No, not Colin Vearncombe.
Before becoming Kid Creole, the man listed on his birth certificate as Thomas August Darnell Browder, sometimes known as Tommy Browder but more usually as August Darnell, was an in-house producer at new York’s uber-cool art-pop indie label Ze Records. (And before that, he was in his brother Stony’s Grammy-winning, genre-busting disco group Doctor Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, but that’s for another post sometime.)
For an overview of Darnell’s pre-Coconuts work, I very much recommend the compilation Going Places: The August Darnell Years 1976-83. It’s a somewhat scattershot collection, but full of gems, including this, a proper stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks reworking of Leiber and Stoller‘s 1969 composition for Peggy Lee, “Is That All There Is?”. The original was bleak enough, but this version is seriously out there.
Leiber and Stoller didn’t take kindly to this treatment of their song, and got it withdrawn, which led to the few existing copies becoming insanely valuable. Fortunately, by the time Cristina’s catalogue was reissued in 2002, Leiber and Stoller’s feelings toward the reinterpretation had softened somewhat, and they finally gave their blessing for it to be made legally available once more.
The download also includes the original B-side, a Darnell original which would have suited Bow Wow Wow.
Link: Cristina – Is That All There Is? (1980 single) (password: salad)
1. Is That All There Is?
2. Jungle Love
Just a note for anyone who may be interested… the new A.R.Kane material that’s been in the pipeline for a while, is finally on the way! Except that it’s not A.R.Kane anymore, it’s now called Jübl, consisting of Rudy and Maggie Tambala and Andy Taylor. If you count downloads as “singles”, then the single “drops” on 20 June. If not, well, there will be some songs available to download anyway.
I think it’s fair to say Siouxsie and the Banshees is one of those bands who enjoyed a long and pretty successful career without ever quite going mainstream. Everybody’s heard of them, but not to the point where your average punter actually knows any songs. They did have some pretty big hits but I can’t remember the last time I heard them played on the radio.
Which is beside the point, because this single – the first from their acclaimed fourth LP A Kiss In The Dreamhouse – wasn’t even a hit really, only hobbling to a disappointing #41. And it’s aimed more at the dancefloor than the radio anyway. It’s pretty funky in a weirdly British psychedelic way, though.
I wouldn’t say the B-sides are hidden gems, but for those who want them, here they are. Both quite doomy and gloomy; “Obsession II” is the instrumental of album track “Obsession”.
Slowdive would of course later be the name of a shoegaze band, due to it being one of singer/guitarist Rachel Goswell‘s favourite songs. And so in 1990, they released “Slowdive” as their debut single… but wait! This isn’t the same song at all! No, having been inspired by Siouxsie and the Banshees, they stole the title and wrote their own song instead. Well there’s gratitude for you. But it’s a good song full of shimmering loveliness, so I guess I’ll let them off…
Here’s Slowdive’s “Slowdive” along with its B-sides: