“Tom Tom Club” by Tom Tom Club - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1981Album Chart of the Decade: 1980s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

Encouraged by their fellow Talking Heads to do so, the husband-and-wife duo of bassist/vocalist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz created Tom Tom Club as an outlet for their own creativite ideas, and Chris Blackwell of Island Records gave them his backing, although he would license the album to Seymour Stein's Sire in the USA. They took their name from a dancehall in the Bahamas where they'd first rehearsed independently from Talking Heads in 1980. In March, 1981, recording sessions at the Compass Point Studios, Bahamas, were inspired, if a little chaotic. Producer of choice Lee Perry was a no-show, so they did it themselves with the engineering assistance of young Jamaican, Steven Stanley, who had recently worked with Ian Dury. Bahamian Monte Brown (of T-Connection fame) played guitar on “Wordy Rappinghood”, whilst a slew of Jamaican musicians from team Grace joined in the fun; Sly & Robbie adding hand-claps to “Genius Of Love”, Ezikiah 'Sticky' Thompson lending percussion to “Lorelei” and Tyrone Downie playing piano on “L’éléphant”. Sometime Talking Heads touring guitarist Adrian Belew made a working holiday of it and contributed to several tracks, as did Tina's sisters, Lani and Laura, who added their harmony vocals as they had done previously as session guests with Talking Heads. Tina's engaging wordy rap delivered in English and French gets the album off to an excellent fresh and funky start, which is maintained on the aforementioned “Genius Of Love” which teases us with echoed chants of Bohannon, Bohannon, Bohannon, leaving no other option than to chant back “make it funky!” This, and other pieces from the set, would be sampled to death in the hip-hop world for decades to come, which is probably the finest compliment such work can receive. Very well played.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [06:27] 8.8.png Tom Tom Club - Wordy Rappinghood (Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Adrian Belew, Steven Stanley, Lani Weymouth, Laura Weymouth) New Wave
A2 [05:34] 7.1.png Tom Tom Club - Genius Of Love (Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Adrian Belew, Steven Stanley) Disco / Funk
A3 [01:25] 4.2.png Tom Tom Club - Tom Tom Theme (Chris Frantz, Adrian Belew) Disco / Funk
A4 [04:50] 6.9.png Tom Tom Club - L’éléphant (Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Adrian Belew, Steven Stanley) New Wave
B1 [05:23] 5.2.png Tom Tom Club - As Above, So Below (Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Adrian Belew, Steven Stanley) Dubbeat
B2 [05:05] 6.0.png Tom Tom Club - Lorelei (Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Adrian Belew, Steven Stanley, Laura Weymouth) Dubbeat
B3 [03:33] 4.7.png Tom Tom Club - On, On, On, On… (Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Adrian Belew) Pop
B4 [04:32] 5.9.png Tom Tom Club - Booming And Zooming (Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Adrian Belew) Dubbeat

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