version)
09 Disco Clone (single version)
10 Drive My Car (single version)
11 Ballad Of Immoral Manufacture
12 Drive My Car (long version)

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Kid Creole and The Coconuts - Tropical Gangsters ( 82 ^ 452nb)

Thomas August Darnell Browder (aka August Darnell) was born in Montreal, 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. When they broke up, Darnell began to write and produce for other acts working with James Chance among others. In 1980, he became a staff producer at ZE Records and created the persona of Kid Creole (adapted from Presley's 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 Andy Hernandez (aka Coati Mundi), also from Dr. Buzzard. Kid Creole was a deliberately comic figure, a Latinized Cab Calloway type in a zoot suit. Off the Coast of Me, the first Kid Creole & the Coconuts album, was released in August 1980 by Antilles through a distribution deal with ZE. It earned good reviews for its clever lyrics and mixture of musical styles, but sales disappointed.

ZE made a deal with Sire Records, which released the second Kid Creole & the Coconuts album, Fresh Fruit in Foreign Places, (1981). 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. Darnell continued the story with his third album, Tropical Gangsters in May 1982. The band toured Britain for the first time to promote the album, and they broke big. Three singles -- "I'm a Wonderful Thing, Baby," "Stool Pigeon," and "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" -- made the Top Ten. In the U.S., where the album was retitled Wise Guy, the band remained cult favorites. In 1983, Darnell produced side projects for the Coconuts (Don't Take My Coconuts) and Coati Mundi before releasing the fourth Kid Creole album, Doppelganger, which completed the Mimi cycle. The album charted in the U.K., but was a commercial disappointment after the breakthrough represented by Tropical Gangsters/Wise Guy.

Meanwhile, 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). They also made a TV film, Something Wrong in Paradise, based on the Mimi cycle and broadcast on Granada TV in the U.K. in December 1984.

Darnell broke up with his wife in 1985, and the original band split. Darnell pressed on, appearing at the Montreux Jazz Festival and releasing the fifth Kid Creole & the Coconuts album, In Praise of Older Women and Other Crimes, which did not chart. Neither did the sixth album, I, Too, Have Seen the Woods (1987). Darnell then took time off to write In a Pig's Valise, an off-Broadway show that ran for 12 weeks. Kid Creole & the Coconuts, now featuring former Dr. Buzzard singer Cory Daye, resurfaced in 1990, issuing a seventh album, Private Waters in the Great Divide, which featured "The Sex of It," a song written by Prince that made the British Top 40 and the American R&B charts. It was followed a year later by You Shoulda Told Me You Were....

Kid Creole & the Coconuts spent the 1990s touring internationally and releasing albums primarily outside the U.S. To Travel Sideways and Kiss Me Before the Light Changes both appeared initially in Japan, though they found stateside release on a small label in 1995. The Conquest of You was released in Germany in 1997. Kid Creole starred in the British musical Oh! What a Night, which ran in the West End from August to October 1999. A live album of the same name, which combined Kid Creole hits with renditions of some of the songs that appeared in the musical, was released in 2000. Too Cool to Conga!, a studio album, came out the following year. Darnell now lives in London (and occasionally Sweden), and still tours with the Coconuts occasionally. He is currently collaborating with writer/producer Peter Schott on a Contemporary Opera, to be produced by Son Of Kong Productions.

01 - Annie (I'm Not Your Daddy) (6:25)
02 - I'm A Wonderful Thing, Baby (5:14)
03 - Imitation (4:07)
04 - I'm Corrupt (4:01)
05 - Loving You Made A Fool Out Of Me (4:46)
06 - Stool Pigeon (4:56)
07 - The Love We Have (5:09)
08 - No Fish Today (4:50)
09 - Christmas On Riverside Drive (From A Christmas Record) 4:20
10 - You Had No Intention (B-side Of Annie I'm Not Your Daddy) 4:37
11 - Annie I'm Not Your Daddy (Remix) 6:26
12 - I'm A Wonderful Thing, Baby (Original 12" Mix) 6:10
13 - Stool Pigeon (12" Mix) 6:20
14 - Double On Back (B Side Of Stool Pigeon 12") 4:22

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Was (Not Was) - Was (Not Was)   (80 * 238mb)

Was (Not Was) is an eccentric pop group founded by David Weiss (a.k.a. David Was) and Don Fagenson (a.k.a. Don Was), they were childhood friends who grew up together in suburban Detroit. Their first recording was "Wheel Me Out", a 12-inch dance record for the avant-garde Ze Records.Their first album Was (Not Was) (1981) was an amalgam of rock, disco, Weiss's beat poetry, Reagan-era commentary, and jazz. On vocals they recruited Harry Bowens and "Sweet Pea" Atkinson, who proved to be distinctive, soulful front men, who frequently found themselves singing absurd, surreal songs alongside tender ballads. The album was way ahead in directness, superstarsound and off the beaten track lyrics, it put people on the wrong foot I suppose, well they caught me, but then i was a minority and the album didnt chart. The follow-up, Born to Laugh at Tornados (1983), did. It introduced even more guest musicians, including Ozzy Osbourne rapping over electro, Mitch Ryder belting out a techno-rockabilly number, Mel Tormé crooning an oddly beautiful ballad about asphyxiation, and an abstract funk piece called "Man vs. the Empire Brain Building". ZE felt they were no longer part of the family and they were dropped , Geffen eventually released Born to laugh at tornadoes.

In 1988, they found their biggest hit with the album What Up, Dog?, which featured the singles "Walk the Dinosaur" and "Spy in the House of Love". Special guests included Stevie Salas, John Patitucci, Frank Sinatra Jr., and a writing credit for Elvis Costello. About this time, the Was'ses developed separate careers as producers, film scorers, and music supervisors. Don Was had become a prominent record producer, handling the board for Bonnie Raitt's Grammy-winning Nick of Time, among many other mainstream pop records. The group followed up with Are You Okay? in 1990, a critically lauded album, spearheaded by a cover of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone". Guest musicians included Iggy Pop, Leonard Cohen, The Roches, and Syd Straw. After a tour with Dire Straits in 1992 and a UK Top 5 single with "Shake Your Head, Weiss and Fagenson drifted apart and nothing was heard from Was (Not Was) but a compilation album Hello Dad... I'm in Jail. In 1993, Was (Not Was) officially parted ways, but then to be or not to be was the question and in 2004 the freaks came back out, Was (Not Was) reformed and were back on stage for a two-month club tour .In October 2005, they played four gigs at the Jazz Café in London. And..they announced that there will be a new studio album, Boo! (slated for an April '08 release), which includes many songs originally recorded in the '80s as well as new material.

01 - Out Come The Freaks (5:39)
02 - Where Did Your Heart Go? (4:56)
03 - Tell Me That I'm Dreaming (5:00)
04 - Oh, Mr Friction (3:30)
05 - Carry Me Back To Old Morocco (6:01)
06 - It's An Attack! (3:10)
07 - The Sky's Ablaze (2:15)
08 - Go... Now! (5:28)

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Was (Not Was) - Woodwork Sqeekes (84 ^ re 04mb)  516mb

01 Tell me that I'm dreaming (Traditional 12 remix) 6:33
02 Out come the freaks (Predominantly Funk version) 12:25
03 Wheel me out (Classic 12 version) 7:06
04 (Return to the Valley of) Out come the freaks (Extended version) 8:45
05 Hello operator (Classic 12 version) 5:25
06 Dance or die (From Sweet Pea Atkinson album) 6:35
07 Tell me that I'm dreaming-Out come the freaks (Dub version) 12:52
08 Out come the freaks (Classic 12 version) 7:12
09 (Stuck inside of Detroit with) Out come the freaks (again) 4:38
10 White people can't dance 4:17
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VA - Mutant Disco Vol 1 (84 * 133mb)

In spite of all the formula and tackiness, disco's hedonistic instincts on the dance floor attracted a certain bizarre crop of wily punk, no wave, and dedicated avant-garde artists. Here Ze Records, offering up dance music as an invitation to humor, fashion, funk, and whatever the hell else their artists wanted it to be. The past couple of years have exposed a whole slate of these musicians, thus framing the music they created (and in some ways the shadows of disco itself) not as any celebration of junk culture or an invite to laugh at fashion faux pas, but rather as distinctly good music. The Mutant Disco compilations shoe how ZE witnessed the explosion of No Wave's dissonant noise and acted as a platform for many of those same musicians to explore growing fascinations with dance beats and longer, more groove-centered structures.

01 - Was (Not Was) - Wheel Me Out (Remix Version) (7:08)
02 - Material feat.Nona Hendryx - Bustin' Out (6:40)
03 - Cristina - Drive My Car (3:21)
04 - Kid Creole And The Coconuts - Annie I'm Not Your Daddy (Remix Version) (6:30)
05 - Aural Exciters - Emile (Night Rate) (6:48)
06 - James White & The Blacks - Contort Yourself (August Darnell Remix) (6:18)
07 - Lizzy Mercier Descloux - Funky Stuff (4:12)
08 - Garçons - French Boy (3:08)
09 - Don Armando's Second Avenue Rhumba Band - Deputy Of Love (5:29)
10 - Gichy Dan - Cowboys & Gangsters (7:28)
11 - Cristina - Blame It On Disco (7:57)
12 - Garçons - Encore L'Amore ( Italian Version) (8:55)

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All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !


Anonymous said...

Aha... Many thanks indeed for the soup-up job on Was (Not Was). Was listening to Wheel Me Out just the other day & making a mental note to try & track down the LP. Grateful I am that you appeared to read my mind. (Twilight Zone theme, etc...)


Rho said...

Hello DMcA, as much as i would like to take any credit for that, i don't think that's the case. Assuming you heard Wheel me out somewhere on the radio, if you played it yourself, i would say the synchronicity is created by you, picking up signals from the day ahead..not that uncommon, though often unnoticed. As far as i'm concerned i decided on ZE thursday and consequently ripped the titles that day.
Well whatever, wheel me out is a great track, Was(not Was) is a great band and i can't wait when these freaks come out with a new album this spring.

best of luck,


Anonymous said...

Great post, great band. If you have Born To Laugh At Tornadoes could you please post it? I used to have it but it is long gone... Thanks for the terrific site!

Anonymous said...

Well, I herd the W(NW) track on my mp3-soma device, meandering around town with the thing on random (something I very rarely do, now I come to think of it)... so who can say what form of subterfugal causality was at play!

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

was not was - my lomgtime dreaming


Anonymous said...

I think the Cristina track "La Poupee Qui Fait Non" was shortened---For some reason it is clocking in at 3:15!--- (as well as "Don't Be Greedy") somehow in the upload.

Thanks for the upload, as I used to have this on vinyl, but had to eat!

Rho said...

Hello Anon, thats certainly odd,where did you download it from, filesize is 90.36 mb at zshare-as it should be, have you tried re-unzipping ?

best of luck,

Anonymous said...

Surprise, I am searching (without success)The Kid Creole/Too Cool To Conga.
But here, what do I found: A Was(Not Was) I did not found in the web till now and I even gave up the research.
So a BIG BIG BIG Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

I'm abck in case you would know where the KID is ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho

could you re-up Christina please?


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

hi Rho, could you re-up the wasnotwas and kid creole albums please, thankyou

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho

Could we get the Kid Creole again please


GianniZ said...

Christina is not directing us properly.