Archive for the ‘Kid Creole and the Coconuts’ Category

Kid Creole and the Coconuts Newcastle City Hall 1983 and 1985

Kid Creole and the Coconuts Newcastle City Hall 1983 and 1985
kidcroeleprog I saw Kid Creole and the Coconuts twice more, on their 1983 and 1985 UK tours. Looking back on this guy and his crazy band, makes me wonder why they weren’t a bigger success. You can see lots of influences in Kid Creole’s show, and it turn, he must have influenced lots of people. There are shades of James Brown, Sly Stone, Prince, and crooners like Frank Sinatra.
From the Kid’s official site: “Kid Creole and the Coconuts were born out of the burning embers of the brilliant and legendary Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band. August Darnell (Kid Creole) claims to have had a vision of the band in a nightmare while walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City. Born in the Bronx, Darnell is a man of multiple cultures, legends and personalities.” kidtix83 “For over 27 years Kid Creole and the Coconuts have been entertaining sellout crowds around the world. Inspired by Cab Calloway and the Hollywood films of the 30’s and 40’s, the Kid fills out his colorful zoot suits with style and grace, dancing onstage with his inimitable, relentless and self-proclaimed cool. The Kid is suave, smooth, self-centered and secure. A legend in his own mind. His talent for self-adoration, though, is equally matched by his brilliance as a songwriter, social commentator, and lyricist.” And the guy was an early example of world music, with a multi-racial band, and a fusion of jazz, big band, and south american rhythms. kidtix85 Setlist from a show of the period (probably from 1983): Turkey Trot; Going Places; I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby; Mr. Softee; Loving You Made A Fool Out Of Me; Say Hey! Ain’t You Heard The News; Don’t Take My Coconuts; Annie I’m Not Your Daddy; No Fish Today; Que Pasa; Table Manners; Dear Addy; Stool Pigeon; Gina Gina; Imitation; Maladie D’amour. kidprog85 The song I remember most from the 1985 show is Endicott, which was a minor hit in the UK. Like most of the Kid’s songs, this told a story. Endicott was the perfect husband: “Endicott’s up by 5 o’clock, Endicott’s givin’ it all he got, Endicott’s job is six to nine but, Endicott’s home by nine o five, Endicott helps to cook the steak, Endicott helps to wash the plates, Endicott puts the kids to bed, Endicott reads a book to them. And the Kid’s girl would ask “Why cant you be like Endicott?” The Kid’s answer was: “Cause I’m free, Free of any made-to-order liabilities, Thank God I’m free, Cos it’s hard enough for me, to take care of me, oh-oh”. All of this would be played out as part of the show, with one of the Coconuts taking the part of the Kid’s girl. Great, fun stuff.

Kid Creole and the Coconuts Newcastle City Hall 1982

Kid Creole and the Coconuts Newcastle City Hall 1982
KidCprogI don’t recall how I first became aware of Kid Creole and the Coconuts. I guess I heard one of the early hits like “I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby or Stool Pigeon on the radio, and I must have seen them on Top of the Pops. What I do remember is going along to see them in concert at Newcastle City Hall, not knowing what to expect, and being totally blown away by their show. And show was the right word for it. The music was difficult to categorise; blending a variety of styles and influences, including Latin American, South American, and Caribbean music alongside remnants of the big band era. And a crazy, super stylish and funny front man in the form of our hero August Darnell, aka Kid Creole, his foil, side-kick and the brunt of his jokes Coati Mundi, The Coconuts who were a glamorous trio of female backing vocalists, and a full band. The persona of Kid Creole was “inspired by … the Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s, the Kid fills out his colourful zoot suits with style and grace, dancing onstage with his inimitable, relentless and self-proclaimed cool.” ( kidtix82 Kid Creole was to be “the larger-than-life central figure in a multi-racial, multi-cultural musical carnival.” (Sire Records, 1992). If you think of the Mardi Gras combined with 40s zoot suits, rock n roll, theatre and great humour, you might start to imagine what these guys were like live. The NME reported at the time that their live shows “were among the most propulsive and enchanting of the period”. I went home with the Latin beats ringing in my ears, and a new hero in the form of the Kid! I saw this band twice more, and each time was an equally crazy and fun occasion. Although they seem to have been largely forgotten, back “in the day” there was no one touch them for out and out, over the top, theatrical rock n roll fun. Actually, maybe there was; Mari Wilson and the Wilsations come to mind; but that’s a story for another day’s blog.