Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kid Creole and the Coconuts -- "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" (1982)

Oh Annie, I'm not your daddy
See if I was in your blood
Then you wouldn't be so ugly

Serendipity is the defining quality of 2 or 3 lines -- as the hot (age-adjusted) French girlfriend might say (riffing on the Sun King's famous line, which is probably apocryphal), "La sérendipité, c'est deux ou trois lignes." 

To wit . . .

While working on my post about Eric B. and Rakim's "Eric B Is President," I learned that one of the records they sampled in that track was Fonda Rae's 1982 disco hit, "Over Like a Fat Rat."

It turns out that Fonda Rae was one of the original members of Kid Creole and the Coconuts, a tongue-in-cheek retro act that actually could sing, play and dance.  I had a cassette of one Kid Creole album back in the day, and the reference to the band immediately brought "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" back to me.

Kid Creole -- who has been described as "the larger-than-life central figure in a multi-racial, multi-cultural music carnival" -- was Thomas August Darnell Browder (he went by August Darnell), a multi-racial, multi-cultural singer and guitarist.  I can't think of another musician who looked snazzier in a zoot suit.  

August Darnell
The term "creole" was originally used to distinguish New World residents of French or Spanish heritage (in particular, residents of Louisiana) who were born in the Western Hemisphere from colonists who had migrated from Europe.  Eventually, the term came to apply to mixed-race Louisianans -- especially the offspring of white Creole fathers and black or mixed-race mothers. 

Louisiana developed a three-tiered social structure, with whites on top, blacks on the bottom, and mixed-race Creoles somewhere in the middle.  But the Creoles didn't have it too bad -- they were gens de couleur libres ("free people of color") and had most of the legal privileges of whites.  

Coconut-shell bra
The Coconuts were Kid Creole's female dancers and backup singers, who usually wore grass hula skirts and (of course) coconut-shell bras.

This article captures the essence of the group and the essence of the time (1980's) and place (New York City) when they were most popular.

Click here for an article from Slant magazine that discusses the sociological significance of Darnell's songs.

This song was the first track on the third Kid Creole and the Coconuts album, Wise Guy.  That album reached #3 on the UK charts (under the title Tropical Gangsters), and this song and two others from the album were top 10 singles across the pond.

The singer denies his paternity of the hapless Annie on two grounds.  First, Annie's mother got around -- so the odds of the singer being her father are pretty slim.  Second, basic genetics precludes any possibility that the two are related -- the singer is a very handsome man, but Annie is heinous-looking.  Quod erat demonstrandum!

Here's the music video for "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy":

Boy, does that video not make any sense or what?

Here's a video of a live performance of the song (Essen, Germany -- 1982):

Have you ever seen a band that was working harder or having a better time while performing?

You can use this link to buy a coconut bra from Amazon:

And you can use this link to buy the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

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