Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Was (Not Was) ‎– Was (Not Was) (1981)

Genre: Electronic, Rock, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label:  Fontana, ZE Records, Island Records

1.   Out Come The Freaks
2.   Where Did Your Heart Go?
3.   Tell Me That I'm Dreaming
4.   Oh, Mr Friction
5.   Carry Me Back To Old Morocco
6.   It's An Attack!
7.   The Sky's Ablaze
8.   Go... Now!

Alto Saxophone – David Was
Bass – Don Was, Jervonny Collier, Lamont Johnson
Drums – Franklin K. Funklyn McCullers, Jerry Jones
Guitar – Bruce Nazarian, Ricardo Rouse, Wayne Kramer
Keyboards – Don Was, Luis Resto, Mark Johnson, Raymond Johnson
Percussion – Carl "Butch" Small, Kevin Tschirhart, Larry Fratangelo
Piano – David Was, Irwin Krinsky
Saxophone – Armand Angeloni, David McMurray
Trumpet – Marcus Belgrave
Vocals – David Was, Don Was, Harry Bowens, Sweet Pea Atkinso
Backing Vocals – Carol Hall, Caroline Crawford, Kathy Kosins, Michelle Goulet, Sheila Horne
Written-By – David Was, Don Was, Douglas Pieger, Ron Banks
Producer – David Was, Don Was, Jack Tann

At the beginning of the '80s, David and Don Was weren't gathering bedfellows as strange as Ozzy Osborne and Mel Tormé -- as they would a few years later, seemingly inspired by the P-Funk All Stars as much as Battle of the Network Stars -- but the Oak Park, MI, natives were nonetheless generating collaborations as unlikely and successful as Brian Eno before them. (Partial roll call: MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, Mingus associate Marcus Belgrave, and future Eminem accomplice Luis Resto, along with regular vocalists Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens.) In fact, prior to crossing over into a realm of silliness not unfamiliar to Weird Al, the Was brothers and company made some of the baddest, strangest disco-funk imaginable. Key versions of two such cuts appeared on the original version of the first Was (Not Was) album, referred to as both Was (Not Was) and Out Come the Freaks. "Tell Me That I'm Dreaming" is big-band disco, blistering funk, and a spaghetti Western score at once, with call-and-response vocals that are as nonsensical as they are deeply biting. An address from then-President Ronald Reagan is sampled during the breakdown: "Can we who man the ship of state deny that it is somewhat out of control?" The "me" decade is uniquely summed up by vocalist Harry Bowens, who steps in to proclaim, "The man likes milk, now he owns a million cows." The other monster is "Out Come the Freaks," which carries another athletic groove and ridiculous, shared vocals between a host of people. Time hasn't been as kind to the remainder of the album, but the material remains enjoyable in a "throw it on the wall, see if it sticks" kind of way, dishing out passable funk and throwing in an exceptional radioplay throwback for the hell of it. 
Andy Kellman / AllMusic

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