The Good the bad and the Funky (2000) Print
Discography
Wednesday, 18 June 2008 12:36

The Good the Bad and the FunkyThe fifth Tom Tom Club album features ten original tracks and two classic covers along with two additional, original dubwise mixes. Recorded and mixed by Doug McKean at the Clubhouse Music Studio controls, the trademark Tom Tom Club sound remains sensuous and fresh: deep slo' funk with bounce and bubble; pressure-cooking chops with the power of dreams; scratchy rhythms and sinuous melodies, beat-driven and punchy; the lyrics, ironic, funny, witty, spiritually and sexually liberated for a universal generation.

The synergistic chemistry of their live band so excited "The Masterminders," Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, they invited into the studio-and got-inspired overdubs and spirited guest appearances by friends who are also gifted musicians. Like a really good machine "The Good the Bad and the Funky" is arranged for comfort and built to last.

First heard, in order of appearance on the album, is "upful" Jamaican-born, Connecticut Yankee, Mystic Bowie, whose high-energy toasting is a perfect foil for Tina's tongue-in-cheek girlie vocals, and Chris's equally laid-back exhortations to party on "Time To Bounce." This song is pure roots hip-hop, all played by Chris and Tina.

Next, Robby Aceto's high-life guitars and prodigy turntablist Kid Ginseng (only just fifteen years old when he overdubbed!) shake it up with catalytic electricity to join Chris and Tina on "Who Feelin It," a vivid tribute in image, word, and sound to international R&B pop, soul, and underground music innovators of hip-hop, past and present.

Funky Kid Ginseng and Robby swoon and tickle the itch with Chris and Tina again on the cruisin' hip-hop rhythms of "Happiness Can't Buy Money," a swaying reminder that when reality rears it's ugly head, money can help make the monster back off.

Mystic Bowie returns to rock the mic again on lead vocals for the 1977 Lee "Scratch" Perry classic "Soul Fire." This is one of the all-time great reggae songs, but is little known except to real reggae fans. It's a heavy dubwise tune about the unquenchable thirst of the soul, amplified and echoed eerily, cheerily by guest Sergio Rotman's ska saxes, Tina's layered vocal rendition of the original's instrumental sax theme, and guest "Boomer" Harold's rollicking virtuosity on electric piano propelled by the rhythm section of Chris and Tina, soulful as ever.

"Holy Water" is a deep funk masterpiece featuring soul man Charles Pettigrew (of Charles & Eddie, "Would I Lie to You?" fame) on vocals and Chris and Tina's old friend from Talking Heads and P-Funk days, the incomparable Bernie Worrell, playing the organ solo and clavinet; along with Robby on electric guitar, over Chris and Tina's funky rhythm bed of keyboards, drums and bass guitar. The song deals with the age-old theme of the triumph of good spirits over evil in the 'hood and throughout the universe.

Tina plays acoustic and bass guitars and Chris picks up the beat another notch on "She's Dangerous." This song features one of the most beloved singers in reggae history, "The Skafather" Toots Hibbert, on lead vocals. On sax again is Latin American rastaman Sergio Rotman of Cienfuegos and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. This is the Tom Tom Club's first foray into ska and what a blast of energy it is!

In "She's A Freak," which Chris and Tina built around a heavily processed sample of a Tom Tom Club jam, Tina pours it on hot with a sensuality she won't deny was inspired by her friend Shirley Manson. Undoubtedly, Shirley has learned a thing or two from Tina, as well. This song is self-explanatory, baby.

"(C'mon) Surrender," sung by love man Charles Pettigrew, is a stripped-down, undulating, quivering, steaming, pleading, blue-light-in-the-corner kind of song about that unrequited love thang. Congratulations were due and a hearty handshake given to the fan who suggested the title by writing in to the Tom Tom Club website message board.

"Love to Love You Baby" is the Tom Tom Club's version of the great Donna Summer classic, recorded at the Clubhouse by Doug McKean and mixed at Compass Point by Steven Stanley. Three musicians, Chris, Tina, and their friend on the keyboard, all-around brilliant Bruce Martin, play with a spareness that will suck you in and breathe you out . . . Don't worry, this is a perfectly safe trip, and Tina nails the vocal like the true diva she is. So hot . . .

"Superdreaming" finds Chris and Tina in a beautiful hip-hop paradise where Tina urges the forces of the cosmos to "turn my people on" and is thereby provided with the necessary ingredients, and the assurance that "it's all good." And it is.

The Tom Tom Club has a tradition of always including an instrumental track, and this album is no exception. "Lesbians By the Lake" is an out there instrumental mixed dubwise and featuring Abdou M'Boup, composer and master percussionist from Senegal, playing the kora, an ancient stringed instrument from Africa rarely heard in Western music. Abdou also plays percussion on "Holy Water" and "Let There Be Love." Chris and Tina first met Abdou in Paris when they played together on Talking Heads' Naked. This track is so trippy that Tina recommends you not play this song while driving.

By now you are ready for "Let There Be Love," a bittersweet love song that displays Charles's silken velvet voice at its most powerful and most vulnerable. This song may take you by surprise. . .

Need more? Great, 'cause here they come, one after the other, bonus dubwise cuts, "Time To Bounce Dub" and "Dangerous Dub."

Tracks:

- Time to Bounce
- Who Feelin' It *)
- Happiness Can't Buy Money
- Holy Water
- Soul Fire
- She's Dangerous
- She's a Freak
- (C'mon) Surrender
- Love to Love you Baby **)
- Superdreaming
- Lesbians by the Lake
- Let There be Love
- Time to Bounce Dub
- Dangerous Dub

*) A remix of "Who Feelin' it" was first released on the soundtrack for the movie "American Psycho"
**) A remix of "Love to Love you Baby" was first released on the Giorgio Moroder soundtrack album by DJ Empire.

Order The Good the Bad and the Funky