Giving the world some bonhomie: the best of August Darnell

Among the wittiest of songwriters and producers, Augie Darnell cut quite a figure in Koch-era New York, combining punk and commercial disco with one hand and guiding a throwback combo called Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band with the other. For a few albums his new act Kid Creole and the Coconuts put all these elements together into the most literate of Las Vegas revues. Darnell made David Johansen’s Buster Poindexter look like a Halloween shop routine. In the opening cowbell and hi-hat on his remix of James White & The Blacks’s “Contort Yourself” Brooklyn bands of the 2000s would base careers (ten years ago it bugged the hell out of me that I couldn’t place where Hot Chip had borrowed its hook for “Arrest Yourself.” The Kid’s 2011 album, their first in years, was a respectable affair. And Robert Christgau reminded me that a sticky-like-glue Colgate commercial jingle that aired during kids programming in 1986 started life as “The Lifeboat Party.” Part of Darnell’s design was giving the world a sedative.

1. Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy
2. My Male Curiosity
3. Machine – There But For the Grace of God Go I
4. Cristina – Is That All There Is
5. Cherchez La Femme
6. Part of My Design
7. Yolanda
8. I’ll Play the Fool
9. The Lifeboat Party
10. Cherchez La Femme
11. There’s Something Wrong In Paradise
12. I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby
13. Dancin’ at the Bains Douches
14. No Fish Today
15. Stool Pigeon
16. Endicott
17. You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down
18. Gichy Dan’s Beachwood #9 – On a Day Like Today
19. Coati Mundi – Pharaoh (Can’t Take It to the Grave)
20. James White & The Blacks – Contort Yourself (August Darnell Remix)

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