Thursday, 15 October 2020

Lizzy Mercier Descloux ‎– Mambo Nassau (1981)

Genre: Rock, Funk / Soul, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: ZE Records, Philips, Light In The Attic

01.   Lady O K'pele
02.   Room Mate
03.   Sports Spootnicks
04.   Payola
05.   Milk Sheik
06.   Funky Stuff
07.   Slipped Disc
08.   It's You Sort Of
09.   Bim Bam Boom
10.   Five Troubles Mambo
11.   Les Baisers D'Amants
12.   Maita
13.   Mister Soweto
14.   Sun Is Shining
15.   Corpo Molli Pau Duro
16.   Don't You Try To Stop Me

Bass – Philippe Le Mongne
Guitar – Yahn Leker
Percussion – Gregori Czerkinsky
Synthesizer – Wally Badarou
Vocals – Arto Lindsay, Philippe Krootchey 
Producer – Adam Kidron, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Michel Bassignani), Steven Stanley

Out in some alternate universe, where old songs float around in space, there is a bridge that links Talking Heads' "I Zimbra" to the same band's "Born Under Punches." That bridge is formed by nine of the ten songs that make up Mambo Nassau, Lizzy Mercier Descloux's second solo album. Whether or not Descloux's severe yet foreseeable change in approach had anything to do with Talking Heads' own development is not (widely) known. It is known that she had become inspired by the traditional world music released on France's Ocora label, and in 1980 she took drummer Bill Perry down to Nassau to record at Compass Point, where she was aided by a number of people, including keyboard wiz, arranger, and -- ding ding! -- future Talking Heads associate Wally Badarou. The intent was to incorporate African elements into Descloux's existing vibrant mix of arty funk, disco, and film music, and the result was an album that nearly rivals just about any other rhythmically inventive release that came from the rock world at the time. Naturally, Mambo Nassau is even more adventurous than Press Color. The instrumental setup -- with the exception of some of the percussion -- is completely Western and rock-oriented, with Badarou's excitable synthesizer often figuring prominently, whether churning out squiggled melodies or affecting the mood of the song with sensitive accents. The interplay between all of the instruments is positively acrobatic, including off-kilter time-keeping, wriggling guitars, and plump basslines that seem to twist in place. And, of course, there's Descloux's voice at the center of it all, adding even more life to the material with infectious wide-eyed exuberance. Eight of the album's ten songs are originals. Once you hear the cover of Kool & the Gang's "Funky Stuff," you'll realize that no one has ever had as much fun as Descloux had playing that song.
Andy Kellman / AllMusic

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